It seems that a UCLA study shows that friendships between women are special. Our chaotic inner world can be soothed, emotional needs lacking in our marriage can be filled and friends between other women can help us in many other ways.
It seems that when women hang out with each other, this can counteract the daily stress that we feel in everyday life. The UCLA study suggests that women react to stress with a variety of brain chemicals that actually causes women not only to make friendships with other women but to maintain them as well.
Until this study came to light, the belief was that when people experienced stress, a cascade of hormone was triggered in the body that made the body either stand up and fight or run. Now it seems that women possess a much larger behavioral repertoire than just the fight or flight mechanism. It now seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released in a woman due to the stress response, it softens the response to fight or flee and encourages her to take care of her children and bond with other women instead.
Having friendships with other women could explain the reason women live longer than men. Studies have also found that social bonds reduce the risk of disease by decreasing the heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol. There is no doubt that having and maintaining friendships help women to live longer. Studies have found that people without friends increased their chance of dying early over a 6-month period.
Women who interact with other women also improve their quality of life. In one study, it was found that women who had more friends were less likely to develop physical disabilities during the aging process. Women who had good friendships were also found to lead more joyful lives. These results were quite significant so researchers surmised that if women did not have close friends or confidants then it was as harmful to their health as smoking or being overweight.
It was also found that women who had close friendships could deal with a spouse dying much more more effectively than women who had no friends.
If having friends with other women counters the stress in our lives, keeps us healthy and adds years to our lives, why is it so difficult to find the time to spend with them? This is a question that puzzles researchers. It seems that each time women get too busy with family and work, the first thing they do is set out their friendships. They are pushed to the back burner. That is a big mistake because women are a source of strength for each other. They nurture one another. Women need to have space without pressure where they can speak candidly to other women. It is quite a healing experience.