A friend sent this to me this week. Very timely.

In an evening class at Stanford University,, the last lecture was on the mind-body connection – the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker was the head of psychiatry at Stanford, and he said, among other things, that one of the best things a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman. Whereas for women, 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. Physically, this quality “girlfriend time” helps us to create more serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being.

He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or workin gout 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 wiht friends, we are wasting our time.

Not true. In fact, he said, that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking. So every time you hang out with a gal pal, just pay yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health!

I don’t know the original source. And I am slightly skeptical of any reference to the “head of psychiatry at Stanford”. But I love the principle taught here: Women need women.

Today was the last day of my girlfriend trip to St Thomas. The week was so good for my health – mentally, emotionally, physically. When the plane landed, and I got in the car to drive back home, I couldn’t stop crying. And I don’t think it was any one thing. I think it was a combination of a lack of sleep, a lack of food in the 12-hours I was in and out of the airports, but mostly a deep deep gratitude for the women I left on St Thomas and the family I was coming home to.

Tomorrow I want to share with you on SATURDAY SO WHAT what I learned from these dear friends – my gal pals.