|Some of my "girlfriends"- The Inklings Critique Group|
http://womenshistorymonth.gov/about.html. Lets celebrate by focusing on women's issues all month long. In my opinion you can't address women's issues without talking about female friendship. In addition to the fun and shared interests there are many health benefits to building strong relationship bonds with other women.
In a lab at UCLA two female researchers were commenting on how when their male counterparts where stressed they would typically isolate to work out a problem. In contrast, these researchers found themselves cleaning up the lab, making coffee, and talking to one another about the problem to find a solution. Sound familiar? This keen observation led Drs. Klein and Taylor to evaluate the research on stress and sure enough the research subjects were typically male. A new research line was born to examine the unique stress responses of women. In addition to the traditional "fight or flight" responses of men, women also demonstrated a "tend and befriend" response. When we women are under stress we have a biologically driven instinct to take care of our children and seek out the support of other women. (And clean the house- or is that just me?)
Female friendship also has proven health benefits:
- Lowered blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Longer life span.
- Improved adjustment from the death of a spouse.
- Increased psychological well being.
- Improved relaxation response through the release of oxytocin, a strong neurochemical associated with maternal bonding.
The research collected in this post will hopefully encourage us all to resist the urge to reduce our contact with friends when times get challenging.
Leave a comment to further the discussion of the benefits of girlfriends.
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