Human beings need connection, and that’s a reality most people won’t dispute. But technology, time, and work-life balance woes contribute to the breaking down of our personal and professional lives. This breakdown contributes greatly to regular anxiety, feelings of aloneness, and other mental wellness issues.
Of course, this affects our health and our overall quality of life, but there are things we can do to resolve that, namely nurturing healthy relationships. These relationships need to be cultivated not just at home, but also at work, and in our extended communities. Female friendships have shown to enhance the physical and psychological health of some women, including boosted immune systems enhanced by healthy hormone releases, and access to support for managing loss and other trauma.
And even more nuanced is the reality that women’s bodies react differently to stress than men’s. Hormonally, women’s bodies differ, and that affects how stress affects women. For example, women’s bodies’ response to stress tends to lean toward nurturing the people around them, as a way of building bonds and talking about troubling life issues. Without these bonds, research shows that women turn to habits like smoking and emotional eating.
To define your specific friendship needs, and nurture relationships based on those needs, seek organic connections. For example, women can discard the notion that they shouldn’t make friends at work. Because of the unique challenges women face in the workplace, it can be emotionally healthy to have a woman co-worker to amplify her voice or help her navigate those experiences.
Consider taking a new class, or take the chance to reach out to a woman you want to get to know. Take it a step further and set dates for specific get-togethers and plans. Volunteer organizations, for example, offer great opportunities to connect and engage in meaningful ways.