Did You Know Your Friends Can Make You Sick?

Angry GorillaWe all know how having a frustrating friend or negative roommate can be annoying, but did you know that it can actually be bad for your health?

Bad Interactions Increase Inflammation

A study from the University of California in Los Angeles has linked negative social interactions with increased inflammation, an immune system response to fighting infections.

Inflammation itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to health problems further down the road. If the body suffers from chronic inflammation it can lead to several health issues including hypertension, coronary heart disease, depression, diabetes and even cancer.

How the Study Worked

The study had 122 healthy young adults keep a diary of their social interactions, such as conflicts with messy and rude roommates, competition with others at school, and time spent with friends.

They then measured the levels of cytokine in their bodies. They found that the study participants who had the most negative or stressful interactions with others had a higher level of cytokine which is a protein that causes inflammation.

Effects Accumulate Over Time

The researchers hypothesized that repeated exposure over many years to a negative social situation could cause serious health problems especially in people who are genetically predisposed to heart disease or arthritis.

So how can you avoid negative social situations from having an adverse affect on your health?

One strategy is to surround yourself with supportive, positive, and encouraging people who you get along with.

However, you can’t always control who you spend your time with and you might end up with an irritating co-worker or neighbor that you are forced to interact with.

When you do have to deal with a person who grinds your gears, approach the situation as calmly as possible and try not to focus on your negative feelings.

Deal with them in the best way you can and don’t dwell on how much they stress you out.