You know those mass emails that your aunt sends you? The ones that warn you of parking lot abductions and cell phone radiation, that ‘enlighten you’ on how to show your friends how much you appreciate them by sending the letter to all of them and asking that they pass it along to all their friends? The emails that promise you good fortune or a windfall, again, IF you send it on to ALL your friends?!
Well, when I receive a ‘mass email’ from a friend who knows me and knows I don’t usually reply, I give her the benefit of the doubt and read it. This is the case with the following message on friendship, shared with me by my beautiful girlfriend Mandana.
(For the record, I don’t know if the fact that this is from Stanford is 100% factual, I wasn’t able to track down the source online, – but I did research the health/science facts, and can verify the health benefits for having friends and sharing laughter.) But I think you’ll agree, this email is a great reminder on how important friends are. And it made me think about how supportive my friends have been…in all the different moments of my journey, there was always a girlfriend there to get me through it. We’re part of each other’s stories.
here’s the email:
They Teach It at Stanford
“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 to schmooze 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.”
“Forward this to all your girlfriends“
*This is for you, girlfriends - you have all been there for me at different times on my journey, in different cities and different countries, but you listen, you offer advice, I’ve learned from you, and I know you have helped me stay healthy, happy and loved, wherever I am, whatever I’m going through – here’s to you, (in order that I met you) and to new girlfriends I have yet to meet : Carmen C, Carrie, JoDee, DeNae, Shelia, Susan S., Tanja E., Laura E, Andrea, Marjan, Heather, Susan F, Jen Ho, Korki, Bonnie, Meighan, Rowena, Marija, Melissa B, Gita, Christy, Trisha, Kristina P, Christina H, Jessie K, Marilynn, Pilar, Hilary, Karyn P, Amber Huang, Kelly O’D, Kate W, Juliane C, Tina H, Titia, Linda P, Christine B, Bea, Coco, Franka, Alby, Verena, Nina S, Nina G, Christine, Mandana, Stefanie, Kismet, Shamya, Marlene, Jacquelyn, Katy S, Mia, Aly, Britta, Ryan, Sara R, Sonia, Catherine F. and many more to come…Thank you.