I have had many “best friends” over the course of my life. But as a grow older, I have begun to reevaluate certain relationships. I have learned to focus my energy on maintaining a few very close friendships rather than be an “okay friend” to many people. As a result, I have developed female friendships over the past four years that enrich my life on a daily basis.
In times of turmoil or stress, I call on my closest friends and gain strength from their words of wisdom. Coffee with one of my best friends is the best cure when I’m in a slump. When Midol can't temper my PMS - a good laugh with a girlfriend does just the trick! In general – I thrive off female companionship. I’ve always wondered if this was considered normal – I mean, I am married to a wonderful man and have an incredibly healthy, happy marriage. Why then, do I feel this strong need for “girl time” on a regular basis?
I received an email last week that has finally put my mind at ease. (I acknowledge this could be a complete spam email and have zero merit – but I’m accepting it as truth, because well, it sounds good to me! And no – I generally do not accept any random email as truth, but I’m making an exception!)Read below for an excerpt:
I had just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture wason the mind-body-spirit 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 their feelings?---rarely (and certainly there are always exceptions). Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.
Finally! Someone who gets it. All those hours spent gabbing with Khristi on the phone aren’t simply recreational – they are precious moments that are lengthening my life span. Those calories that I consume during coffee breaks with Erin are no longer a concern because that chit chat actually increases my metabolism and brain function! (Okay – now that might be a stretch – but I’m running with it!)
So for those of you out there who make time for your girlfriends on a regular basis – good for you. Keep it up! Be sure to thank your friends for the many ways that they add value to your life. Make sure you seek ways to increase the quality of their life as well. Apparently there really is something to be said for “girl power” – and we all should make the most of the amazing blessing God gives in our female friends.
PS – I mentioned this email to my husband.. “Honey – you may not realize this, but marrying me is the best thing you could have ever done for your health. It’s been scientifically proven (okay – that might have been a stretch) that men who are married live longer than men who are single. You’re welcome!” In true Steven fashion he responded, “Of course married men live longer than single men. We do it out of spite!” Bazinga! Love you too honey!!