Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Lonely people take longer, hotter showers or baths to replace the warmth they’re lacking socially or emotionally.
  • Marilyn Monroe’s IQ(168) was higher than Einstein’s (160)
  • Singing when tensed helps you avoid anxiety and depression.
  • Too much stress and high blood pressure can lead to a condition called “hematidrosis” – where a person sweats blood.
hugs-hand-holding

 

  • 80% of people keep their feelings to themselves because they believe it’s hard for others to understand their pain.
  • North American school buses are yellow because humans see yellow faster than any other color, which is important for avoiding accidents.
  • Hugging and or holding hands with the person you love has been proven to reduce stress almost instantly.

 

Happy Friday  🙂
 
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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Fun Fact Friday

Girls learn to talk earlier, use sentences earlier,
and tend to read quicker than boys.
 
A study found that if your face suggests
that you’re alert and slightly happy,
people are more likely to perceive you as intelligent.
 
Thinking burns calories.
 
Your brain is constantly rewriting and editing your memories. 

memories
Your brain is constantly rewriting and editing your memories.

 

Physical touch makes you healthier.
Studies show that massages, hugs, and hand-holding
reduces stress and boosts the immune system. 
 
We change our voice when we talk to people we like.
 
Only 2% of the world’s population has green eyes. 

Happy Friday  
🙂

source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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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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Fun Fact Friday

 

  • You can actually be addicted to cheese. When your body digests it, opiates are released, triggering the addictive element.
  • Bees are directly responsible for the production of 70% of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts that we consume on a daily basis.
  • Your nose can remember 50,000 different scents.
  • Honey is the only natural food that is made without destroying any kind of life.
honey
Honey is the only natural food
that is made without destroying any kind of life.

 

  • Crying keeps you healthy by literally flushing away harmful bacteria and reducing stress.
  • Physical touch makes you healthier. Studies show that massages, hugs, and hand-holding reduces stress and boosts the immune system.
  • When feeling down, do some cleaning. Straightening out the physical aspects of your life can also bring clarity to the mental one.
  • Intelligent people are more forgetful than those with average intelligence.

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.

hugs

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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The 4 Best Ways to Prevent a Cold

Follow these simple tips to avoid becoming a sniffly, snotty, glassy-eyed mess when cold season rolls around

BY ALEXA TUCKER    Friday, October 9, 2015

Getting a cold sucks, but it’s not inevitable. And while 33 million diagnoses each year—according to a CDC report—might suggest otherwise, we found four simple strategies that can help you escape cold season unscathed.

But you have to be diligent. And by diligent, we mean you can’t just read this and sort of follow the advice. You have to stick to it. Because the moment you let up is when colds take hold. (You’ll probably have to get a little lucky, too.)

1. Stop Touching Your Face

This tip may seem obvious, but it’ll be tough to follow through. That’s because people touch their faces an average of 3.6 times every hour, a 2012 study in Clinical Infectious Diseases found.

And that’s a problem, because bringing your hands to your face can spike your cold risk. Workers who report sometimes touching their nose or eyes with their fingers were 41 percent more likely to come down with an upper respiratory infection than those who keep their hands off, according to researchers in Japan.

While you can catch the common cold through germ droplets in the air, the most efficient form of transmission for that particular infection is actually hand contact with secretions that contain the virus, the researchers say. So if your hands touch a surface with the virus on it, and then you touch your face, you can easily introduce the bug into your body.

If you can’t help touching your face, just make sure your digits are clean. That means scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” in your head), making sure to hit the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under the nails, the CDC says.

cold

 

2. Get Plenty of Sleep

Skimping on shut eye can leave you susceptible. People who sleep fewer than six hours a night are four times as likely to catch a cold as those who log seven hours or more, a study published in the journal Sleep found.

This may be because sleep loss messes with certain types of immune cells called B and T cells, which are critical in protecting us from viruses, says study coauthor Aric Prather, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at University of California San Francisco.

“Additionally, sleep loss is related to an increase in inflammation, which is believed to play a role in cold symptom severity,” he adds.

3. Hit The Gym

You should keep up your workout routine when the temperature drops. The reason:  People who exercise five or more days a week take up to 46 percent fewer sick days than those who exercise one day or less a week, according to a study from Appalachian State University.

When you exercise, your blood flow and body temperature increase, and your muscles contract. These factors signal your body to recruit important disease-fighting cells that are stored in your lymphoid tissues.

These cells are then recirculated throughout your system, says lead researcher David Nieman, Dr.P.H. This allows your body to detect—and kill off—potential disease-causing intruders.

To jack up your immune system, Nieman says near-daily cardio of 30 to 60 minutes a session should do the trick. (He notes that resistance training can work, too, but says it should be total-body training, since it appears to be more effective in immune-cell recruitment than routines that target one or two body parts.)

4. Hug It Out

Preventing a cold may truly be in your own hands. Stressed-out people who were more likely to have hugged within the past day are better able to fight off the virus than those who are more hands-off, a study in the journal Psychological Science found.

“Hugging is a physical expression of social support, and when people feel they are supported, they also feel they are better able to handle stress,” says study co-author Denise Janicki-Deverts, Ph.D., a research psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University.

And that’s important, because stress itself has been connected to increased cold risk, possibly because it may spark the release of certain hormones that can wreak havoc on your immunity, says Janicki-Deverts.


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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.

hugs

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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Laugh, Cuddle to Unclog Arteries? Why One Cardiologist Swears By Happy Healers

Michael Miller, MD, has seen firsthand how the power of positive emotions can help our hearts get and stay healthy.

By Michael Miller, MD with Catherine Knepper from Heal Your Heart

Also in Reader’s Digest Magazine March 2015

One of my favorite moments as a physician occurs when, with a very somber look, I inform patients that there’s one thing they absolutely must do in order to make a successful recovery after a cardiac event: Go home and laugh until they cry.

You see, we now know that there’s far more to maintaining heart health and reversing heart disease than diet, exercise, and cholesterol levels. The latest research indicates that stress, and an inability to deal with it, is a direct contributor to heart disease. For example, a study involving nearly 250,000 people found that anxiety was associated with a 26 percent increase in coronary heart disease over an 11-year period.

Anger and hostility rank at the top of the list of heart-harmful emotions. Harvard Medical School researchers recently found that 40 percent of patients who suffered a heart attack reported significant anger within the previous year, and roughly 8 percent of that group reported that they felt rage within two hours of heart attack symptoms.

But while studies reveal a great deal about the harm that negative emotions deliver to the heart, they also clearly demonstrate the amazing healing power of positive emotions. In my 25 years as a cardiologist performing clinical trials and treating patients, I’ve seen firsthand how we can harness optimism, confidence, laughter, social connections, and relaxation to help our hearts get and stay healthy.

laughing

Laugh Hysterically

Deep belly laughter triggers the release of endorphins, which activate receptors in our blood vessels’ linings that signal the production of nitric oxide. This powerful chemical causes blood vessel dilation, increases blood flow, reduces vascular inflammation and buildup of cholesterol plaque, and decreases platelet stickiness, which lowers the risk of blood clots.

In an early study, my team saw that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to use humor in an uncomfortable situation, such as having a waiter spill a drink on them, than people with healthy hearts. In another study, when we asked people to watch a clip from Saving Private Ryan or There’s Something About Mary, we found that participants’ blood vessels were narrowing by up to 50 percent during the stress-inducing clip, while vessel dilation in people who watched a funny clip increased 22 percent. After just 15 minutes of laughing, volunteers got the same vascular benefit as they would from spending 15 to 30 minutes at the gym or taking a daily statin.

Cue the Music

Medical science is now proving what people have known for hundreds of years: that music is deeply healing. In one study, researchers found that listening to music 25 minutes daily for four weeks resulted in a 12 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure (the top number) and a 5 mm Hg decrease in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number). Results like these are equivalent to the benefit of taking a strong blood pressure medication.

The calming effect of music is so powerful that listening to relaxing music before cardiac surgery was more effective at reducing stress than a sedative medication. And a group who listened to music after surgery fared better than patients who received the sedative. One theory is that music acts directly on the body’s autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for heart rate and blood pressure.

Cuddle Up

During childhood visits to the doctor, I remember feeling that everything would be fine when my pediatrician would place his hand on my upper shoulder as he listened to my lungs. Early in my training, I did the same thing to my patients. Several studies support the idea that interpersonal touch has important heart-health benefits. In one study, women who received frequent hugs from their partner showed reduced heart rates and blood pressure as well as higher levels of the powerful neurotransmitter oxytocin, which leads to blood vessel dilation.

source: www.rd.com


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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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11 Simple Ways to Practice Self Care and Release Stress

“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” – Deborah Day

Life often produces “pre-packaged stresssfulness” that can come in many forms.  Buying a car, house, paying for college, looking for jobs, etc. are all examples of this. How you deal with the stressful situations however, makes all the difference. Stress can either eat away at you or empower you; it all depends on the self care strategies you employ to deal with the stress when you encounter it. If you have been extra stressed lately, it’s important to remember the value of YOU and take time for proper self care,

Find freedom from stress with these 11 simple, yet powerful self care practices:

1. Breathe deeply.

In our fast-paced society, we often forget to slow down and pay attention to our breathing. Taking short, staggered breaths can increase your anxiety by restricting air flow to your lungs. Deep abdominal breathing has been shown to slow down the heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and also give your mind clarity.

When you find yourself in need of self-care, take deep breaths and visualize yourself in a calm, peaceful place. This will help decrease stress and regulate your breathing.

2. Practice meditation.

Eastern cultures have been practicing the self care ritual of meditation for centuries, as it is believed to connect us to our higher selves, spiritual masters, angels, and spirit guides. We can also restore cells and even transform our DNA though the practice of meditation. When you sit or lay down in a tranquil spot and just focus on your breathing and the pleasure of being alive, you can tune out of stressful situations and tune into what truly matters – your Spirit within.

3. Introduce healing items into your living space.

If you have been feeling a little disconnected and overwhelmed, try implementing crystals, peaceful or inspirational paintings, a small indoor Zen waterfall decoration, or even some lush indoor plants. All of these can balance your energies and give you a sacred space to relax and find inner peace again if you have been feeling frantic and scattered.

4. Enjoy time in nature.

Oftentimes, stress can build up if we haven’t had adequate time outside. Bonding with the Earth keeps you grounded and connected with yourself and all that is. The sun shining on your skin can revitalize you and remind you what a blessing it is to be alive.

Nature provides powerful healing properties that can make you forget the causes of unease and stress.

5. Try aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy can automatically lower stress levels and trigger a deep, peaceful response. In addition to relieving stress, it is believed that aromatherapy can help to boost the immune system. Stress can make you vulnerable to illness, and aromatherapy can stimulate chemicals in the brain that help fight infection.

One of the most widely-known fragrances to aid in stress relief is lavender. Try burning some lavender incense the next time you feel a little on edge. You can even buy lavender essential oils if you don’t like burning things in your home.

children-hugs

6. Hug someone.

A warm embrace from someone you know or even a stranger is a simply yet powerful self care tactic that can reduce your stress and remind you of all the positivity life has to offer. Hugging increases production of the “love hormone” oxytocin. This, in turn, causes your blood pressure to drop, heart rate to slow down, and gets rid of any tension you may feel. It also makes you feel loved, welcome, and comforted.

Next time you feel stressed, just hug it out! The human touch is powerful and can provide instant benefits no matter what life has thrown at you.

7. Get involved in group exercise classes.

Exercise has been proven to lower stress levels.  It also releases endorphins, which make you feel instantly energized and euphoric. Working out around other people also gives a sense of community, offering a bonding experience with others while doing something good for your body. If you have a gym nearby, try a few workout classes if you want a fun way to relieve stress.

8. Get rid of the source of stress.

If you can eliminate a few of your stressors altogether, that would free up a lot of your time, energy, and “emotional capacity”. Obviously, you can’t just get rid of your job or bills immediately, but if you have experienced added stress from having too many obligations, try to drop the ones that aren’t mandatory. Regardless of what others may think or say, you are allowed to free up your schedule and have some “you” time for self care.

9. Ask for a massage.

Whether you ask your partner for a massage or book an appointment at your local spa, a massage is an excellent self care practice to wipe away stress and transport you to a place of complete bliss. Massage therapy can work out the kinks in your shoulders or back while also getting rid of the emotional snarls you might be feeling, leaving you only with a wealth of benefits, both physical and psychological. You deserve to feel vibrant and de-stressed!

10. Take an Epsom salt bath.

Epsom salt baths are known far and wide for their sprawling positive effects on the mind, body, and spirit.  Not only does the warm water help relieve aching joints and sore muscles, but adding in Epsom salt with a few drops of your favorite essential oils can also relax the nervous system and help replenish magnesium levels in the body. Magnesium helps produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical in the brain that creates a feeling of calm and tranquility. Salt baths have also been known to eliminate toxins in the body, which help alleviate stress and trapped tension

11. Honor your inner child.

This final tip can allow you to channel your most childlike desires and forget about adult responsibilities for a while. After work one day, do something your eight year old self would have enjoyed. Go play outside in your backyard and fully engage in the marvels of nature, take your kids to race go-karts, or play a game of hide-and-seek with them. There’s nothing like bringing out the kid within us all to play for a little while to remind us that life really isn’t as serious as we make it out to be!