In an evening class at Stanford the last lecture was on the
> mind-body connection - the relationship between stress and disease. The
> speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one
> of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a
> woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her
> health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first
> everyone laughed, but he was serious.
> Women connect with each other differently and provide support
> systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life
> experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time" helps is to create
> more serotonin - a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can
> create a general feeling of well-being. Women share feelings
> whereas men often form relationships around activities. We share from our
> souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very GOOD for our
> health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to
> our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.
> There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we are
> doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with
> friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively
> engaged—not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain
> quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our
> physical health as smoking!
I read the above on another blog which said, "copy this and share it" which is exactly what I'm doing. I don't think it needs very much commentary by me. I know I usually feel better after a talk with one or more women friends and I know that we share much more personal information than men do. This happens in some online forums as well. On one, currently women are sharing their anxiety about a husband's chemotherapy, another about an auto accident in which daughter and granddaughter suffered serious injuries, another about having to admit her depressed husband to a mental hospital, another about her many volunteer activities and her estrangement from a son and grandchild, a couple about their family financial worries, and so on -- it is not a sob sister site. These are women in far flung places -- it seems all these difficulties descended at once -- it would be frivolous to ask, was it the sun flares? The women write understandingly and with concern. Face to face would be more satisfying, of course, but I believe even virtual sharing has a positive effect. I can't imagine such an online conversation among men.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!