I bet you’re not surprised: Study after study has confirmed what most women already know – friendships are good for your health. The Nurses Health Study found that the greater the number of friends in your social network, the more healthful and joyful a life you lead. The MacArthur Foundation concluded that social support helps women cope with difficult times. Shelley Taylor and her colleagues at UCLA determined that befriending other women helps women live longer and more satisfying lives.
So when you’re setting up your personal health plan, be sure to set aside time to spend with your friends. They’ll help you cope with daily hassles and with more serious hardships. Consider nurturing your friendships like a form of preventative medicine – and you don’t even need a prescription. Isn’t an afternoon with friends more fun than a trip to the doctor, easier to swallow than pills and not hurtful like a shot? So set a date and put it on your appointment calendar – you’ll feel better when you do.
Our short YouTube video, Your Personal Health Plan Relies on Your Social Network gives you some tips to begin. Share ideas and reach out for emotional and practical support as you cope with the ups and downs of a family-in-flux. Friendships can be a potent antidote to the toxins of stress.
Sandwiched Boomers often try to live up to extremely high expectations – yours or others. Instead, draft a set of realistic, reasonable, achievable standards. You’ll feel less stressed when you do. Another of our YouTube videos, Your Personal Health Plan Sets Reasonable Standards, gives you tips about setting up attainable goals as part of your personal health and wellness plan. You’ll learn about letting go of guilt, accepting yourself for who you are and asking for help when you need it.
Want to learn more about the importance of friendships in supporting you? Boomer Women and Friendship: The Gift You Give Yourself will give you some good background. It’s on our website, Her Mentor Center with other helpful articles.