Catching up with friends has same benefit to wellbeing as an exercise session

Rachel Stevens chats with best friend over cold brew coffee

Catching up with friends is as beneficial to mental health as a relaxing bath or vigorous workout, according to research. A poll of 2,000 adults found a 24-minute chat with close friends is seen as equally valuable to one’s wellbeing as a relaxing bath – with the average Brit only needing one hour and 49 minutes in the company of friends to improve their overall wellbeing.

And a 25-minute conversation is considered just as good as an exercise session.

Getting together for a coffee (51 percent), taking a walk (46 percent), and enjoying a meal out (43 percent), were cited as the best bonding experiences this summer.

The research, commissioned by plant-based beverage brand Califia Farms, revealed 41 percent prefer to catch up with friends in the comfort of their own home, rather than venturing out to a café or bar.

And 67 percent believe that spending time with close companions really helps their mind, body, and soul.

However, 46 percent wish they could see their friends more often than they currently do.

Sophie Webb, from Califia Farms, which has a Cold Brew ready-to-drink range, said: “It’s great to see that Brits view their regular coffee catch-ups as important, and people consider it a top bonding experience to have with friends.

“We understand life is busy, and we all wish we just had a little more time to catch up with our friends.”

Summer is the perfect time to schedule plans with loved ones, as 56 percent feel the longer evenings allow greater opportunity to do this.

And 45 percent think this time of year allows them to host more at home – with having a picnic or barbeque (56 percent), and garden get-togethers (50 percent), also featuring.

With the rise of sobriety, 55 percent prefer to ditch the alcohol and connect with friends over a coffee – as it allows for richer conversation (34 percent), greater connection (31 percent), and is more cost beneficial (31 percent).

A quarter (24 percent) believe a one-hour, caffeine-fuelled catch-up is more valuable than an entire night out – with popular reasons including price (32 percent), convenience (30 percent), and noise levels (26 percent).

A sense of connection (67 percent), happiness (62 percent), and belonging (47 percent) are the top advantages of spending time with closest confidants, according to the study.

It also emerged 72 percent feel quality time spent talking is the most important part of get-togethers – compared to trying new experiences (14 percent), or “fancy” aesthetic surroundings (10 percent).

In response to the findings, Califia Farms has partnered with singer, Rachel Stevens, and her best friend, Nikki Glazer Hodge.

Rachel Stevens said: “Since spending time in LA, I fell in love with coffee over ice.

“Alongside chatting to Nikki, it’s one of my favourite things, and even when I don’t have a lot of time, I cherish our ritual of coffee and conversation at home.

“We block out time, make sure the children are entertained, and settle down in one of our houses so that we can sit back, relax, and have a good natter – it’s definitely quality over quantity for us.”

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