Why Mom-to-Mom Friendships Are Healthier Than You Think

Mommy Friends: The Anti-Stress Medicine

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The first thing that tends to get scratched off most women’s agendas is our female relationships. Now research indicates there is more to women’s need to “hang out and talk” than previously thought!

You’ve been submerged with worries and demands on your time, and haven’t seen your girlfriends in ages. Tonight you’re excited because the date for your “girls’ night out” has arrived. You’re bustling around getting ready to go, trying to silence this “I’m taking me-time” guilty feeling when everything goes haywire. The kids start squabbling, or one of them comes down with a fever, you can’t find the fever medication, your sitter doesn’t show up, your boss calls to move that pending deadline forward, your spouse has an urgent request. . . . Inevitably, a minor emergency crops up. You sigh, give in to that inner voice and reach for the phone. You figure maybe you’ll make it to next month’s get-together . . . if you’re lucky.

The fact is that for most women, the first thing that tends to get scratched off our busy agendas when we’re feeling pressured is our relationships with our friends—specifically with fellow moms—when seeing them doesn’t involve a gathering of the entire family.

Yet, recent research conducted at UCLA by Dr. Elizabeth J. Corwin, PhD, and Dr. Laura Cousino Klein, PhD, now assistant professors at the Department of Biobehavioral Health in Pennsylvania State University, asserts that women and men respond differently to stress, and that our intuitive need to turn to other women and “hash things out,” is ingrained far deeper into women’s psychological and endocrinological makeup than previously suspected. Hanging out with female friends is actually good for our health and may help us live longer! How’s that for quieting that inner voice?

What is Stress?

Stress is a consequence of life and has been around since the dawn of civilization. As early as 1926, Dr. Hans Selye, MD, known as the “Father of Stress” said, “Without stress there would be no life.” While still in medical school Dr. Selye developed his now-famous theory of the influence of stress on people’s ability to cope with and adapt to the pressures of injury and disease, concluding that stress plays some role in the development of every disease.

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