Wouldn’t it be great if there was a place up the road where everyone knew your name? Cheered “Daliah” every time you walked in. Toasted you everyday when you got props at work…. bought you a round when you had a bad day. But most importantly, a pub that would always be there, consistent, friendly faces, no matter what day or time of year?
Well scientists at Oxford confirm that this would be good, in fact healthy, for our mental well being. Apparently, those who frequented a local pub were more happy and socially engaging. According to lead researcher, Professor Robin Dunbar, he stated, “This study showed that frequenting a local pub can directly affect people’s social network size and how engaged they are with their local community.
“Our networks provide us with the single most important buffer against mental and physical illness. While pubs traditionally have a role as a place for community socializing, alcohol’s role appears to be in triggering the endorphin system, which promotes social bonding.”
The frequent conversation, story telling, laughter can all help one’s mental state. But what about the alcohol?
In the summer of 2012, a team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found moderates amount of alcohol, if consumed in a social setting, relieved negative emotions and enhanced positive ones. It also increased social bonding. Additionally, a study in July 2016 found couples who drink together appear happier and stay together. Study author, Dr. Kira Birditt told Reuters, “We’re not sure why this is happening, but it could be that couples that do more leisure time activities together have better marital quality.”
My theory is people can’t be alone. The age of social media has turned a once loud, laughing, carousing nation to an isolated, quiet (except for the keyboard clicking), lonely country of computer worshipers. We need to rub shoulders with people, hear their mundane stories, see their facial expressions, feel their touch, get their approval, note their disapproval, and even get into a scuffle once in a while. At the end of the night when we’re tired and sick of people, then we escape to our home where we can have some peace and quiet.
Plus, we need to wind down after work. We love our families, but leaving a chaotic work day to deal with bumper to bumper traffic to then dealing with screaming kids and homework leaves little time to catch a breather.
And as for regular socializing, we’ve turned our home, our sanctuary into a mission control and I don’t think its doing our psyche any good. So I suggest to find Cliff Claven, grab Norm, ignore Diane, patronize Frasier and mosey on down to Sam’s bar. Its what this doctor ordered…..
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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician