Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fight or flight? Women Tend and Befriend

Women don’t spend enough time with friends. We’re all so busy at work, and family matters come up, and the kids have activities after school, and friends understand when you can’t drop by, and simetimes plans change at the last minute because something else comes up.

Of course our friends understand, we understand when we don't see our friends for awhile, but women may be cheating themselves. A new UCLA study on friendship among women tells us how very important women's friends are to their daily lives and even their health and happiness.

We have all heard of the “flight or fight” response to stress, but stress research is based on males -- until now.


Women have this response, too, but there is more.
Women also have a “tend and befriend” response, meaning we take care of the children and gather with other women when under stress. And these responses are chemically based! Estrogen enhances the hormone that allows us to be soothed and strengthened during high stress conditions, resulting in such physical benefits as lower blood pressure and the chance for a more joyful life.

This behavior is a natural response for women. The study doesn't say it, but I think men can learn these behaviors and benefit, too. More men today are actively involved in their children's lives than when I was growing up.

What are you doing today? Eating lunch? Call a friend to join you , and know it is time and effort well-spent.


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1 comment:

Shirl said...

So perceptive. It is obvious why I've spent so much time with Pete lately, mutually caring for each other. Also, the days of meeting up at the school gates and then going on to a friend's home for a cuppa while the children play have long gone.

Only yesterday, I booked up to see a close friend for an afternoon next week. Pete understands my need. Seems this study has proved what we women have always known.