Women's friendships are special [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Free Radical
06-06-2007, 06:18
Hope ya'll don't mind if I dip my toes in the water here.

A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more.

Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A land maker UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. Itís a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research, most of it on men, upside down. Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible, explains Laura Cousin Klein, PH.D. now an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the studyís authors. Itís an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.

Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just fight or flight; in fact, says Dr. Klein, it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the fight of flight response and when she actually engages in this tending of befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect. This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone, which men produce in high levels when they are under stress, seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it.

The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic ďahaĒ moment shared to two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded, says Dr. Klein. When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own. I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something.

The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from VARIOUS RESEARCH SPECIALTIES. Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress research, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant implications for our health.

It may take some time for new studies to reveal all the ways that oxytocin encourages us to care for children and hang out with other women, but the Ďtend and befriendĒ notion developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently out live men. Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. Thereís no doubt, says Dr. Klein, that friends are helping us live longer.

In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6 month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9 year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%.

Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nursesí Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that no having close friends or confidants was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight.

And thatís not all. When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend and confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate. Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of our life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? Thatís a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., co-author of Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girlís and Womenís Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998). The following paragraph is, in my opinion, very, very true and something all women should be aware of and NOT put our female friends on the back burners.

Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women, explains Dr. Josselson. We push them right to the back burner. Thatís really a mistake because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one ando0ther. And we need to have un-pressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they are with other women. Itís a very healing experience.
UCLA Study On Friendship Among Women
By Gale Berkowitz

Mrs. VR
06-06-2007, 06:50
a- FREAKIN'- men! :hugs:

kcb
06-06-2007, 07:05
:hugs:

:thumbsup:

SouthernGal
06-06-2007, 07:15
Sending a big :) out to my best friend of 25+ years...love ya JB!

sweetatergal
06-06-2007, 08:42
Originally posted by SouthernGal
Sending a big :) out to my best friend of 25+ years...love ya JB!

:) :hugs: :hugs: Back at ya....But not in that kinda way.....:tongueout:

Lesatvv
06-06-2007, 08:50
You've been friends as long as I've been alive?! ;) Don't hit me!!! :honkie:
hehehehe

SouthernGal
06-06-2007, 09:03
Originally posted by sweetatergal
:) :hugs: :hugs: Back at ya....But not in that kinda way.....:tongueout:

You've always known which team I played on.

tous
06-07-2007, 07:55
How's that toe, Bubbala? :supergrin:

Free Radical
06-07-2007, 12:36
In good company tous :supergrin: