Ask Dr. Joy: Women and friendships

By WEEK Producer

October 2, 2013 Updated Oct 2, 2013 at 5:48 PM CDT

On tonight's Dr. Joy we highlight something that women have mastered and men haven't figured out. That is that one key secret to dealing with stress is friendship.

So we are looking into women, stress and the power of those friendships.


What have we learned about women and their friendships?

· 5 decades of research has focused on males who tend to react to stress with "fight or flight."

· Women under stress tend to bond, reach out and tend to children, clean or recreate.

· When women befriend or tend, they release more Oxytocin which produces a calming effect on the body.

· A Penn State study shows that Oxytocin release buffers fight or flight and creates a hormonal cascade moves women towards friends and bonding.


What does friendship do for women in a physical sense?

· Famed Harvard Nurses' study showed that the more friends that a woman had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments when they aged.

· The greater the number of friends the higher the level of joyfulness in a woman's life.

· Women who didn't have close friends created a detrimental health risk factor as great as increased weight or smoking.

· Friends and confidants have proven to add years to a woman's life.


What are some tips for women who want to enhance their friendships?

· Make time for friends: schedule time and do something wonderful for yourself.

· Women tend to get busy and the first thing we let go of is typically time with friends. So call a friend and increase your health and happiness.

· Perhaps one way is to save October 26 for the Women's Lifestyle show where you can celebrate friendships, empowerment and women.

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