As Sandwiched Boomers, don’t you agree that your women friends are a gift that you give yourself?
Without a doubt, intimate friendships have always been important to women. But they become even more so as you face the transitions of children growing up and parents growing older. Findings from a recent MacArthur Foundation Study indicate that the emotional security and social support that these relationships provide for women have been a survival strategy for them in adversity. In fact, friendship is one of the keys to a long and more satisfying life.
A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with brain chemicals that cause us to maintain friendships with other women. Until this study was published, scientists generally thought that stress triggered a hormonal cascade that prepared the body either to stay and fight or to flee. Now they believe that women have more behavioral choices than just fight or flight. It seems that, when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress response in women, they react by tending to children and coming together with other women. When they engage in these activities, more hormones are released, further reducing stress and producing a calming effect.
This week we’ll be offering tips about enriching friendships and welcome your observations and ideas.