Today, everyday really, I’m grateful for my friends. If you are like me, when you get together with your girlfriends there’s probably a lot of laughing, listening, talking, analyzing. (OK, there might be some wine involved, too 😉 ) Opinions are expressed, judgments suspended, advice dispensed and sometimes tears are shed. I always feel better after being with my friends. They enrich our lives with a special kind of love and support that’s a bit different from the familial variety.
Science backs up the benefit of friendship. It is quite possibly as important to physical health as not smoking. A meta review of 148 studies on friendships concluded that, “The influence of social relationships on risk for mortality is comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality.” In other words, a lack of social relationships increases your risk of death as much as smoking and alcohol consumption and is more deadly than risk factors like lack of physical inactivity and obesity. Wow. That is huge. Another study found that friendships and family support decreased symptoms of depression in adolescents.
So what is it about friends? It’s the social network and support. Many studies acknowledge that friends provide stress relief and laughter is a good example of that. Laughter releases feel-good endorphins, and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. Listening and honesty are a part of the equation as well. I know you’ve listened and helped a friend through a hard time. Or maybe you are the one getting something off your chest. I like to think the crucial points are hearing each other out, getting a valued, trusted opinion and just going deep, connecting and talking through an issue. Here’s the bottom line – friends are there for each other, friends support each other, friends lift each other up, no matter what.
I also believe the word friendship can represent the idea of supporting those who need it most. So in celebration of and in thanksgiving for friendships of all types, my guru friend Elizabeth Irvine and I have collaborated on a special bracelet that we named the Mitra bracelet. Mitra means friendship in Sanskrit. I believe we are all here to help one another and Elizabeth and I wanted to create an object that symbolizes supportive, loving energy.
Helen Keller said, “I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.” In that spirit, join me in celebrating friendship and giving back to Best Buddies. As a gesture of gratitude, 15% of each bracelet purchase will go to this amazing organization to help those with developmental disabilities form meaningful relationships. Moreover, as their mission states, Best Buddies is dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Whether we are supporting a close friend in need or a vulnerable child that we might not even know, our hope is that by wearing this bracelet you will be inspired to offer your truest self to others through love, acceptance and support.
Inspired by friendship bracelets of our youth, this glammed up version offers a rope-like chain in gold or silver paired with labradorite beads with Elizabeth’s signature mandala charm and my iconic bamboo rings. I hope you will join Elizabeth and me on November 16, 6-8 pm at my BLVD Place boutique for a special Girlfriends Night Out. Elizabeth has promised to lead us in a short guided meditation (sure to get the good juju flowing) and offer some tips to alleviate stress throughout the upcoming holiday season. Bring your besties for wine, light bites, beauty stations and shopping with meaning and purpose.
See you there!!
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