Great friends stand by us through situations thick or thin, and may be the first ones we turn to for some extra support. But friends are good for more than honestly assessing wardrobe choices or picking you up in a rainstorm when your car breaks down on the side of the road. According to the Mayo Clinic, friends can be beneficial to your health. Good friends can increase your sense of purpose and boost your happiness. They're also available to help you cope with trauma or tragedy and might just give you the push you need to change unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Women who have close girlfriends may find that ladies' night out is the ideal way to reconnect and find the time to let loose and have fun. When done responsibly, a ladies' night out can make for the perfect evening. And while you might be pressed for time and tempted to skip a night out on the town with your girlfriends, the following are just a few reasons why you should keep those plans.
• Cut down on stress. Laughing and talking with friends can dramatically cut down on stress. A landmark UCLA study conducted in 2002 concluded that girlfriends are stress-busters for women and have an impact on their overall mood. Oxytocin, a mood-elevating hormone, is released when women are around their friends, increasing feelings of euphoria. Considering stress can take its toll on physical and mental health, enjoying an evening out with friends can be a fun and simple way to combat stress.
• Let it all hang out. Ladies' night out allows women to put their cards on the table — whether they're discussing mundane fashion trends or looking for some heartfelt advice. Chances are your friends will not judge you, and you won't have to bite your tongue like you might have to when sharing your concerns with other people.
• Connect with other adults. Parents of young children may appreciate ladies' night out for the chance to get out of the house. You also may enjoy conversations that do not focus on school or kids. Ladies' night out is also a great opportunity to enjoy a meal, drink and/or movie without being interrupted by little ones.
• Ladies' night out can help you keep in touch with yourself. According to Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., creator of The Friendship Blog and author of "Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Break-Up With Your Best Friend," other women shape you as a person. Female friends provide virtual mirrors that allow you to see who you are and who you want to become. Maintaining that connection to yourself can be just as important as staying connected with your friends.
• Enjoy a chance to catch up in person. Many people now do the bulk of their communicating via texting or email. Ladies' night out presents an opportunity to converse face-to-face. That means not having to exert energy trying to infer tone or meaning behind emails or wondering if those emoticons are masking something unsaid.
• Have some fun. One of the key benefits of going out with girlfriends is that you'll have your partners in crime ready to join you for a night of unbridled fun. Karaoke, dancing or crowd-watching is even better when you have friends backing you up.