Make Friends, Relieve Stress

Sure we all want alone time, “me” time, but good friendships are invaluable to a healthy life. Women especially may feel their friend relationships are important to their well-being, and science might now be proving them right. According to a UCLA study on women and friendship, when women are stressed, they experience a surge of oxytocin, the "bonding" hormone. It's the same hormone secreted when we are connecting with our babies. This hormone encourages us to "tend and befriend," which produces more oxytocin, a cycle that ultimately has a calming effect. Interestingly the effect does not occur in men, who are more likely to have a hormonal "fight or flight" response to stress.

Another study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends a woman had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to lead a joyful life. Not having close friends or confidants has been found to be a significant health hazard, up there with smoking or being overweight. Read more

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