In one of my previous posts about reducing stress, I briefly mentioned the benefits that hugs and laughter 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. 

Let’s 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’s been upsetting or stressing you out. Turns out there’s some science behind hugs and a reason we start to feel better. 

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

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’t be creepy about it, but if you’re comfortable – and you should be if you’re sharing a long hug – tell the other person about the benefits of these longer hugs. Before long it will become second nature and you’ll both continue to reap the rewards. 

When hugging isn’t an option, or if you don’t enjoy them, give laughing a try. It relieves tension and reduces stress. As an added benefit, you’re 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. 

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.  Laughter, it turns out, really is great medicine and great for both body and mind. 

Fun fact for you. There’s 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? 

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Petra Monaco

Petra Monaco

Create the Life You Want + Make an Impact while you're at it!

Petra Monaco is a published author, coach, mom and breaks the status quo for fun. As a foster kid, she knows the challenges and excuses people make as she rewrote her own story and then worked her way through to become a Master's level therapist. However, after watching her son fight for his life due to a rare genetic disorder and three liver transplants, she now coaches creatives and multi-passionates to stop waiting for “one day” and the “perfect moments’. Petra helps you dive deeply into the heart of things in order to discover your next steps, inspires you to set up your own personal framework so you can break free from fear, doubt, and overwhelm so you can start creating the life you want now. Petra uses her personal story to inspire and motivate people into doing the work they need to do to create change because she believes that your excuses are just avoidance. You can have the cake and eat it too if you're willing to show up for it!
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