Research: Why Women Should Go Out With Girlfriends Twice A Week

Women have now found the perfect excuse to go out with the “girls” twice a week. If you enjoy going out with your girlfriends, you should do it more often as researchers have found that women who go out with girlfriends (twice a week) are healthier.

Female friendships among women are extremely important and the key ingredient to our happiness and health. Girlfriends are really the best emotional support system we could ever have. Just think about it. A good female friendship is someone you can count on for advice, or simply be heard and understood when you have a problem.

According to a research by Robin Dunbar, who is a renowned psychologist and an advanced investigator, his research is concerned with trying to understand the behavioural, cognitive and neuroendocrinological mechanisms that underpin social bonding in primates (in general) and humans (in particular).

It all started with a social experiment, which was commissioned by beer company Guinness, Dunbar and British social commentator Danny Wallace. The survey involved a small group of male friends, and the results revealed that hanging out with friends twice a week had a positive impact on their overall health.

Health benefits also included faster recovery time from illness, a stronger immune system, a decrease in anxiety levels, and increased generosity levels which makes us feel better overall. Dr. Robin Dunbar told The Huffington Post:

“The figure of twice a week comes from findings that this is the amount of time that you typically spend with your closest friends/family.

For both sexes (no surprise) having a large, well-integrated social network has a significant impact on both physical and emotional health. People with larger and/or more integrated networks suffer less illness, recover quicker from surgery, are less likely to die — and even their children are less likely to die.”

READ ALSO: Momcation: Psychologists Explain Why Moms Need To Go Solo Holidays

Is there a science behind female friendships?

Even though the initial experiment was done with men, let’s now explain how this applies to both sexes and why it is especially important for women to go out with friends twice a week for good health. Increasingly, researchers think that the hormone oxytocin is, for women especially, the elixir of friendship — and, by extension, of health.

“Research shows that women, [possibly] more than men, need to maintain friendship connections. It increases serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone,” says Alisa Ruby Bash, PsyD, LMFT.

Studies at Stanford seem to confirm this, as did a UCLA study showing that in times of stress, women don’t just experience the drive toward fight or flight — they also release oxytocin. This hormonal surge can compel women to “tend and befriend,” a.k.a., to protect their kids (if they have them), but also to connect with other women. She says:

“We call it a ‘social thermostat’ that keeps track of how well [females’] social supports are going. When the thermostat reads too low, females tend to reach out to others. When they reach out to others, oxytocin levels rise again and with that prolonged exposure comes a distinctive “calming, warm” effect. We don’t see the same mechanisms in men.”

Women reap health benefits from friendships, and maintaining those female bonds becomes even more important as we grow older, according to Dr. Bash. She adds:

“We get busier, with more responsibilities. It makes us feel nurtured and validated to hang out with friends we can be totally ourselves [with], minus the outside pressures. We have to make those friendships a top priority. Schedule girls’ nights and lunches with friends! Do it ahead of time.”

Female bonds can solidify your happiness and make you healthier.

Source: www.

Photo credit: Universal Pictures / Everett Collection

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