A Life Worth Living by Nancy Buxton

Posts tagged ‘oxytocin’

A Woman Called. . . .



Well I can’t tell you her real name, she may not like it, let’s call her Lou.  Lou is one of my best friends.  She is witty, funny, crazy, absent minded, very bright, struggles with her weight, loves Jesus, silly, kind, not always dependable (she wants to be), as you can see the list could go on and on.

Lou lives far away from me now, and we don’t talk often.  Our talking goes in spurts depending on what’s  happening in our lives.  The interesting thing is, we seem to be able to start right in where we left off.  Even when we haven’t  seen each other for 2-3 years we have no trouble talking, there’s no awkward moments between us.

One time Lou was visiting me and we were planting tulips, her hair kept getting in her eyes and suddenly she whipped out the duct tape and slapped some on the top of her head to keep that hair in place.  I was rolling on the ground with laughter. What a sight, one grown woman with duct tape around her face and the other rolling on the ground laughing so loud the neighbors were looking. We had just moved in to our new house, the neighbors still look at me with a questioning look.

Lou can make me laugh like know one else, you know the kind of laugh I am talking about, she actually snorts when she laughs–a very becoming trait.  When we  would get one of our laughing fits our kids would say, “there they go again,” and it was true we just couldn’t stop.

Here’s the scoop:  UCLA did a study on friendship among women, I find this study very interesting.

Friendships between women are special, they shape who we are and who we are yet to be.  They soothe our inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are.  Actually they do even more.

Scientists think that hanging out with our friends can counteract the big stress most of us experience from time to time.  The UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. The chemical is called oxytocin and it is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the “fight or flight” response and encourages women to tend children and gather with other women instead of fighting or giving up.  When a woman engages in tending or befriending more exytocin is released which helps with the stress. This calming does not occur in men, here’s why, when men are stressed they produce testosterone in high levels and testosterone reduces the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen seems to enhance oxytocin.

This little theory may explain why women outlive men.  Many studies have shown how important friendships are, it reduces the risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol.  One study found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6 month period and those who had the most friends over a 9 year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%. I don’t know how they figure this stuff out but I like the percentage

The Nurses’ Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends a woman has the less likely they are to develop physical problems as they age and the happier they are.  GET THIS. . .not having friends can be as bad for your health as smoking or carrying extra weight!

Sooooooooooooooooo my friends, make friends, keep friends and treasure your friends, they are adding years to your life, and they help make you healthier and happier.

As for my friend Lou, I called her early this morning to say that she left an odd message on face book, it just said “hello” and it was posted at 6:34 a.m.  After she got out of her sleeping fog, she informed me it was a virus and she would call me right back.  That was three hours ago and no call. . .that’s the way she is and I love her.

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