Why Women Need To Have Fun Together (Galentine’s Day = Health + Heart Boost)
In a 2010 episode of Parks & Recreation (one of my all-time favorite TV shows), Amy Poehler’s character celebrated her girlfriends in a new, fake holiday: Galentine’s Day. Now it’s a real thing, on February 12th or 13th, marked by women friends having fun and celebrating each other.
And there’s a ton of science supporting what we already know: women feel better when we spend time with our girlfriends.
Why should we all invest our time in Galentine’s Day this year?
The truth is, women thrive when we connect more. The opposite of the “fight or flight or freeze” response that most of us live in these modern, stress filled days, women have a secret superpower they can call forth that’s healing and fun:
Tend And Befriend*:
Women and men respond to stress differently.
While men experience a big burst of testosterone, kicking off the fight or flight reaction, women are likely to circle the wagons.
We gals lean towards “befriending” or form tighter, more stable connections in times of stress. This wonderful, adaptive tool makes us seek out friends for support in times of stress.
Women also “tend” to the vulnerable or hurt person to help them heal and recover.
Researchers suspect that endorphins–proteins that help alleviate pain–and oxytocin–the “bonding and love” hormone–may play an important role in establishing this pattern, as women release both when we emote: laughing, crying, excited talking, all contribute to these bonding and relaxing hormones. Endorphins’ main function is to cause lasting happiness and satisfaction.
So a Galentine’s Day celebration is a great way to feel good in, and about, your body!
Research** shows that building friendships as adults:
• Increases your sense of belonging and purpose
• Boosts happiness and reduces your stress
• Improves self-confidence and self-worth
• Helps you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
• Encourages you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise
Both oxytocin and endorphins are relaxing, putting the body into a good metabolic and digestive state.
Who knew laughing and crying with girlfriends was good for your digestion?
Actually, anecdotal stories abound:
A client of mine had a day at the state fair with her high school girlfriends and they enjoyed foods she normally steers clear of: hot dogs, pretzels, etc. She had a wonderful day and felt good. A few weeks later she was back in NYC and rushing between appointments. She remembered her enjoyable state fair experience, stopped at a pretzel stand and ate it on the run to her meeting. She felt bloated, gassy, and had a terrible time digesting the food.
And something more spiritual about our female friendships? Through our soul friendships with women we discover more about ourselves and develop deeper connections to our truth.
How To Celebrate Galentine’s Day For A Heart + Health Boost:
Trampoline parks like Sky Zone are a great way for women to have physical fun together.
(A study from Oxford University*** also showed that engaging in a group exercise is more effective in increasing endorphin levels.)
Improv Comedy or Stand Up Night:
Research shows that people who laugh more often release higher levels of endorphin in a day. In fact, statistics depict that children who laugh approximately 300 times per day are shown to release more endorphins relative to adults who only laugh about 5 times per day. Aside from releasing stress, laughing will also increase endorphins in your system.
Since laughing raises your endorphins, you might assume that crying does the opposite effect. Not true! Crying also promotes endorphin release because an individual experiences immediate relaxation after breaking down. After crying, a person becomes comfortable and relieved after releasing the tension. This further enhances endorphin levels in the body….so…
Have a good Cry Fest Movie Night!
Host your girlfriends over for a night of healthy snacks and cry-tested movies like Steel Magnolias, The Notebook, or Beaches.
Bad Art Party:
In honor of Galentine’s Day I’m hosting 10 women to my home on Sunday. We will put together our random craft and art supplies in a big pile and get creative.
But we won’t have the pressure to make something perfect…the point is to make BAD art! Like when we were kids, we’ll do our best to forget to color inside the lines, “get it right,” or even make anything useful.
I’m so excited and can’t wait to do this!
My Challenge To You:
Host Your Own Galentine’s event this weekend!
1. Text a couple of friends and plan a Sunday afternoon “play date” together.
2. Come up with a few ideas that would be playful and fun. (see ideas above)
3. Commit to a healthy day with little-to-no alcohol or sugar.
4. Take some pictures and share online with the #GalentinesDay!