Archive for April 2015

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A Hug Says It All – 5 Reasons to Hug Your Loved One as Often as Possible

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

Virgina Satir, quoted in an article by Toni Agnesi, once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” If we need that many hugs just think how many a person with Alzheimer’s must need.

Agnesi writes, “Hugs make us feel important, wanted, and loved. Who can resist the hugs of a child or grandchild, burying themselves in your arms? He continues by stating, “A hug is more powerful than a thousand words!”

An NIH article reports on the largest published study on therapeutic touch. The study’s abstract states, “Outcomes from this continuous quality improvement (CQI) clinical study suggest that therapeutic touch . . . promotes comfort, calmness, and well-being. In addition, patients are highly satisfied with therapeutic touch.”

Marcus Felicetti published an article on the MindBodyGreen website that reviews the scientific research on the benefits of touch. He cites findings of the various research studies on which he reports. I’ll present five of the most important ones here:

  1. Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
  1. Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
  1. Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the solar plexus chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.
  1. Hugging relaxes muscles. Hugs release tension in the body. Hugs can take away pain; they soothe aches in increasing circulation into the soft tissues.
  1. Hugs balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system.

A Smile Can Change Everything

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Effects on the Person Smiling

Smiling has been found to have beneficial effects on the person who is smiling. According to an article on the Live Strong website, “A study conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation showed the act of smiling to dramatically improve one’s mood.”

Another study, conducted by Dr. David Beales, co-author of “Emotional Healing for Dummies,” found that “Smiling causes a release of endorphins, your body’s natural pain-relieving and feel-good hormones.”

Effects on the Person Being Smiled at

Research has also discovered that being smiled at has positive effects. The British Dental Health Foundation, again as reported on the Live Strong website, states that “Smiling increases happiness both in yourself and those around you.”

A comprehensive article on this topic was published in Positive Psychology News Daily. Entitled “Smile and Others Smile With You: Health Benefits, Emotional Contagion and Mimicry,” the article reviews 10 scientific research studies on the benefits of smile for the person being smiled at. The article reports the following findings of the various studies:

  1. When you smile at someone, their muscles maneuver into a smile as well.
  1. This process is also known as emotional contagion. That is, emotions are contagious. Feeling good is infectious.
  1. Mimicking a person’s bodily state or facial expression causes physical responses in the receiver’s body that are identical to those in the sender’s.
  1. If you mimic [another person’s] smile . . . your body will release serotonin, dopamine and other “feel-good” indicators.
  1. Frequent smiling has many therapeutic and health benefits. Smiling:
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Increases positive affect
  • Reduces stress
  • Lowers blood pressure