I got one of those forwarded emails today from a girlfriend so I have no idea where this really came from, who to credit or if it’s really scientific or not, but I loved the idea and I think it’s true so I’m going to expand on the theory.
It starts here: “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.”
Ok, well we know the reason that men live longer when they marry the caretaker genre of humans. Wives will make them take their vitamins, drink less beer and tequila shots, more red wine for their heart. We encourage them to get a regular sleep routine, many (not all) ladies like to cook or if not that we at least know where to get the decent fast food versus frozen pizza’s, canned spaghetti and pigs in a blanket food repertoire that single men usually subsist on.
So, what is it about getting together with other ladies that might make us healthier?
The email goes on to say “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.”
This makes a ton of sense to me. We all know the stereo typical description where when we share our problems with men and they seek to fix them but when we share our problems with our women friends it’s a totally different process. We ladies tend to delve into the subtext, the feelings, the what if’s, the worst case scenario’s and then as a friend we move into the “it’s gonna be ok phase”. This consists of sharing our ideas for how to deal with it, we help slam the wrong doer, X, mean mother in law or whoever is causing the distress in our friends lives.
“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. Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers/daughters, and evidently that is very good for our health.”
I recognize that this is a generalization and that many men do have close friendships/relationships with their father/brother/son/friends but the majority of their conversation would be about the problems themselves and here’s the action steps to take to fix it.
“He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.” (Now there’s some news we can use ladies) “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!
If you are an empty nester and especially if you raised girls and no longer have them around then this is probably even more important. I know how much I miss my chit chat time with my daughters and when we get together the men in our lives know that they might as well bring a book to read because it’s going to be a very tough fight to get a word wedged into our banter.
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 your health! We are indeed very, very lucky.”
So be forewarned my lady friends (in real life) that I’ve forwarded this to, I plan on re-instituting my WWWWW ladies nights this spring/summer. What’s the WWWWW you ask?
Wild Wonderful Women on Wine Wednesdays
That’s the traditional Ladies Night Out at the local watering holes in my neck of the woods, and I used to set these up via an Evite and they were fantastic fun. The crowd dwindled so I gave up the boat and stopped inviting but now that I know how important it is for our health, I’m going to revive the tradition. Be watching for a Facebook Invite (and an Evite for my non-FB obsessed friends) in April of 2011.
Now spread the word ladies and set up your own mental health ladies nights in your neck of the woods. I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you have an idea to add, please comment below. I moderate the comments within 24 hours.