Prosit! A study recently published by researchers at Oxford University finds that indulging in drinks with friends, in moderation, can in fact improve one's overall happiness and well-being, reported the Evening Standard.
"Functional Benefits of (Modest) Alcohol Consumption," which was published in the Journal Adaptive Human Behaviour and Psychology, found people who drank (in moderation, of course) at their local pub a few times per week were more likely to have larger groups of friends, which in turn leads to a greater satisfaction with life overall.
In the study's abstract, its authors "suggest that alcohol consumption was adopted because it has social benefits that relate both to health and social bonding."
Researchers combined data from several surveys and behavioral and observational studies, which showed that "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."
Those folks who regularly had drinks at the "local" also tended to be more popular, having an average of nearly eight close friends - two more than the non-drinkers' six friends.
"This study showed that frequenting a local pub can directly affect peoples' social network size and how engaged they are with their local community, which in turn can affect how satisfied they feel in life," said Professor Robin Dunbar, University of Oxford Department of Experimental Psychology.
"While pubs traditionally have a role as a place for community socialising, alcohol's role appears to be in triggering the endorphin system, which promotes social bonding," Dunbar continued. "Like other complex bonding systems such as dancing, singing and storytelling, [going to the pub] has often been adopted by large social communities as a ritual associated with bonding."
Of course, this doesn't offset alcohol's well-known health risks, but those of us who tuck into our neighborhood watering hole for a libation now and then say, simply, "Cheers."