Hugs #bebetter52

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Hugs #bebetter52

Do you hug your family and friends everyday? If not, it may be time to start. Studies show hugging is beneficial for your physical and mental health by boosting your immune system and decreasing feelings of depression and loneliness.

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge: Give at least one good hug each day.  You can hug your kids, your spouse, your friends or anyone you feel comfortable embracing. Try practicing long hugs that last at least a second or two instead of quick, casual hugs. This week is about holding those you love close and experiencing the benefits hugs can bring.

Studies prove engaging in a hug releases the hormone oxytocin that decreases feelings of loneliness and depression by enhancing one’s feeling of attachment in a relationship. It increases feelings of joy and closeness with others that can improve a person’s self-esteem and build trust. The release of oxytocin is also found to relieve stress and boost the immune system. In addition, the people who received more hugs were less likely to catch a cold. Similar to laughter, hugs are proven to positively influence a person’s mood and behavior.  

This week try and release some oxytocin and give as many hugs as possible. Post a picture of yourself giving a hug, using #bebetter52, and describe the feelings the embrace gave you.

More info on benefits of hugs

Happiness #bebetter52

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Happiness #bebetter52

With all the negativity in the world around us, it is important we take time to recognize the people and moments that bring joy, happiness and peace to our lives.

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge: Find someone or something in your life that makes you happy. It can be a friend, family member, pet, location, or even a piece of chocolate cake. Take a moment to recognize the joy this person or object brings you and take a photo with him/her/it. You can then post this picture on social media using #bebetter52 and a caption explaining in what way this person, object, or place brings you happiness.

Our lives can become overly consumed with work and stress.  Almost daily, national headlines highlight horrific death tolls and devastations here and abroad.  Surrounded by a world in chaos, we forget to make our happiness a priority. Research has shown being happy leads to better physical and mental health as well as a more successful career and fulfilling social life. Of course, it is nearly impossible to be happy all the time, but if you make your happiness a priority, you will see that positivity reflected in all aspects of your life.

You do not need to make drastic changes in your life to increase your happiness; it can be as simple as recognizing the people and things already in your life that give you joy. Once you discover what makes you happy, find time to make that a priority. Whether it’s spending more time with your kids or taking your dog for longer walks, make time for whomever or whatever brings you contentment. Always be grateful for your blessings. A heart filled with gratitude is a heart filled with peace.