Monday, February 15, 2016

The Value of Women's Friendships

I found this well worth passing on: In an evening class at Stanford University, 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. 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 go spend some regular quality time with your girlfriends. Laugh it up!

Create What You Want

Being single or in committed coupledom, is a popular topic in terms of the changing state of people's marital status over the last 25 years in particular. How beliefs in a society come to a rock hard belief "this is the way it is" is an interesting investigation. Who decided what, say, marriage looks like? More and more people are co-creating marriages as "spiritual partnerships" where one another's inner growth is important and supported too. Unless we ask WHY about the many things handed down as "this is right and best for all" like marriage, then we are not thinking nor deciding for ourselves. And sometimes asking a WHY question is important. Maybe there is an action or assumption or practice our community or family supports, yet for us it feels weird or uncomfortable. Questioning and being open to listen is a valuable life tool for examining and considering different points of view. We can be open to the possibility there is another possibility. Always.