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Can hanging out with women reduce stress?

womenrestingLife is always full of ups and downs, we will always be called upon to meet the unknown, and our capacity to do that gracefully is to a great degree ruled by the level of stress in our bodies. In our studies at the Awakening Women Institute we encourage women to seek the support from each other as a way to reduce stress so we can step out in the world as powerful feminine leaders.
There is no doubt that these are times of great finical uncertainty and we will all sooner or later be effected by the situation one way or the other.
In our individual coaching program I meet more and more people who are dealing with the ripple effect of the financial breakdown in the US, effects like loss of jobs and homes.
Many of them share with me that they lie awake at night with a nagging feeling of tension worry and fear, and they wake up in the morning with anxiety. When they  from this state of mind try to figure out the best steps to take, they just feel  paralyzed, overwhelm and confused.  Sounds familiar?
These are all common symptoms of stress, and when stress hormones rush through our body we no longer think clearly. The fact of the matter is that it is no point in trying to figure out the best thing to do, until we  reduced the  level of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on
a daily basis. So how we do that?

lisachamScientists now suspect that the most effective stress relief for women is to hang out with other women.
A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to seek out the company of other women. It seems, says Laura Cousin Klein, Ph.D, one of the studies authors, that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it  encourages her to gather with other women.
The studies also suggest that when women spend time together with other women even more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect. This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone—which men produce in high levels when they’re under stress—seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it.

So here we have scientific studies of what every woman knows from her own experience; that things always feels better after one of those good long talks with a cup of tea and a girl friend.
At the Awakening Women Institute we have for many years explored and lectured about the empowering effect of women coming together, and as a result of this thousands of women all over the world are today facing the ever- changing world with the support of a women’s network where they can rejuvenate and explore more healthy and nourishing ways of relating to their own body and health, to their partner and children and to their own creativity and work.
In  our programs we focus on cultivating what we call Feminine Leadership. This kind of leadership is build on a  holistic view of the human being and organizations, were all levels of our beings are honored. Instead of pushing for action at all cost, we learn to tune in to the organic process of creativity. We learn the importance of self care, as a basic step in fully servings as leaders in our family and the world, and we learn to move beyond different “feminine pitfalls”  like making ourself  small, or  taking care of everybody else until we drop down in exhaustion.
Instead of resisting the ups and down of life we can practice effective ways to rejuvenate the body, to regain clarity of mind and to  align our self with the flow of creativity; we shift from “problem thinking” to “possibility thinking.”