Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Friendship Heals

A new UCLA study suggests women cope with stress differently than men. Apparently the previous research, which cited a "fight or flight" response to stress, used men for nearly 90% of their study participants. New information on brain function indicates a woman's hormones actually block the fight or flight response, and instead encourage her to tend children and gather with other women when stressed. This nurturing and bonding causes the release of calming hormones. Some suspect this is why women consistently outlive men.

These results sure ring true. When I'm stressed, talking out all the issues and feelings with a close friend does make me feel better. And when I say "all the issues," I mean every last detail. Better allow at least two hours for that lunch date. I have several friends who are good listeners, and keep confidences. I don't know how I would have gotten through some of my tough times without them. I in turn check in to see how they're doing, and make time for them, too.

But when I'm really hurting, sometimes I just want to curl-up and hole-in. My mind fogs and I feel too weak to reach out and connect. In these times I pour out my soul to my best friend, Jesus. He not only hears my moans, but can affect my circumstances and change the hearts of those involved, including mine. We can give God our burdens, knowing He will lovingly guide us through.

Sometimes scientific research only affirms what we instinctively know. Still, it's helpful to see how God made our bodies to cope. I want to do all I can to stimulate those calming hormones. The next time I feel stressed, I'll drink the whole glass of God's loving provision by seeking out the friends He's given me, and entering into His presence where I find peace and rest. How about you?


Sue Tornai said...

Wonderful post, Kris. I do the same as you in stressful situations. My first inclination is to withdraw. Sometimes I have lunch with a friend, like you said. More often, I go to my BFF, who listens, counsels, comforts and strengthens me for the next steps. Sometimes my time with God is the only thing that will pull me out of a stressful trap. Keep writing and encouraging, my friend.

Kris Lindsey said...

Thank you for the affirming comments. Your friendship and support does warm my heart.

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