GOOD NEWS MONDAY: REUNITING WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY

It’s the start of another week, which means we’re bringing you another dose of good news! As of today, in England groups of up to six people are now permitted to meet outdoors in both public and private spaces – meaning you can meet people in your garden. After ten long weeks in lockdown, you can now reunite with family and friends (whilst maintaining social distancing regulations of keeping two metres apart). The 2.2 million vulnerable people in England can also now spent time outdoors and will be able to head outside with other members of their household, and if they live alone they can meet another from a separate household outside!

The government has also advised that those in England can even have a socially distanced BBQ in your garden as long as everyone keeps safe by washing their hands and try not to pass food etc. from one person to another.

As we mentioned in a previous ‘Good News Monday’ blog post, socialising is incredibly important for our mental and physical health. As humans, we are a naturally social species – we live in a ‘society’ after all! You can tell just how social we are from the inventions we have created to communicate with each other easily; the internet, telegraph, phone, even pen and paper for writing letters! But why are we so social? Some experts believe that socialising was essential for primate ancestors of humans for when they took turns foraging for food in the night, to carrying out activities by day. Another study suggests that early hominids potentially evolved a basic form of language to communicate ideas to develop tools in order to live better and further evolve.

Studies suggest that direct contact with family and freinds (i.e. face-to-face) releases neurotransmitters that regular our response to stress and anxiety. Socialising actually releases a hormone called Dopamine which makes us happy and even helps to reduce pain. Further research also shows that interactions with others help to improve memory and protects the brain from neurodegenerative diseases. It’s suggested that those who have good friendships throughout their teenage years have a lower rate of depression or anxiety later in life. This is similar in older adults as a study suggests that seniors who have lived a socially active life tend to have high late-life satisfaction.

So make the most of the good weather this week and host a BBQ with a few friends or family members, or simply meet others in your local park – it’s good for you! Just remember to stay safe, and keep two metres apart – and wash your hands!

Check out last weeks Good News Monday on how the weather affects our mood here

For all the latest government guidance on the COVID-19 Pandemic please click here

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