The female brain is hard wired for connection, nurturing, collaboration and communicating. Is it any wonder then that we love to gab, share, bitch, giggle, cry, kvetch, plan, scheme, and share with one another? The men folk just don’t get it. Their brains are designed for action, fight or flight, and fixing things but not feeling them.

Women’s hormones, those chemical messengers that affect everything we do and don’t do, our health, our eating, sleeping, sexual desire, giving, receiving--you name it--are constantly in flux, more volatile than a man’s. Few men can truly understand this never mind keep up with it. Yet we often feel guilty about hanging with our women or skipping exercise to sit on the phone when a far away friend calls.

Be guilt free sisters. It turns out that quality girlfriend time is not just satisfying, it’s critical for our health.
Dr. Shelley Taylor who is a Distinguished Professor at UCLA, the Psychology Department and wrote the book “The Tending Instinct: How Nurturing is Essential to Who We Are and How We Live” noted this in a letter that Amy Ferris shared with me.

“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 us to create more seratonin--a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well-being.

Women share from our souls with our sisters, and evidently that is very good for our health. He (the head of psychiatry department at Stanford whose lecture she had just attended) 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 them as smoking! So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky.”

Other studies have shown that we age more vibrantly—body and mind--when we have strong connections with others. For women it’s important to have women in your corner as well as men.

Many of us have friends flung far and wide. I’ve got close friends in California, Arizona, Maryland, DC, New Jersey, New York City, Minnesota, and Canada to name just a few. Months can go by without so much as a peep of conversation but as soon as we are on the phone it’s like no time has elapsed. In this day and age of online marketing, social networking sites, and the solitude of being a solo-preneur I find myself wanting face time rather than phone time. How about you? I miss my women, the ones who know me intimately and love me anyway.

What do you do if you find yourself wishing the far away friends were nearby? Book a trip! If that’s out of the question use your inner nurturer to do something special for someone far away. Face it, we count on our friends to be there for us whenever we need them, and the best ones will be regardless. But like any good relationship, keeping old friendships strong requires work. And it’s a lovely kind of work.

It costs nothing to send an email saying, “Thinking of you.” A card with a personal note is a joy to receive. If you really want to bless someone, flowers, candy, a gift card, or book will do the trick and make their day. Even a compliment can turn someone’s day around.

Spend a few minutes and think about the women who bless you, support you, stand by you, encourage you, and tell it to you straight. These thoughts alone are boosting your feel good hormones and in turn your overall health. Who knew just loving the women we love could do all of that?
Lucky indeed. If you are fortunate enough to have some fab females nearby call them and arrange a gab fest. If not, get on the phone, send a card, let someone know how much she means to you. Your midlife body and soul will thank you.

Author's Bio: 

Gregory Anne Cox is a certified life coach, nutritionist, and professional chef, whose mission and passion is freeing women from the conventional wisdom designed to keep them fat, frustrated, and sick. She helps midlife women entrepreneurs look and fee their best for the second half. Sign up for her free audio, Your Genes Do Not Determine the Size of Your Jeans.MidlifeWithAVengeance.com