Thank Heaven For Little Girls – and Big Ones Too!

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Women Fun Beach Girls Power Celebration ConceptEveryone knows it instinctively: having a girl friend is important. And I don’t mean girlfriend as in: “She’s my girlfriend; he’s my boyfriend.” I literally mean girl-friend – a girl that is a friend, not a lover.

Undoubtedly you have at least one friend on whom you rely; someone who understands you, supports you, is honest with you and leans on you. You have a mutual understanding. If she lives far from you, it may not even matter if you don’t speak for months. The moment you hear her voice, it’s as if no time has passed at all. If she needed you, you’d go across the country to help. And she would do the same. You share intimacies that you can’t even believe are the subject of discussion; she knows secrets about you that she will never share, just as you will never reveal hers.

And, if you’re exceptionally lucky, you may have more than one friend who fits the description “best friend” or, in today’s parlance “BFF”. When you feel bad, talking to this best friend, or getting together with her, makes you feel better. She can help you sort out the cobwebs in your head and get clarity in a tough situation. She can make you laugh, not cry. She’s there for you!

What you may not know is that there is an actual, definable and measurable scientific benefit to having girl-friends. What’s more, having a girl-friend is equally beneficial for men and for women. That’s what this special blog post is all about: friendship.

The words that escape a friend’s mouth are “I’ll be there when you say you need me” but the words that are unheard from a true friend’s heart are “I’ll be there… whether you say you need me or not.” Anonymous

It turns out that one of the best things a woman can do for her physical and mental health (in addition to having a coach) is to have a close friend. And, the same is true for a man: a man who has a woman as a significant person in his life (whether a wife or friend) is generally found to be healthier than a man who does not. This is according to the head of Psychiatry at Stanford University.

This is because women connect with others differently and provide support systems to help deal with stress and difficult life experiences. There is a proven chemical reaction to having this type of support because girl-friend time has been found to create serotonin. How many of us now take a serotonin reuptake inhibitor to help with depression these days? Well, girl-friends are a natural remedy and provide that burst or serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps give us a general feeling of well-being.

What happens with women is an interaction on a different level. Women share feelings; men tend to share activities (couch potatoes watching the Steelers on a Sunday afternoon with a Rolling Rock comes to mind). The resulting relationships are qualitatively different. And the difference means that our relationships with other women are really good for our mental health. And, good mental health is a worthy companion to good physical health.

Consider it this way: according to the Stanford professor, you are stimulating your neurotransmitters when you are spending time with your girl-friends, meaning you are creating positive emotions. I know this is true to me. When I have a girl-friend weekend going to movies, sitting around the house, going camping or taking a spa day, I feel great. I return energized. I am better and stronger. If girl-friend time means getting myself healthy, I support that 100% – who wouldn’t?

All I have to say as a final remark is this: I love my girl-friends. I will hang out with them any time. The fact that there is scientific evidence that this time together benefits my health is just an added benefit. Now – where’s the scientific study of the importance of chocolate chip cookies? I know it has to be there somewhere.


About The Author: Certified Executive Coach and CEO of Clear Intentions International, Dr. Barbara Schwarck coaches CEOs, leaders, and professionals to have profound breakthroughs around performance, personal satisfaction and change. She is the creator of Neuro Emotional Coaching® a cutting edge coaching tool rooted in neuroscience, emotional intelligence and its implication for leadership. She is also the author of From Intuition to Entrepreneurship: A Women’s Guide to Following Her Dream. If you are an executive or thought leader who is ready for a breakthrough, go to www.clearintentions.net.

{ 1 comment }

Foxy April 17, 2015 at 5:54 pm

Girl-friend time is the best! Thanks for the reminder and the science behind the “high”.

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