Friday, April 1, 2011

Favourite Things Friday: Friends

Yes'm, old friends is always best, 'less you can catch a new one that's fit to make an old one out of. –Sarah Orne Jewett

I've been thinking about my friends a lot this week. I have some really great friends, and each one of them is unique and special to me in their own way. They have stood by me when I couldn't stand on my own, shared my sorrows and rejoiced with me in the good things in life. And they mean a great deal to me because I couldn't have made it to where I am without them. I suppose it is a Capricorn thing, but I feel a great sense of loyalty to my friends. Those I call friend are really closer to best friends because they are relationships that are meaningful to me rather than superficial acquaintances. I don't like to give those friendships up easily and miss them when they're gone.

Recently I received the following story in an e-mail. Whether or not it is true is debatable. But it is how I feel about friendship and the friends in my life. I wanted to share, but take it with a grain of salt.

I 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 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.

To all my friends, past and present, thank you. It is truly with a little help from you that I get by.*

* I like the song, but I do not endorse getting high with a little help from friends. I am, after all, the woman who thought that a Weed Farmer was someone who let the weeds overtake his/her garden.

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Paulette said...

Oh, I am definitely a believer in girlfriend power! It seems as essential as water and air, to me. Great post, Elizabeth. I'm thankful for your friendship!

Unknown said...

Well, heck, I coulda told ya this! My DH has lunch with several of his buds every week. The conversation is the same every time, and it's always inane. When I see my girlfriends, it's usually one-with-one, and we solve all the problems of the world together.

Jennifer Lovell said...

What a great story. I hope it's true...I've always wanted to do good things for my health, and often wish that such things were easier and more fun to do. Nurturing girl-friendships is a great one to put at the top of my list! I wonder then, if when I don't feel like going to the gym, if I could just hang out with a girlfriend and call it good? Ha ha :).

No wonder I'm so healthy--I've got you!

Angie said...

Do 'online' friends count? Since I am pretty much tied to my studio and therefore my desk, I feel like I spend more time with my online buddies more than my flesh and blood ones. ;)

Shay said...

Girlfriends are one of the essential things in life. I dont have that many close gal pals,but those I do have- I treasure dearly. I think online girlfriends count among my greatest support buddies.

Great post Elizabeth!

seabreezequilts said...

I don't have many friends, but the ones I do have are the best, and surprisingly most of them are quilters.

Sarcastic Quilter said...

A great post! Thanks. :)

Marg said...

I couldn't agree more, supportive wonderful girlfriends are THE best and I am very lucky to have some very supportive, giving, helpful kind friends.

thea said...

I feel most lost when I don't have a close girl friend! Thanks for a great FTF!