Today I’m sharing how friendships are good for your health. I hope this inforamtion will inspire you to make friendships a priority. Most women would describe themselves as lonely but are too scared to take any risk in reaching out to others. However, the fear of reaching out may be causing unneeded stress, anxiety, or depression.
Keep reading to discover how genuine connections can improve your health.
Challenge: Recognizing the Health Benefits of Women Friendships
C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another ‘What! You too?’”
Ruthellen Josselson, author of Best Friends: The Pleasure and Perils of Girls’ and Women’s Friendships explains that when we get busy with our work and family, the first thing we do is push away our friendships due to lack of time or energy. We lose sight of the strength we provide each other and the healing benefits we derive from our friends. As the research suggests, we need to build and maintain these important bonds to protect our physical and emotional well-being.
Researchers at Ohio State University and Carnegie Mellon University have shown that people who report strong social supports have more robust immune systems and are less likely to succumb to infectious disease. Kiecolt-Glaser, who studies friendship and health, calls social support “the most reliable” psychological indicator of immune response that has been found.
There is even evidence that the broader network of friends and support that women tend to have might protect from the effects of dementia.
Laura Barcella writes:
“Research shows that women, [possibly] more than men, need to maintain strong connections. It increases serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone,” says Alisa Ruby Bash, PsyD, LMFT. Studies at Stanford seem to confirm this, as did a UCLA study showing that in times of stress, women don’t just experience the drive toward fight or flight — they also release oxytocin. This hormonal surge can compel women to “tend and befriend,” a.k.a., to protect their kids (if they have them), but also to connect with other women.
Maintaining those bonds becomes even more important as we grow older, according to Dr. Bash. “We get busier, with more responsibilities,” she says. “It makes us feel nurtured and validated to hang out with friends we can be totally ourselves [with], minus the outside pressures.”
God’s word has always told us that friendships are beneficial to our health and now science has caught up and is telling us the same thing.
God knows that friendships can add value and good health to our lives.
Proverbs 15: 30 “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.”
Proverbs 16:24 “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Is your life lacking in the health benefits of women friendships? Regarding women friendships, is your heart cheerful or crushed? Do you lack supportive women in your life that will encourage you?
Roadmap to Real Connection
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