There’s an interesting email making the rounds that just screams “GIRLFRIEND POWER!” because it talks about the amazingly wonderful effects EVE can get just from spending time with each other.
The accurate parts of the email tell us the following:
“In an evening class at Stanford University the last lecture was on the mind-body connection - the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker 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.”
Although the claims made in the rest of the email sound wonderful, there's no research to support them (http://www.personalsafetynets.org/stories/fact-fiction). But research does support the statement that spending time with your girlfriends can be as healthy as vitamins or exercise. This landmark study was conducted in 2007 by The Center on Stress and Health, directed by Dr. David Spiegel, Associate Chair and Professor, Stanford University’s School of Medicine Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (the “speaker” in the email) on how the social environment, mind, brain and body connections can influence health.
This study (http://rtips.cancer.gov/rtips/programDetails.do?programId=297250) compared two groups of EVE with advanced metastatic breast cancer. EVE in both groups received traditional medical care and were offered a self-directed educational intervention, as well as a 1-year membership to a consumer health library in their community. But the EVE in the intervention group also received weekly 90-minute sessions of supportive group therapy (GIRLFRIEND TIME). With the only difference being their support group time, these EVE not only experienced reduced anxiety, depression, and pain, but survived an average of eighteen months longer than EVE who did not take part in a support group. "These studies underscore the importance of treating people's psychosocial needs, not just their biological ones," Spiegel said.
Dr. Spiegel said that stress can actually elevate the chance of developing breast cancer, and that research has proven that creating and maintaining quality personal relationships with others is good for our physical health. So make sure that you get enough quality time with your girlfriends/sisters/mothers/etc.
Most of us already know how good this sharing/laughing/crying/complaining time is for us, but now there’s scientific proof to show that this kind of “psychosocial” EVE time is essential for both our mental and physical health. Here’s a toast to all the EVE in my life who support and heal me! And a huge wish that you each have EVE in your lives to do the same.