Healthy Hollywood: Wellness Wednesday – Michelle Obama’s Inner Circle!

Everybody needs friends – even the First Lady. “Barack is somebody who understands my need to have my girls around me. And he knows that when I’m down, he’ll call on one of them just to come up and take me to lunch or to spend some time,” reveals Michelle to iVillage.

The First Lady gets personal about the importance of close girlfriends on the women’s online site iVillage. The First Lady is serving as the site’s guest editor for the week and is getting candid on relationships, well-being, how to rev up back to school spirit and keeping your family happy and healthy. And yes, The First Lady likes to see herself as just a regular mom – who just happens to have a very important husband.

Friday’s topic is friendship and Michelle, just like the rest of us, cherishes her inner circle. “It has been essential for me in this role, being in such a highly visible, highly scrutinized environment to have people that you’ve known for that long where you can just be yourself and be vulnerable… because while my husband is my best friend – and I love and respect him dearly – my female friends just provide a different kind of support…You sort of get a pep talk from your team and you get pushed back into the game.”

As part of The First Lady’s editorial gig, iVillage lists 15 reasons why you need friends and shared five of them with Healthy Hollywood.

1. They’re Great Problem-Solvers

A friend might have a perspective on a situation you previously didn’t consider. “Friends can help you approach problems with a new perspective,” says Irene S. Levine, psychologist, creator of and author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend. “She may have a different background than you or have had different experiences. If she is older or younger, she may see things differently than you do.” She probably also has different strengths than you. It’s true: You can’t be good at everything! And nobody expects you to be. With a little teamwork, there’s no obstacle you can’t overcome.

2. They’ll Challenge You

Friends can keep you from getting stuck in your single-minded beliefs. Discussing current events, politics and even pop culture with them can keep your brain sharp! “Many times we’ll pick partners who have similar beliefs as us and so our beliefs can become narrowed without the input from others,” says LeRoy. “Having friends who will expose you to new ideas, or challenge your current ideas helps to make you a more well-rounded, informed and interesting person.”

3. Peer Pressure Can Sometimes Be a Good Thing

Friends will cajole you into new adventures — whether it’s jumping out of a plane or tasting an interesting cuisine you’re a little skeptical of, they’ll gently remind you that you’re a wuss if you’re not taking risks and living life to the fullest! “Sometimes friends will expose you and encourage you to try new things that you wouldn’t have thought to try or experience on your own,” says LeRoy. “Having that partner in crime helps you to expand your horizons in good ways.”

4. They’ll Improve Your Sex Life

“Remember comparing notes with your friends on what kissing was, how do you do it, how do you know you’re good at it? Back then it was all new, so we needed to compare notes,” says LeRoy. “But as we get older our bodies change, our experience with sex changes, and we have different concerns about our sex lives then we did when we were younger. Still, one of our best sources for information is our friends.”

5. They’re Great for Your Career

Women tend to brainstorm together and help each other move up the rungs. They are also your best publicists — really good friends will even throw your name out at networking events! “A friend will keep you in mind when she hears of a great opportunity that fits your needs,” says Barbara Neitlich, a Beverly Hills psychotherapist. “Many times friends can act as fantastic mentors in business, helping you to make sound, mindful decisions. Friends can help to motivate you to ignore the so-called glass ceiling and pursue your dreams.”

For more tips from The First Lady or to peruse other amazing wellness advice, check out

-- Terri MacLeod

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