Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Archive for June 12th, 2014

Friends With Benefits

Posted by terrepruitt on June 12, 2014

Ahhhh . . . recently I have been feeling . . . I don’t know . . . if I had to label it, I would say “depleted”.  I think the time has come when I am starting to miss my mom.  Ya know at first, I was busy and the last couple of years she was too tired to talk much so we didn’t talk that much . . . it could be a couple of weeks between phone calls.  She had also had limits on us visiting her.  Since she was not someone I see or talk to everyday it just seemed like a long time “in between” conversations.  Now, two months later . . . it is starting to affect me.  And I realized I felt a little depleted.  I hadn’t talked to my mom or seen my friends in a bit so I figured I needed a visit with a friend.  It just so happened I lucked out this week.  One of my friends/students has been away for a month and yesterday she showed up at Nia.  She came to class and it happened that she didn’t have an appointment or another class to rush off to.  So we sat and visited.  Then as we were visiting another friend showed up . . . which was really out of the norm.  It was obvious to me that this was all meant to be.  So I was able to get a little refilled.  Ya know the kind of replenishing that you get from visit with friends?  Then today after my Nia class I met with a friend for a quick visit, but we hadn’t seen each other in so long it turned out longer than we had thought.  It was a good visit.  A replenishment.  I want to post some information about how good relationships help us in life.

I was going through some papers and I found a little blurb that was printed many years ago that said having a deep conversation with a good friend might reduce anxiety in woman.  The theory was because it increased levels of progesterone.  So I went looking for the information on the internet and what I found actually distracted me from my original search (NO!  That NEVER happens to ANYONE EVER!!!!!).  Well, first let me quote from the article I found online at Michigan News

“Why does dishing with a girlfriend do wonders for a woman’s mood?

A University of Michigan study has identified a likely reason: feeling emotionally close to a friend increases levels of the hormone progesterone, helping to boost well-being and reduce anxiety and stress.”

So while we might not have known the biological reason why having close friends is good or makes us feel good we have heard enough information that we know research has shown friendships add to our lives.  But what I found took it a little further reminded me of how not only do GOOD friendships help make you feel better and give you health benefits they have been show to improve your health when you are ill.

Again, looking at information from years ago . . . WebMD’s article “Good Friends Are Good for You” states:

“One such study, reported in the journal Cancer, followed 61 women with advanced ovarian cancer. Those with ample social support had much lower levels of a protein linked to more aggressive types of cancer. Lower levels of the protein, known as interleukin 6, or IL-6, also boosted the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Women with weak social support had levels of IL-6 that were 70% higher in general, and two-and-a-half times higher in the area around the tumor.”

Also according to the article women with breast cancer in a support group had less pain and that “strong social support helps people cope with stress.”  Well, I know, for a fact that this is true for me.  I don’t need a study to tell me that I am less stressed after a visit with a close friend.

The article mentions that having a lot of friends may even reduce your chances of getting a cold.  Well, I don’t believe that quantity of friends is what supplies the benefit, I think it is the quality.  If you are able to vent to your friends and receive support and hear their stories and give them support back . . . that is what supplies us with stress relief.  We are getting things off our chest and getting support in return.  We are connecting with real people that have real problems and getting a sense of not being the only one whose life it not TV perfect.  And I believe relieving stress and making that connection supports our immune system which in turn helps protect us from catching colds.

So, my advice . . . if you are feeling blue or overwhelmed or perhaps not really certain what you are feeling, a little out of sorts, visit with a friend.  See if that helps cheer you up.  Might not take away all of the blue, but perhaps it will help ground you a bit so that you can do the rest.

Do you know what I am talking about?  Have you ever felt that wonderful fullness after a visit with friends? Do you believe that a good social network can help support medical treatment?  What else have you got on your mind?

 

If this post sounds familiar . . . .you could have read Friends For Life, which is pretty similar.  🙂

 

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