Gal Pals Are Good Medicine

Posted on March 18th, 2013, by iMinerva

CBS Sunday Morning recently featured a segment on the health benefits of friendship.  We always knew our friends made us stronger but now there’s scientific proof.  The University of Virginia has been conducting research on the effect of social relationships and have concluded that “people with a circle of friends tend to be healthier and live longer.”  No one knows why but the studies are undeniable.

To prove the effect of friendship, Rita Braver, the CBS reporter covering the story, subjected herself to a series of mild electric shocks while getting an MRI.  The area of the brain that senses danger was very active even before the shock was administered.  However, when her friend was there to hold her hand during the test, there was a significant reduction in brain activity in the “danger” zone.    Scientists call this “anticipatory anxiety,” which is the type of stress we all experience in our lives.  The study suggests that the support of a friend eases anxiety and provides reassurance.

“The Girls,” who were interviewed by CBS, are a group of seven Wisconsin friends who have gotten together three or four times a month for the past dozen years.  Emphasizing the importance of their friendship, The Girls have supported each other as they faced cancer, family issues, and the typical life issues we all know so well.  Girls – which stands for “Gee, I Really Love Shopping” – are a powerful team.

Hopefully, we all have our own network of Gal Pals we call on when we need a shoulder to lean on or a friend to celebrate with and share a hearty laugh along with a cup of tea.  I consider my GPs as one of my greatest blessings.   While we’re all different in many ways, we respect and admire our differences and treasure the bonds that hold us together.  Who else would understand that my pups are as important to me as someone else’s grandchildren?  And who else would bring chicken soup when I’m under the weather, or call early in the morning to sing “Happy Birthday?”  We might not get together every week or every month, but our spirits are forever connected.  Here’s to the power of Gal Pals!


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