Join the sisterhood for a longer, better and wiser life

Join the sisterhood for a longer, better and wiser life

Make time for friends—real life ones, not the re-runs of the television show!

More and more, science is proving what we woman have known forever: close friendships can help you live longer, better and wiser.

In fact, some recent research suggests that building and maintaining social networks can add 30 years to your life.

So go ahead: Gab at work, hit the mall with a pal, make a lunch date with friends.

Ease stress…

When times get tough, do you seek out friends for solace?, UCLA researchers made an astounding discovery: Women cope with stress in completely different ways than men do.

While the old fight-or-flight mechanism may be true for men (and for some women, sometimes), women’s inclination to turn to friends for help is now called “tend and befriend,” actually leads to the release of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin. Swiss research shows that just having a friend present at a stressful moment lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 25%.

Beat the blues…

Consider friendship the “hug drug,” say British researchers. An amazing 72% of chronically depressed women who were assigned a volunteer friend experienced a remission in the blues. That’s even better than antidepressants or therapy!

Sleep better…

Most of us wouldn’t connect gabfests with pals neighborly chats or parties with better sleep, but maybe we should. Fascinating Japanese research shows that career women with close circle of friends reported 2.5 times less insomnia even if they had very demanding jobs. The probable reason: Anxiety is the prime cause of poor sleep, and loners who have no one with whom to discuss their problems don’t have the safety valve.

Lose weight…

Joining a weight management program with friends won’t necessarily help you lose more weight, but it’ll help you keep off what you’ve lost, says University of Pittsburgh research. Although 66% of those who joined up with friends kept off the weight they lost, 76% of do-it-aloners regained what they’d lost.

The buddy system works. Just having someone to share the experience helps keep you on track toward your goal. It works for AA and it can work for you.

Heal your body…

Women with breast cancer are 50% less likely to have a recurrence of the disease when they have a network of nine or more friends and family members to count on, says research from George Washington University.

How? When you have friends and family to support you, stress hormones are managed and your entire system functions better, making it more resistant to diseases.

While a gal pal or guy friend is wonderful, furry friends count, too.

We Americans love our cats and dogs and we count ourselves as caretakers for 170 million of them. Just having a four-legged friend has been study-proven to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of a heart attack and increase chances of survival after a major illness.

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