Free Hugs Anyone??

Free hugs anyone? According to science we all should be lining up to hand out hugs.

Hugs boost both oxytocin and serotonin levels.

Oxytocin is sometimes called the “love hormone”. It can help to heal negative feelings like loneliness, anger, and anxiety, while bringing about more positive feelings like trust and empathy. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is believed to bring feelings of happiness and well-being.

I remember going through a pretty bad period of anxiety when I was in my early 20’s, and whenever I would have an anxiety attack, all I would feel was the need to be hugged. It must have been the oxytocin and serotonin I was needing. Our bodies always make us crave what we really need.

Hugging can treat and prevent ailments.

The chemicals released during a hug have been shown to lower blood pressure, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition, the sternum pressure experienced when hugging helps to stimulate the thymus gland, which is responsible for production and regulation of your body’s white blood cells – the cells that prevent and fight disease!

Hugging brings closeness and trust to relationships.

Hugging someone you care about can really help strengthen the bond between the two of you. It increases self-esteem, builds trust, and cultivates patience and appreciation.

Experts recommend at least 8-12 hugs a day to reap the benefits that hugging has to offer. Go give your loved ones a nice, long hug. Not only will you experience all of these benefits, so will they.

Hugs promote relaxation.

A hug can relax your muscles, relieving tension in your body. It can help to soothe aches and pains — and take away physical stress, as a prolonged hug causes stress chemicals like cortisol to drop. This helps to relax you, both physically and mentally.

Hugs can help you reach a state of zen.

The simple act of giving a hug can help you to be present in the now. A hug can connect you not only with another person, but also with your own heart, feelings, and breathing. Hugs can really balance your mood!

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, safe and secure. 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.

Go Get Hugging!!

Could these foods be causing your Depression?

Too much of some of these foods and you may become unlikeable, to yourself and to everyone around you. A lot of new research shows that what we consume goes right to our limbic systems, the emotional headquarters of our body.

If we feed it horrible food, we will feel horrible. If we treat it with kindness, it will return us the kindness.

Here are seven foods to try to avoid to help out our emotional headquarters:

1. Refined sugar

A snickers bar sure does taste good and can provide us with a rush of energy for about 20 minutes; however, that treat and all the refined sugar causes our blood glucose levels to plummet, resulting in a sugar hangover that disrupts our mood, depletes our energy, and is linked to sleep disorders.

2. Artificial sweeteners

Aspartame is bad stuff. We’ve all been hearing this lately. It’s even worse for you if you are prone to depression. It blocks the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin and causes mood dips, headaches, and insomnia. The artificial sweeters Sweet n low and Equal have also been found to be bad news as well. If you really need a soda fix, go for no diet but I wouldn’t recommend any soda.

3. Processed food

Consuming refined or processed carbohydrates, such as white bread, cereal, pasta, or snack foods will cause the same impact on your blood sugar levels as eating a basket of jelly beans. Bagels are processed the same way donuts are. After the initial insulin boost, you will end up fatigued, irritated, and out of whack.

4. Hydrogenated oils

Stay away from anything fried! Chicken, the fried cheese sticks, fried jalapeños, fried calamari, and, of course, French fries(which are sometimes fried twice!). Anything that is cooked with hydrogenated oils and contains trans fats could potentially contribute to depression.

5. Foods high in sodium

Fat-free foods tend to claim to be so healthy but turns out your probably better off eating the non fat free items. The fat free foods have to get taste somewhere and they will add a ton of salt which is not all that great for your emotions. The excess sodium in these products can disrupt your neurological system, contributing to depression, and can muck up your immune system response, causing fatigue. Too much salt also leads to fluid retention and bloating, and I don’t have to tell you how depressing that is. Most places use iodized salt which is not your friend.

6. Alcohol

Do I really even need to tell you this one! Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. If you have a history of a mood disorder, proceed with extreme caution. Your central nervous system is responsible for taking in information through the senses, controlling motor function, as well as thinking, understanding, and reasoning. It also controls emotion. Alcohol slows all this down, exacerbating symptoms associated with depression. Most people believe Alcohol makes them happy but they couldn’t be more wrong!

7. Caffeine

According to some experts, even a modest amount of caffeine can contribute to depression and anxiety. Caffeine disrupts sleep, making it more difficult to fall asleep and to stay asleep; those disturbances affect mood. It can cause agitation, tremors, and nervousness. Energy drinks, particularly, are bad news as most of them contain the caffeine equivalent of 14 cans of soda.

If you are really looking to get a handle on your moods and overall feel better, you should start with diet. The gut brain connection is a connection we want to pamper. Our body is this amazing organism that knows what it’s doing to survive, but when we feed it things it was not set up to process how can we expect it to not malfunction?

Learn how to free yourself from anxieties with these 8 easy steps

Living with anxiety is not easy by any means. There are millions of people out there who struggle with anxiety daily, looking for ways to get relief. Being able to have control over anxiety is a life long process, but there are ways to combat your anxiety that can be integrated into your daily life. If you regularly suffer from anxiety and you need some relief, try some of the following strategies.

  1. Control Your Breathing:

This is a big player in controlling your anxiety. Severe anxiety symptoms are linked to poor breathing habits. Some people with anxiety suffer from poor breathing habits that contribute to anxiety and can be one of the most upsetting symptoms. Taking control of your breathing will help you without a doubt. Here is what you need to do:

  • Breathe slowly and gently through your nose for about 5 to 7 seconds. Hold your breath for about 3 to 5 seconds. Breathe out gently through your mouth with your lips puckered like you are going to whistle for about 6 to 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise as many times as needed to gain complete control and prevent from hyperventilating.

2. Be Self-Aware of Your Thoughts:

Our thoughts can create a quick pathway to having a full on anxiety attack.  Learning to be aware of your thoughts will help you to combat them.  When a thought wonders into your mind that makes you feel uneasy, you should stop from thinking further about that thought and ask yourself is this something I should let take over me? This one thought has the potential to snowball into several other negative thoughts and cause you some horrible symptoms that can take minutes to hours to bounce back from. Twist that thought into a more positive thought. Sometimes just breaking the habit of letting your mind wonder from thought to thought going deeper into an anxiety rabbit hole will keep you grounded. Be aware of your thoughts and get used to changing your thinking pattern to be more positive.

3. Find What Relaxes You: 

There are already things in your life that relax you. Don’t avoid them and try to fight out the anxiety. Instead, do the activities as fast as possible. For example, if you find that a warm bath is relaxing, don’t wait to take the bath. Jump in the bath, light some candles, add a few nice scents, and get to relaxing. Whether it’s a bath, a shower, drawing, getting a massage do it if it works and do it right away, rather than letting yourself become overwhelmed by your anxiety. You will be amazed at how quickly you will become side tracked from your anxiety.

4. Exercise: 

During periods of anxiety, your body is filled with adrenaline. Putting that adrenaline towards some form of exercise can be a good way to improve your anxiety. That’s because exercise has many advantages for controlling your anxiety symptoms. Some of those include:

  • Exercise burns away stress hormones that create anxiety symptoms.
  • Exercise tires your muscles by reducing excess energy and tension.
  • Exercise releases endorphins which improves your overall mood.
  • Exercise forces healthier breathing.
  • Exercise is a healthy distraction and has been proven over and over to help anxiety symptoms.
Aerobic activity, like light jogging or even fast walking, can be extremely effective at reducing the severity of your anxiety symptoms, as well as your anxiety itself.
5. Live in the now and less in the future:
Simply learning to live for today can impact your anxiety. One of the most important things that psychologists and counselors teach those with anxiety is: “Okay, you’re anxious. So what?” Those with anxiety often start to focus too much on how they feel and their worries about the future. Each day becomes trying to live with anxiety instead of trying to live in general. Learning to embrace the idea that you have anxiety and trying to live a great and exciting life anyway is important. What’s interesting is that if you can learn to finally have the mindset to let yourself experience the fear and try to live the life anyway, you will find that your anxiety tends to dissipate with it. It’s not a cure, but it’s close. You will always hear “Why worry about what you can’t control?” It’s true! You can only worry about the here and now so let go of all the “what could happens” and enjoy what is happening!
6. Get it Out!: 
Anxiety is interesting, because it tends to get worse when you try to fight it. It’s not clear why that occurs, but most likely the stress that your body goes through in order to control the stress of anxiety only makes it worse, as does the effort it takes to try to not feel your natural feelings. So rather than trying to stop your anxiety, an interesting coping strategy is to embracing it. When you’re feeling anxious, find a place that you can be alone and go nuts. Yell at yourself in mirrors. Scream. Punch pillows. Have at it, let all of your emotions out. Throw things. Fling your arms and jump around. Let yourself feel like you’re lettinof your emotions, and then some, to the point where you feel a bit silly, and then keep going with it. This lets you embrace the anxiety and not fight it, while also giving you an opportunity to hold it back. It’s best to make sure no one is around, and don’t break anything important to you, but as long as what you’re doing is safe it can help you feel quite relaxed.
7. Get An Anxiety Buddy:
Effective anxiety reduction is often about distraction, since your mind can be your worst enemy when you have severe anxiety symptoms. A very effective technique is to talk to someone you like and trust, especially on the phone. Don’t be ashamed about your anxiety, tell them you feel anxious and explain what you’re feeling.
Talking to people you trust keeps your mind off of your symptoms, and having the support of friends and family gives you that added boost of confidence. If you’re suffering from a panic attack, it also helps you feel more confident that if something was wrong, you’d have someone that can watch over you. One of the biggest helpers for anxiety is knowing we are not alone and someone will help keep us safe.
8. Listen To Music That Soothes Your Soul:
Ahhh at last! Music! This is my outlet for anything! We all have music that we love, that puts us in a good relaxed mood. Use this as much as you can. When you listen to music that you really enjoy it releases endorphins. Having those feel good endorphins run through your body truly soothes the soul. We humans have been chanting and dancing to beats for thousands of years because there really is healing properties to our body from music. So turn it on and crank it up!