New research explores how social connections ease stress.
The presence of a friend can lower stress levels. That’s an established phenomenon known as “social buffering.” Given how lethal stress can be, this is very good to know. But exactly how do friends calm us down? Does it matter which friend? And under what circumstances? Scientists are exploring these open questions in everything from fish to 15-year-olds. A series of recent studies provide some interesting new hints to better explain the power of social connection.