Recently, a friend sent me a note that referenced a study about women, stress, and friendship. It seems that for men, having a supportive wife is extremely beneficial for their long-term health, but for women, it is our relationships with our girlfriends that keeps us healthy.
Searching the internet, there are many articles that discuss how we handle stress. Here's a good one: http://www.homemakers.com/health-and-nutrition/disease-prevention/the-healing-power-of-female-friendships/a/26445/1
Fairly recently, it was discovered that the old notion of the "fight or flight" response to stressful situations is not as universal as was once believed. Nearly all of those old studies included only men! Now, it seems that science has discovered that women are more likely to respond to stress with a "tend or befriend" response.
Isn't it funny how long it takes science to "discover" things that can seem perfectly obvious? Of course men would respond with "fight or flight." They are the husbands and fathers, the protectors and providers. Of course women would respond with "tend or befriend." We are the mothers and the nurturers.
What wasn't as obvious to me though was how important our friendships with other women are. One article went so far as to say that for women, not having good relationships with our girlfriends is as harmful to our health as smoking! The article went on to say that for most of us, when life gets crazy, the first thing we cut out of our schedules is time with our girlfriends. We feel guilty for "wasting" time this way when in fact it is extremely important for our health! I was inspired to immediately email three of my best friends and invite them all out for coffee.
I encourage you to do something important for your own health! Call up a friend or two for coffee or a "girls night out." Nurture those friendships. God created us to need each other!
When we had our children, our ideas changed somewhat. Thenceforward we lived only for them; they made all our happiness and we would never have found it save in them. In fact, nothing any longer cost us anything; the world was no longer a burden to us. As for me, my children were my great compensation, so that I wished to have many in order to bring them up for Heaven. -- Saint Zelie Martin