Here’s to Female Friendships

Female friendships: they’re good for your health.

I received this email through a friend and want to share it with you. She wrote:

“I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection–the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas, for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first, everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this “quality girlfriend time” helps us to create more serotonin–a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well-being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But feelings? Rarely. Women do it all the time. We share from our hearts with our sisters, and it’s good for our mental and physical well-being. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There’s a tendency to think that when we are “exercising”, we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged–not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking! So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for yourself.

So let’s toast to the female friendships in our lives. They’re fun, life-enhancing, and good for us as well.