Yesterday our Lunch Bunch--Corrie, Cynthia, Susan, and I--met at Joey's Cafe to eat salads and pasta and talk about everything from our grandkids to hormones, best movies we've seen or books we've read, our travel, doctors, and families. We also have a few laughs. We met years ago and have been celebrating our birthdays together with lunch out at a favorite place. The birthday girl receives gifts and is treated to lunch by the other three friends--and often a single candle-topped dessert is ordered that we all share.
Though our initial connection was being in the same church, now we're scattered in different ones. Yet we've been there for each other over the years--giving wedding showers when our kids were getting married, praying when four of our sons were deployed in the Middle East, bringing food and flowers when one of us has lost a beloved family member, or when we've gone through a few of our own health crises.
These girlfriends and other dear ones near and far--Ann, Mary, Patty J., Peggy, Janet, Sheron, my three tennis buddies Debbie, Laura, and Patty D, my sister-friends Marilyn, Georgia and Diana, Colorado friends Lindsay and Becky--definitely make my life happier. And now research is showing how vital connections with friends are to our health:
*That during tough times women bond, and when they're together it lowers blood pressure, stress level, and heart rate
*That close connections with friends has a positive effect on our immune system which helps us fight off illness; and if surgery or serious illness happens, women with close friends heal and recover faster
*That the more good friends women have the less likely they were to be depressed or develop physical impairments as they aged
*And most of all, the research shows that connecting regularly with friends leads to experiencing a joyful life.
Make time for connecting with your girlfriends and you'll see the benefits, I can assure you!