Wednesday, January 26, 2011

a new friend=good health

I was supposed to meet a friend yesterday. But, as is so often the case lately, the snow forced the cancellation of our plans (she lives in Peru, where the snow was coming down a tad bit more aggressively than in my neighborhood--Did you even know there was a Peru in Massachusetts?).
Her name is Gladys, and we met at a flagpole almost four summers ago, when we were both volunteering at a Girls Camp.  We only exchanged a few sentences, but her impression on me was lasting.  I have bumped in to her a few more times since then, and told myself that I really should get to know Gladys.  Time went by, and we sat in a room together for a stake Relief Society meeting last October.  I emailed her later in the day telling her I wished I could have been sitting in a rowboat fishing with her, instead of at that meeting, because it seemed like a waste, not being able to get to know her better.  I sent her a hand-written note telling her about the qualities I admired in her.
She emailed me back and we made plans to act on that fishing trip in 2011.  Gladys suggested maybe a trip to the temple instead.  The fishing's not so great in these parts in January.
I ended up inviting her to be the keynote speaker at our Relief Society Visiting Teaching workshop in December. (surprise!)  A snowstorm kept her away.  She did email me her talk, which I read, and it was excellent.
Gladys and I decided that if we couldn't spend the day at the temple yesterday, we might at least have a phone chat, which ended up being about 90 minutes of fun, and a very gratifying way to start the day.
One of Gladys' favorite memories as a child is being able to drive them team for her uncle when they were haying the fields on their farm.  I have had reaffirmed to me several times this week, the tremendous value of friendship.  Here is a post I found this morning by a friend of mine, and the following is an email I received yesterday from another friend.  I am lucky! to have so many friends.  And according to the article by Judy B. Dales, I'm healthier for it!

"I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection-the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, 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. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings?-rarely. Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out 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 with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged--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 to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky. Sooooo let's toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it's very good for our health."
 ~Judy B. Dales


shirlgirl said...

Yes, friends are great to have around and to talk to and talk with. I agree about the comment regarding men--knowing first hand about your uncle who NEVER talked about his feelings either physically or emotionally, especially during this past year of his illness. But I found out Monday night that he did talk to a mutual friend who was treated for multiple myeloma. He told her he knew he wouldn't be around much longer and that he wouldn't see her or his buddies again (Our USS Albany friends) What a burden he carried but I'm glad he shared it with her who also bears our same last name. Makes my heart break but he did it his way. I'm glad you've met a new friend--always nice to have around.

ellen said...

Great post, Jenny my friend. Thanks for the link. :)

LL said...

You've got a friend in me!

Cynthia said...

Here! Here! Great post by a GREAT friend!

Alana said...

I've read a similar thing in another book. What we cherish the most is our children, but they stress us out. The best indicator of life happiness is usually friend relationships.

shirlgirl said...

Regarding the hand-written note--I received a nice "thinking of you card" yesterday from the widow of a childhood friend of Uncle David's yesterday--she knows just what I am experiencing right now. I also appreciate very much your lovely note which I received last week. I love getting surprises! It makes my day better and makes me smile.

Becky said...

AMEN and AMEN! How 'bout sister friends? They're the best kind! xoxo

Jo Jo said...

I think that's a great article! I tend to not allow myself time with friends like I should.

Doran & Jody said...

See! We NEED to be friends and get together!.....but maybe in the summer eh?