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Stress Less, Smile More

HGBM strongly advocates for self-care. We're all under so much stress these days that it is hard to imagine ever having the time or energy to do the things God put us here to do. Within our three pillars of Healing from Trauma, Using Your Gifts, and Growing Your Faith, we love to share tips and advice about things like learning how to de-stress. This week's feature is all about being able to Stress Less! Be sure to follow us for regular updates to this week's blog feature. Today, our focus is on how to stress less and smile more. Make life fun again! Read more below:

Have you ever thought about 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. Let's take a look at why they work and how we can actively start using them to reduce the negative effects of chronic stress.

We'll start with 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 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’s no wonder your whole outlook starts to change after a good hug. This is why at HGBM we call our three pillars HUGs! We know that working on each of those three areas, can have beneficial effects, just like a real 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. Try these things and see how a good laugh can help:

  • 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 (this one might feel weird, but there's no harm in trying).

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

HGBM would love to share a HUG with you! We do this by offering a sweet discount on our books when you use the code STRESSLESS. Good this week only and only in the HGBM Shop!

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