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Fun Fact Friday

  • Hugging or holding hands with someone special can instantly reduce stress.
  • Originally, carrots were purple.
  • Research finds that kids who enjoy family meals have larger vocabularies, better manners, healthier diets, and higher self-esteem.
hugs_touch
  • Apples are more efficient at waking you up in the morning than caffeine.
  • Chocolate milk was invented in Jamaica.
  • Did you know your body is actually designed to get 4 hours of sleep twice per day instead of 8 hours once?

Happy Friday  
🙂
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact
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The Psychology of a Hug

By Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D. 

Common sense tells us that a hug is good for us. Now a new study confirms just how and why hugs are so beneficial.

A study of 404 healthy adults by experimenters at Carnegie Mellon University examined the effects of hugs on the health of participants, particularly their susceptibility to developing the common cold. People who reported more hugs and greater social support were 32% less likely to come down with a cold, and the researchers interpreted that a “stress-buffering” effect of hugging explained the beneficial effect.

“Hugging protects people who are under stress from the increased risk for colds,” notes study lead author Sheldon Cohen, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. Cohen called hugging “a marker of intimacy and helps generate the feeling that others are there to help in the face of adversity.”

There is, in fact, a scientific basis for Cohen’s view on the effects of hugging. Some experts attribute the stress-reducing benefits of hugging to the release of oxytocin in the body. They refer to oxytocin as “the bonding hormone” because it promotes attachment in relationships, including between mothers and their newborn babies.

Classic research on attachment between mothers and babies was done years ago by psychologists such as Harlow in America and Spitz in London. Harlow experimented with baby monkeys and maternal deprivation and found that monkeys needed physical contact with their mothers more than they needed milk. When they didn’t get that attachment with their mothers, they suffered from depression and a host of other emotional disorders. Spitz studied babies in a foundling hospital in London during World War II and found that orphans who had lost their mothers during bombing raids by the Germans quickly deteriorated when they didn’t get the physical comfort they needed. About 33% of these babies stopped eating and died.

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It sounds simple; just get a hug a day and you’ll be releasing oxytocin all over the place and you’ll enjoy steady health. The catch is that the above study was done with healthy adults–presumably adults who did not suffer from a major emotional disorder. But what happens if you are unhealthy?

People who suffer from major depression, for example, eschew physical contact. They don’t want to be touched and they don’t want to touch anybody. Harlow found in his studies with monkeys that if they did not establish a firm attachment with their mothers during a critical period of infancy, they would have a difficult time establishing an attachment later on. Indeed, they would have an attachment phobia.

For such people a hug a day would likely diminish their depression as well as make them less vulnerable to not only illnesses such as colds but also the whole spectrum of illnesses. However, getting them to accept hugs or bonding with another human being is the resistance that must be overcome. Overcoming this resistance to attachment is the main task of psychotherapy with such individuals and often takes years to accomplish.

Indeed, resistance to attachment (some call it fear of intimacy) may well be the primary resistance to therapy and to any relationship. Physical comfort is at the core of this resistance. A person who didn’t receive this in early childhood, or received it improperly (as inappropriate sexual touching) is often disgusted by it as an adult. Hugging seems like such a simple thing, but is actually very complex.

Still, this research is valuable because it confirms what we already knew, as research often does, and provides a rationale for encouraging people who seek out hugs in times of stress, if they don’t do so already. If you are stressed out about your spouse, about a job interview, a final exam, or any kind of difficult situation, get a hug.

Never mind the apples. Hugs are much more likely than apples to circumvent a doctor’s visit.


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8 Ways Science Reveals That Hugging Creates a Physiological Response Equivalent To Drugs

JANUARY 22, 2015 by JOSH RICHARDSON

Hugs make you feel good for a reason and it’s not just the loving embrace that gives us that warm feeling in our hearts. It’s much more. It affects the entire body to such an extent that many scientists claim it is equivalent to the effect of many different drugs operating on the body simultaneously. Even seemingly trivial instances of interpersonal touch can help people deal with their emotions with clarity and more effectively.

1. REDUCE WORRY OF MORTALITY

In a study on fears and self-esteem, research published in the journal Psychological Science revealed that hugs and touch significantly reduce worry of mortality. The studies found that hugging – even if it was just an inanimate object like a teddy bear – helps soothe individuals’ existential fears. “Interpersonal touch is such a powerful mechanism that even objects that simulate touch by another person may help to instill in people a sense of existential significance,” lead researcher Sander Koole wrote in the study.

2. STIMULATES OXYTOCIN

Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts on the limbic system, the brain’s emotional centre, promoting feelings of contentment, reducing anxiety and stress, and even making mammals monogamous. It is the hormone responsible for us all being here today. You see this little gem is released during childbirth, making our mothers forget about all of the excruciating pain they endured expelling us from their bodies and making them want to still love and spend time with us. New research from the University of California suggests that it has a similarly civilizing effect on human males, making them more affectionate and better at forming relationships and social bonding. And it dramatically increased the libido and sexual performance of test subjects. More frequent partner hugs and higher oxytocin levels are linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate. The chemical has also been linked to social bonding. “Oxytocin is a neuropeptide, which basically promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding,” DePauw University psychologist Matt Hertenstein told NPR. “It really lays the biological foundation and structure for connecting to other people.” When we hug someone, oxytocin is released into our bodies by our pituitary gland, lowering both our heart rates and our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

3. LOWERS HEART RATE

Embracing someone may warm your heart, but according to one study a hug can be good medicine for it too: In an experiment at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill , participants who didn’t have any contact with their partners developed a quickened heart rate of 10 beats per minute compared to the five beats per minute among those who got to hug their partners during the experiment.

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4. STIMULATES DOPAMINE

Everything everyone does involves protecting and triggering dopamine flow. Many drugs of abuse act through this system. Problems with the system can lead to serious depression and other mental illness. Low dopamine levels also play a role in the neurodegenerative disease Parkinson’s as well as mood disorders such as depression. Procrastination, self-doubt, and lack of enthusiasm are linked with low levels of dopamine and hugs are said to adjust those levels. Dopamine is responsible for giving us that feel-good feeling, and it’s also responsible for motivation! Hugs stimulate brains to release dopamine, the pleasure hormone. MRI and PET scans reveal that when you hugs people or listen to music that excites you, your brain releases dopamine and even in anticipation of those moments. Dopamine sensors are the areas that many stimulating drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine target. The presence of a certain kinds of dopamine receptors are also associated with sensation-seeking.

5. STIMULATES SEROTONIN

Serotonin flows when you feel significant or important. Loneliness and depression appears when serotonin is absent. It’s perhaps one reason why people fall into gang and criminal activity — the culture brings experiences that facilitate serotonin release. Reaching out and hugging releases endorphins and serotonin into the blood vessels and the released endorphins and serotonin cause pleasure and negate pain and sadness and decrease the chances of getting heart problems, helps fight excess weight and prolongs life. Even the cuddling of pets has a soothing effect that reduces the stress levels. Hugging for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.

6. WELL-HUGGED BABIES ARE LESS STRESSED AS ADULTS

Want to do something for future generations? Hug them when they’re still little. An Emory University study in rats found a link between touch and relieving stress, particularly in the early stages of life. The research concluded that the same can be said of humans, citing that babies’ development — including how they cope with stress as adults – depends on a combination of nature and nurture.

cuddles

7. PARASYMPATHETIC BALANCE

Hugs balance out the nervous system. The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped pressure centres called Pacinian corpuscles that can sense touch and which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. 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 – parasympathetic.

8. ENHANCE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Research shows that the hug hormones above are immuno-regulatory. All of this has an even deeper meaning on the way our systems work with each other, including our immune system. his also parallels with the way that hugs promote the relaxation response — they help to change the way your body handles both physical and social stresses, thus boosting your immune system naturally, to do the job it was designed to do!

Josh Richardson is blogger, healer, and a constant pursuer of the natural state of human consciousness.

Sources:   tinyshift.com    dopamineproject.org   brainhq.com    huffingtonpost.com    npr.org    dailymail.co.uk   nih.gov


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You Might Be Surprised How Much a Hug Helps Fight Illness, Stress and Depression

Psychologists go to surprising lengths in new study to show how much a hug can help.

Being hugged reduces the deleterious effects of stress on the body, according to new research which intentionally exposed people to a cold virus.

Hugging acts as a form of social support and protects people from getting sick and even reduces their illness symptoms if they do get sick.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, asked 404 healthy adults how much social support they perceived they had from other people (Cohen et al., 2014).

They were also asked about how often they were hugged and how often they came into conflict with others.

Participants were then exposed to a cold virus in the lab (they were well paid for this: $1,000 each).

Their condition was monitored in quarantine to see if they developed a cold and how severe their symptoms were.

10 Reasons Why We Need at Least 8 Hugs a Day

Professor Sheldon Cohen, who led the study, explained its rationale:

“We know that people experiencing ongoing conflicts with others are less able to fight off cold viruses.
We also know that people who report having social support are partly protected from the effects of stress on psychological states, such as depression and anxiety.
We tested whether perceptions of social support are equally effective in protecting us from stress-induced susceptibility to infection and also whether receiving hugs might partially account for those feelings of support and themselves protect a person against infection.”

The results showed that people who were hugged more often or who perceived they had greater social support were less likely to catch the cold in the first place.

Those who did get a cold had less severe symptoms if they were hugged more and felt supported socially.

Professor Cohen said:

“This suggests that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress.
The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy.
Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection.”

 

source: PSYBLOG


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9 Reasons You Need To Be Giving and Receiving Hugs Everyday

THE MIND UNLEASHED on 28 January, 2014 

Hugging helps the immune system, cures depression, reduces stress and induces sleep. It’s invigorating, rejuvenating and has no unpleasant side effects. It is all natural, organic, naturally sweet, no pesticides, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients and 100 percent wholesome. There are no batteries to wear out, no periodic check-ups, low energy consumption, high energy yield, inflation proof, nonfattening, no monthly payments, theft-proof, nontaxable, nonpolluting and, of course, fully returnable. Hugging is practically perfect, with the only exception that it can’t recreate the wheel. Here are 9 reasons you need hugs everyday.

A famous quote by psychotherapist Virginia Satir goes, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Whether those exact numbers have been scientifically proven remains to be seen, but there is a great deal of scientific evidence related to the importance of hugs and physical contact.

1. STIMULATES OXYTOCIN

Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts on the limbic system, the brain’s emotional centre, promoting feelings of contentment, reducing anxiety and stress, and even making mammals monogamous. It is the hormone responsible for us all being here today. You see this little gem is released during childbirth, making our mothers forget about all of the excruciating pain they endured expelling us from their bodies and making them want to still love and spend time with us. New research from the University of California suggests that it has a similarly civilising effect on human males, making them more affectionate and better at forming relationships and social bonding. And it dramatically increased the libido and sexual performance of test subjects. When we hug someone, oxytocin is released into our bodies by our pituitary gland, lowering both our heart rates and our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

2. CULTIVATES PATIENCE

Connections are fostered when people take the time to appreciate and acknowledge one another. A hug is one of the easiest ways to show appreciation and acknowledgement of another person. The world is a busy, hustle-bustle place and we’re constantly rushing to the next task. By slowing down and taking a moment to offer sincere hugs throughout the day, we’re benefiting ourselves, others, and cultivating better patience within ourselves.

3. PREVENTS DISEASE

Affection also has a direct response on the reduction of stress which prevents many diseases. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine says it has carried out more than 100 studies into touch and found evidence of significant effects, including faster growth in premature babies, reduced pain, decreased autoimmune disease symptoms, lowered glucose levels in children with diabetes, and improved immune systems in people with cancer.

4. STIMULATES THYMUS GLAND

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.

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5. COMMUNICATION WITHOUT SAYING A WORD

Almost 70 percent of communication is nonverbal. The interpretation of body language can be based on a single gesture and hugging is an excellent method of expressing yourself nonverbally to another human being or animal. Not only can they feel the love and care in your embrace, but they can actually be receptive enough to pay it forward to others based on your initiative alone.

6. SELF-ESTEEM

Hugging boosts self-esteem, especially in children. The tactile sense is all-important in infants. A baby recognizes its parents initially by touch. From the time we’re born our family’s touch shows us that we’re loved and special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.

7. STIMULATES DOPAMINE

Everything everyone does involves protecting and triggering dopamine flow. Low dopamine levels play a role in the neurodegenerative disease Parkinson’s as well as mood disorders such as depression. Dopamine is responsible for giving us that feel-good feeling, and it’s also responsible for motivation! Hugs stimulate brains to release dopamine, the pleasure hormone. Dopamine sensors are the areas that many stimulating drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine target. The presence of a certain kinds of dopamine receptors are also associated with sensation-seeking.

8. STIMULATES SEROTONIN

Reaching out and hugging releases endorphins and serotonin into the blood vessels and the released endorphins and serotonin cause pleasure and negate pain and sadness and decrease the chances of getting heart problems, helps fight excess weight and prolongs life. Even the cuddling of pets has a soothing effect that reduces the stress levels. Hugging for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.

9. PARASYMPATHETIC BALANCE

Hugs balance out the nervous system. The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped pressure centres called Pacinian corpuscles that can sense touch and which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. 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 – parasympathetic.

I’ll leave you with the wonderful real life story of Juan Mann, a man whose sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger put a smile on their face. In this age of social-disconnection most all of us lack that simple human touch from another, the effects of the Free Hugs Campaign are now felt around the globe.

Josh Richardson is blogger, healer, and a constant pursuer of the natural state of human consciousness.

Sources:    tinyshift.com   dopamineproject.org    dailymail.co.uk


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10 Reasons Why We Need at Least 8 Hugs a Day

BY MARCUS JULIAN FELICETTI   AUGUST 10, 2012 

Hugging therapy is definitely a powerful way of healing. Research shows that hugging (and also laughter) is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress.

Research shows a proper deep hug, where the hearts are pressing together, can benefit you in these ways:

1. The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication.

2. Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.

3. Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.

4. 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.

5. Hugging boosts self-esteem. From the time we’re born our family’s touch shows us that we’re loved and special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.


6. Hugging relaxes muscles. Hugs release tension in the body. Hugs can take away pain; they soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.

7. 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 – parasympathetic.

8. Hugs teach us how to give and receive. There is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. Hugs educate us how love flows both ways.

9. Hugs are so much like meditation and laughter. They teach us to let go and be present in the moment. They encourage us to flow with the energy of life. Hugs get you out of your circular thinking patterns and connect you with your heart and your feelings and your breath.

10. The energy exchange between the people hugging is an investment in the relationship. It encourages empathy and understanding. And, it’s synergistic, which means the whole is more than the sum of its parts: 1+1 = 3 or more! This synergy is more likely to result in win-win outcomes.

There is a saying by Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”