Communities of Women: How They Help Physical and Mental Health
For women, friendships with girlfriends aren’t just good for the mind, they’re also good for the body. Women are empowered physically and mentally by their bonds with other women. Girlfriends lend an ear when times are tough. When advice is needed without criticism or judgment, a girlfriend can be the biggest support. Even when something great happens, women want to share it with their closest girlfriends. There are countless benefits with such female friendships that are even being backed by science.
Just like a good diet, sleep and exercise, social connections are important to our overall well-being. There are strong associations between friendship and good health. Research studies show that having close relationships with girlfriends improves confidence, happiness, and physical health. An active social life with girlfriends increasesserotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone, which can boost a woman’smood, encourage positive behavior,and even improve recovery rate after being ill. Additionally, female friendships allow women to be comfortable and authentic. There is even research to suggest that spending quality time with friends may even extend one’s life expectancy.
There are particular milestones in life when women especially need other women in their lives; one of them is childbirth. Women are emotionally and physically drained before and after having a baby. It’s important to be able to confide in other women, ask for help or just have company over while sitting at home with a newborn. Women shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to female friends. It’s a tremendous help and can alleviate pressures and stress that come with having a baby.
On the flipped side, studies have shown that isolation or a lack of social support can be detrimental to one’s health. Women who are feeling isolated and don’t have many social female connections have a higher tendency to be more depressed, have a weaker immune system and feel significantly lonelier. Any of these symptoms can have serious long-term consequences.In this digital age we’re living in, let technology be an asset in supporting quality time with friends, not a barrier. Technology is a great way to stay updated with friends and share photos, even though it does not replace the personal, face-to-face time and connection with friends. Plus, hugs can’t be done over Facetime so make sure you are building in some in-person quality time wherever possible.
So, if your family gives you a hard time about spending time with your girlfriends, tell them you’re doing it for your health! For more information about women’s health or to schedule an appointment with us today, call 307-634-5216.
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