Good news to all of you who like to sit back and enjoy a pint at a local bar – research confirms that this habit actually makes you a happier person who is less prone to binge drinking.
Researchers from Oxford University have found that people who are regulars at small local bars have more friends, are “significantly” happier, are more satisfied from life, and are less likely to drink to excess.
And it all comes down to how you drink your alcohol. Small establishments offer a more relaxed environment where you are most likely to socialize with close friends and engage in social drinking (opposed to getting drunk).
As the study abstract notes, “social drinkers have more friends on whom they can depend for emotional and other support, and feel more engaged with, and trusting of, their local community.”
Small community pubs allow people to engage in conversations more easily, compared to larger establishments, and their socials skills improve after a drink – making local pubs the perfect place to make new friends and strengthen existing friendships.
“Friendship and community are probably the two most important factors influencing our health and wellbeing,” says Professor Robin Dunbar of Oxford University. “Making and maintaining friendships, however, is something that has to be done face-to-face. The digital world is simply no substitute.”
“Given the increasing tendency for our social life to be online rather than face-to-face, having relaxed accessible venues where people can meet old friends and make new ones becomes ever more necessary.”
They explain that social drinking comes with the same effect as singing, laughing, and dancing – triggering the endorphin system and thus “servicing and reinforcing social bonds.
The study was announced prior to its release by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) on their official Twitter profile. As Tim Page, chief executive of Camra, notes, “pubs offer a social environment to enjoy a drink with friends in a responsible, supervised community setting.”
And our personal and collective wellbeing is, as Page says, the most significant thing for individuals, the social groupings to which they belong, and the country as a while.
“The role of community pubs in ensuring that wellbeing cannot be overstated. For that reason, we all need to do what we can to ensure that everyone has a ‘local’ near to where they live or work.”
Are you a regular at your local bar or pub? How can you describe your experience?