This week we’re all about the power of friendship - and how good it is for long-lasting health and happiness. I know we all learned it from Blanche and the gang, but now there’s legit science to back ‘em up.



TL;DR: Put your friends first for long-term health and happiness.

Sure, it’s only natural - you meet someone, fall in love, all those sweet, sweet pheromones… your friend-time starts to dwindle as your attention is focused on your new lover.

This Oxford University study found that in a new relationship, people’s inner circle of close friends dropped from five to four, as they inadvertently phased out two of their closest buddies to make space for their new main squeeze.

But… my first, my last, my everything, right?

Pipe down Barry. Calm your melodious tones. Your first and last is all good, but maybe not quite the everything.

According to this study, it’s actually friendships, not relationships that have the biggest impact on your long term happiness. At the age of 45, people with fewer than 10 friends had significant differences in their psychological well-being compared to those with wider social circles. Whether or not those people were married made no difference at all.

And, in another study of 65 year olds, William Chopik found that meaningful friendships were stronger indicators of health and happiness than familial relationships.

Time to give Tinder a time out?

Making friends as an adult is notoriously tricky. Joining things that force you to be sociable, (like team sports, cat appreciation societies, or pottery classes) could be a good spot to find some like-minded mates. Or, switch your focus to swiping right on a potential pal with apps like Bumble BFF and Friender.

“I ain’t got time for that ship”

Whether relationships or friendships, scheduling in quality time with your nearest and dearest (as well as your partner), is a must for your lifelong wellbeing. So don’t give up your date nights, but make sure to prioritise those poker/book club/sober vegan life drawing classes too.

FOR THE NERDY: You’ve got a friend. [source: Psychology Today]

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BRAIN FOOD: Superfood granola with pumpkin seeds

Start your day off right with this homemade granola from Elly Pear (thanks Elly!). It’s a breeze to chuck together on a Sunday night, and will set you up for a solid week of yummy breakfasts.

Why is it good for my brain?

Pumpkin seeds give your memory a boost and improve your sleep and when served with probiotic yoghurt and blueberries, you’ll also be protecting yourself from anxiety and depression, and improving your cognitive function.

What you’ll need: honey, coconut oil, oats, almonds, raisins, cacao powder, cinnamon, puffed buckwheat, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, hemp seeds. (You can click the button below to automatically add all these to your usual food shop.*praise hands emoji*)

Cooking time: 20 minutes

  1. Melt the honey and the oil together in a large saucepan over a low heat.

  2. Add the oats and almonds and stir well. Spread out on a large baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake at 180C (fan) for 17 minutes.

  3. Leave to totally cool then break up into chunks.

  4. Place in a large bowl and add all the remaining ingredients.

  5. Keep in an airtight jar or Tupperware box.

Here’s the full recipe.

For the nerdy: Read more about brainy nutrition with our handy A-Z of brain food [source: trydawn.co]


Watch: When you get as big time as Bill Gates, are you afraid of anything? Turns out there’s still something that gives the big guy the willies - spoiler: I’m also pretty scared now too. What Bill Gates is Afraid Of. [youtube]

Read: Believing these myths about sleep could be keeping us up at night. [bbc.co.uk]

Listen: Turns out that depression isn’t only for privileged westerners. A fascinating listen about mental health and social injustice in poor countries. [The Guardian long reads podcast]

Here’s some brain food of a different kind - from tomorrow ‘til Weds I’m hosting the main stage of the biggest Artificial Intelligence Conference in the World, CogX, in Kings Cross.

I’ve got myself some tickets worth £1,300 for lucky Dawn subscribers, so if you are keen to attend, it’s simple - follow me on the gram, and comment on this post by Sunday night.

Just in time to have your mind blown. (Not by me, by the speakers).

Until then, I’ll be preparing by filling in captchas to prove I am not a robot.

Stay authentically intelligent in the meantime people, see you next Sunday