Some stress is a part of life and can even motivate us to do our best – like the rush you get before a show or a presentation at work. But when stress reaches high levels it is dangerous to our health and can paralyze us from making positive changes in our lives.
So here’s my advice for combating stress. Don’t go it alone. Reach out to your female friends for love, support and just plain fun. It’s easy for me to correlate times in my life when I was happier and less stressed with the quality and/or quantity of my female friends. As a girl, I had a best friend for years named Lizzie and that meant I always had someone to sit with at lunch or to go ice-skating with or to just watch The Brady Bunch. Not to mention sleepovers – if those aren’t the cat’s pajamas, I don’t know what is.
I also remember the emptiness I felt the first year at Connecticut College because I had no friends, or how depressing it was to be isolated in my early years as a Stay-at-home Mom. Friends are that important.
There is even evidence that we live longer when we have strong female friendships. In this article on women’s friendships , they site research in the area of friendships such as how in The Tending Instinct, Shelly Taylor found women’s relationships and need for community is based in our DNA and can also be seen by studying animals.
A study at UCLA School of Medicine discovered that when we’re with our female friends, we emit a “feel good” hormone called oxytocin that helps us reduce everyday stress.
A study by Dove indicated that 70% of women feel prettier because of their relationships with female friends. This is critical to understanding how self-image develops in girls and women.
Most importantly, Haupart states that, “Women without strong social ties risk health issues equivalent to being overweight or a smoker – it’s that serious.”
Unfortunately, with our fast-paced digital society, women’s friendships are on the decline while stress levels in women are in the increase. Try to reconnect with friends in your life. Be open to new friendships.
I have a friend from Italy and she makes green tea in a pot on a tray with china cups and puts out light flakey buttery cookies. It’s a welcome and refreshing approach to catching up with a friend.
So meet a friend for tea, to get your nails done, or see a movie. I have learned that above all one thing is clear: We Need Each Other.
This article is also published in the Wellness section of myCulturemagazine