Science says…

If part of your 2020 resolution includes spending more time with your girlfriends, it turns out that it could mean more than just a boost to your social life. It might have perks for your health as well.

According to Stanford University and UCLA, studies have shown that during times of stress, women experience the release of serotonin and oxytocin — otherwise known as “the bonding hormone,” which encourages them to connect.

Furthermore, psychologists have said that as women get older, maintaining bonds with their girlfriends in particular becomes even more important amid busy schedules and more responsibilities. Among the benefits, it makes them feel nurtured, validated and free to be themselves.

However, most of us with a tightly-knit group of gal pals don’t need scientific data to tell us that.

For many of us, these types of groups are akin to families. We can confide in them, trust them with our deepest secrets and feel at ease knowing that we’re accepted unconditionally, flaws and all.

Each year, we dedicate an edition of Her magazine to relationships and, in a nod to Valentine’s Day, frequently focus on those of the romantic variety. But this year, we decided to take a different approach and highlight those female connections that help connect us and make us stronger.

We interviewed several girlfriend groups from the area, from friendships that formed during early years in school to those that were forged over a common bond, such as participating in Run4Troops or encouraging one another to embrace healthier lifestyles, as you’ll read from our cover story on a group of girlfriends that call themselves, “The Booty Burners.”

It was an honor getting welcomed into these special circles of friends for our interviews to laugh, cry, reminisce and get a sense of what special bonds have kept these incredible groups of women together for so many years.

Also in this edition: Her Hacks checks out tips for planning girls’ nights, whether you’re heading out on the town or staying in.

Technology also has spawned a new breed of friendships — those of the digital variety. We take a look at those friends we know through our screens but have never met in person, and how those relationships can add to our lives.

Not avoiding romance entirely, we also include a special bridal section to help those in planning for the big day, as well as other ideas to help inspire those loving relationships during the month of Cupid and candies.

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