I love it when science discovers what we already intuitively know. Women are different than men! In this particular study, explained in an article by Ellen Michaud in Prevention Magazine and reprinted on Learning Place Online, it was found that women do not have the usual fight or flight response to stress. It’s not a surprise to me that they instead meet together to bond and communicate.
Behavioral and hormonal response to social threat is different in men and women, but tests had always been done on men only.
A UCLA study by Shelley Taylor and Laura Cousino Klein, suggests friendships between women are special. Our friendships nurture us, like hot soup on a cold winter night. This study suggests that “women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women.”
Dr. Klein explained, “it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the “fight or flight” response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect.”
We don’t need the science to realize that meeting our friends for lunch or coffee, for no specific occasion, is important and somehow therapeutic. But now, we can rest assured that our oxytocin is flowing and we are decreasing our risk of heart disease! That’s one of the reasons why in mid-September, I’m taking a group of women to Italy for a transformational workshop. By meeting together, we will create a space for less stress and more joy.
Many studies find that having strong social ties helps us live longer. Make a commitment to yourself, that even though you may be busy, you will make the effort to stay in touch with friends and meet, even for a short time, on a regular basis. Or join us in Italy!
Any comment on how you maintain your friendships and find time for each other, please click on “comments.”
You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided author credit is included.