Embrace the Fun - How Hugs and Laughter Help Reduce Stress

Merry Christmas 馃巹馃巵聽

In one of my previous posts about reducing stress, I briefly mentioned the benefits of hugging and laughter to help reduce stress. They are such fun, easy, and powerful techniques that anyone can do just about anywhere, I thought it was time to dive a little deeper and look at why they work and how we can actively start using them to reduce the negative effects of chronic stress.聽

Let鈥檚 start by talking about hugs. Have you ever noticed how a good hug will make you feel better? It calms you and changes your entire outlook on the world and whatever it is that鈥檚 been upsetting or stressing you out. Turns out there鈥檚 some science behind hugs and a reason we start to feel better.聽

There are measurable effects on your heart and on the stress-level of your brain activity when you hug and those benefits will ramp up significantly around the twenty second mark. As an added bonus, your body will release oxytocin, a feel-good hormone. It鈥檚 no wonder your whole outlook starts to change after a good hug.聽

Start to hug your loved ones or your favorite pet more often and when you do, try to hold the hug for at least twenty seconds. Don鈥檛 be creepy about it, but if you鈥檙e comfortable - and you should be if you鈥檙e sharing a long hug - tell the other person about the benefits of these longer hugs. Before long it will become second nature and you鈥檒l both continue to reap the rewards.聽

When hugging isn鈥檛 an option, or if you don鈥檛 enjoy them, give laughing a try. It relieves tension and reduces stress. As an added benefit, you鈥檙e drawing more air into your lungs, resulting in more oxygen being delivered to your heart, brain, and other important organs. Laughing often can even improve your immune system.聽

Put on a funny movie, watch a TV sitcom, read some funny cartoons, call a friend who makes you laugh, or just start laughing and fake it until you start to feel it.聽 Laughter, it turns out, really is great medicine and great for both body and mind.聽

Fun fact for you. There鈥檚 even an entire sub niche of yoga practitioners who do laughter yoga as a stress busting technique. Can you see yourself taking a class where you go through various yoga exercises while also making a conscious effort to laugh out loud?聽

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