You know by now that we try to find the fun side of things as they happen in our homes to keep situations from escalating. To be even more specific, two things are especially helpful toward staying calm – because you know when mama is calm, it is easier to establish calm throughout the house.

The two things are hugging and laughing. They are such fun, easy, and powerful techniques that anyone can do just about anywhere, except outside the home while we are in a pandemic. However, we are talking about tools and tips for establishing calm inside our homes.

Such simple concepts – hugging and laughing. 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. 

20 Second Hugs Are Best

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

There are measurable effects on your heart and on the stress-level of your brain activity when you hug. Those benefits will ramp up significantly around the twenty second mark. As a bonus, your body will release oxytocin, a feel-good hormone. It is 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 are 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 comedy, 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. 

Try them out this week for a new stress busting technique. I love to laugh and am determined to increase the hugs and laughs this week.

Here’s a shameless plug: I recently was interviewed by Donna Rekitt, The Stress Buster Coach about my parenting course, Anxiety-Free Parenting (In Just 60 Days) You can find that course here: https://tinyurl.com/master-parent-course.

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