Moms have it tough. They are the go-to person for just about everyone in their household … except for themselves, a lot of the time. But when mothers can take the time to reach out and connect with their friends, the health benefits are immediate and long lasting.
1. Stress Reduction
You are out of coffee – a staple of your morning routine – and your husband is out of town for work, leaving you to handle checking homework and the carpool duty. Stress creeps into our lives in seemingly little ways that over time amass to a full-on case of overload. When we are stressed, our bodies provide a boost of hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) as a defense mechanism to get us out of sticky situations. This was great back in our cave women days, when we needed a quick blast of energy to escape a hungry tiger. But today, those hormones can leave us jittery and actually lower our ability to defend against other health irritants, like the common cold.
A great way to combat stress, however, is simply getting together, via a phone call or a girls night out, with women friends. When women gather together another hormone is released: oxytocin. This chemical settles us by reducing the levels of stress hormones, and bringing us back down to normal. Turns out a good laugh has similar effects, so choosing one of your funnier friends to spend time with is also a good idea.
2. Motivation and Encouragement
Need to drop a few pounds or just need some motivation to keep up with that resolution to de-clutter? Spend time with a friend whom you know to be in top shape or a terrific organizer. They’ll eagerly share their tips and advice on how they’ve managed to incorporate positive habits into their lives. The fact is, we naturally choose to surround ourselves with people that encourage and support us, and with those we admire. So, it makes sense to call this welcoming resource when looking to add these same admirable traits to ourselves.
3. Connectedness and Belonging
There is a real benefit to knowing that you have a group of friends whom you can turn to for fun or comfort. According to Dr. Karen Dill, a social psychologist with the Fielding Graduate University, "Friendships fill our need for belonging. Our friends give us someone with whom to discuss our ideas, beliefs, and problems. These are needs that we can’t meet on our own."
The need to "belong" and feel connected is universal. It derives from our need for safety and security. When you "fit it" with a group or "click" with a friend, what you are really feeling is that you are understood, appreciated and respected, and that you’ve found a collection of people whom share your values and beliefs. Your sense of "I am safe here" is heightened, and this allows you to literally, let your guard down.
Friendships offer so much to our lives that these relationships should have a high place on our priority list. They motivate and encourage us, they lighten our emotional loads, and they provide a welcoming environment. Besides just a good laugh, friends offer these and many other health benefits that are felt immediately, and can last a lifetime.
Although there are many ways to meet new folks, SocialJane.com, a women’s only social networking site, is a great means to find new women friendships quickly. Thousands of women have joined the site with the singular purpose of meeting new women for friendship. If you are looking to expand your own group with a new shopping buddy or tennis partner, SocialJane.com is a great resource to assist in meeting new friends. And who knows, you just might meet someone to help with that carpool!
Janis Kupferer is the founder of SocialJane.com, the internet’s premier social networking site for women. SocialJane.com helps friendship to flourish by allowing women to meet new friends online in a safe and secure environment. The SocialJane.com blog, a new component of the site, speaks of women, friendship, and all that goes with the subject.