...health, marriage, sanity... where do I begin?
A few months ago, I received the email below from one of my greatest friends, Debbie.
They Teach It at Stanford
...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.
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.
Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, 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.
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!
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. Sooooo let's toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it's very good for our health."
What made this email so awesome was not just how true it is, but who sent it.
I am beyond blessed to have remained close to a group of 5 girls that I went to high school with. Close like the ones who live locally go on walks together and have girls nights or play dates and come over to help when you've gone totally overboard throwing your 3 year old's birthday party and need assistance decorating 54 cupcakes close. And close like annually going away for a Girls Trip for a night/weekend despite that there are 13 kids and 6 husbands to leave behind.
We spent one night last weekend in Carlsbad shopping, having sushi (or Shusi), plowing through the best of Trader Joe's chocolate-covered specialties, debating between riding horses or zebras, attending church (seriously), and being treated to massages (thank you Debbie!). It was rejuvenating and relaxing, uplifting and inspiring, hilarious and serious, fun and more fun all at the same time.
I'm lucky enough to have 5 great gal pals, and I can tell you that it is VERY good for my health (and as aforementioned, my sanity, my marriage, my desire to be a good person... I could go on.) I know that they are true friends that lift my soul- I come home on a cloud and feel better about myself after I spend time with them.
A little encouragement- even if you can't spend time with your best gal pals right now, go and call/text/facestalk one of them and let her know how much she means to you. This is my "heart you!" to my girls- Debbie, Rach, Allyson, Val and Kristyn. I hope you already know how much I love you.