They Teach It at Stanford

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Joan Lunden

Health /


This Stanford University study was recently brought to my attention by a girlfriend …

In an evening class at Stanford University 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 is 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. 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.

Share this with all your girlfriends – and stay in touch! Thanks to all the girls in my life who have helped me stay healthy, happy, and feeling very loved!

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This study was brought to my attention by a girlfriend in Maine who is part of an exercise group that I put together several years ago.  We have a blast, and we laugh, and we inspire and motivate each other every time we get together to work out.  We share the joys and the challenges that come our way in life and we are there to support each other.

I found such an amazing strength that came from that small group which met 4 or 5 times a week that I expanded the concept to my current weekend girl getaway, Camp Reveille that I host ever August in southern Maine.  For the past seven years, hundreds of women from all over the country have joined me for a unique three night/four day summer getaway which not only offers workouts, yoga, Zumba, tennis, canoeing, kayaking, waterskiing, and a 50-foot climbing wall, but also jewelry making and ceramics and smore’s around campfires.  You can learn more about Camp Reveille at 


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I never cease to be amazed at how rejuvenating and transforming this girl getaway can be to the hundreds of women who have joined us.  You can sign up for this unique girl getaway at or 

Categories: Health, Women's Health
About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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