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Science Says Cuddling Helps Curb Depression And Anxiety, Here’s Why

Science Says Cuddling Helps Curb Depression And Anxiety, Here’s Why

Cuddling, snuggling, and hugging: you wouldn’t think these actions could be linked to depression and anxiety, but recent studies have found that the simple act of cuddling can help people who suffer from these ailments. The reason for this is oxytocin, a hormone that your brain naturally releases into your system whenever you engage in cuddling, hugging, or physical intimacy. Scientists already know how oxytocin can make us feel, but recently they have been studying the effects this hormone can have on our behavior over time. For example, if you cuddle your baby enough, it may help to keep them from becoming depressed later on in life.

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    One of the studies on the effects of this “cuddle hormone” was published in the medical journal Psychoneuroendocrinology. This study involved two groups of people, one of which had been given oxytocin through a nasal spray. The study proved that oxytocin helped people overcome social rejection. However, a later study proved that receiving this hormone via nasal spray could lead to an increase in aggression. The best way to get anything is usually the natural way — in this case, by cuddling.

    How Does Cuddling Work?

    If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, cuddling will not only release oxytocin to help you feel better, it will also connect you to another human being, which is so important. One of the biggest challenges in treating people who battle depression and anxiety is isolation. It is the natural side effect of these diseases. When somone has an anxiety disorder or is depressed, the last thing they want to do is reach out for help, even though they know they need to. In fact, psychologists will tell you one of the telling signs that a loved one is depressed is how much they are isolating themselves. This can lead to wanting to sleep alone (they may say they are too tired, sore, have a headache, or their partner’s snoring is too loud). If you are depressed or have anxiety, do not get into the habit of sleeping alone. If you are not ready to talk to your partner about it, just tell them you are going through something and cuddling at night will help. Chances are they have already noticed something isn’t right and will be happy to be able to do something to help.

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      If you suspect your partner is dealing with depression and anxiety, they may say they just want to be alone, but the benefits of being held by someone who loves them outweigh the short-lived irritation they may express at your insistence. Cuddle up to your partner and hold them. You don’t even have to say anything — sometimes the act of cuddling can be all they need at this time.

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      What if You Live Alone?

      Cuddling will be a little harder for those who live alone. One of the best solutions to this is getting a pet. If you aren’t allergic to dog or cat hair, owning a pet has several benefits — especially for those who suffer from depression and anxiety. If you aren’t sure, ask your therapist about it and, unless you are an exception to the rule, it is guaranteed they will recommend a pet. Not only will they cuddle with you, they will give you unconditional love and a reason to get up in the morning. If you cannot own a pet for any reason, consider talking to a friend about borrowing theirs. You could take a dog for a walk each day and spend time petting and cuddling a bit with it afterwards or go to a friend’s house to spend some quality time with their cat so it doesn’t get too lonely while your friend is at work.

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        Another way to get more physical touch into your life is to talk to your close family and friends about what you are going through. This is a hard thing for anyone battling depression and anxiety to do, but opening up about it and asking for a hug will help. The act of hugging will also release oxtytocin. However, if you really aren’t at a place where you feel that you can open up to the people in your life, you can try telling your loved ones that you don’t think you hug them enough, that life is short and you would wish you’d hugged them more if anything ever happened. Institute a hugging policy with your loved ones and you will be able to hug them each time you part ways. Some people just aren’t “huggers,” but for the most part, your loved ones will appreciate the hugs.

        Featured photo credit: Bartashevich Karyna via shutterstock.com

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        Last Updated on February 11, 2021

        The 20 Most Creative Instagram Accounts That Will Inspire You

        The 20 Most Creative Instagram Accounts That Will Inspire You

        Instagram allows you to see exactly what inspires people and how creativity is drawn from their everyday life. We use Instagram to capture what makes us smile, what brings joy to our life, and what we are passionate about, and the accounts listed below are sure to inspire you in turn.

        Here are our 20 top creative Instagram accounts that you should be following today.

        1. Humans Of New York

        Brandon Stanton walks the streets of New York City taking street photography, and he gets his subjects to open up about life details that even many family members may not know about them. It makes you smile and connect with the images at a new level.

         2.  Paris in Four Months

        Carin Olsson moved to Paris and is documenting every part of her experience, from the macaroons to the Eiffel Tower with all of its shimmering lights. If you want to go to Paris but can’t get there today, Carin will take you.

        3. Civilized Caveman Cooking

        George Bryant offers up more than his love for cooking Paleo cuisine as he shares more about life, joy, and happiness. His coined hashtag is #hugsandbacon.

        4. Andrew Knapp

        Andrew has taken the world by storm with his adorable version of Where’s Waldo? His version is Find Momo, and stars his border collie.

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        5. Idafrosk

        Ida Skivenes has developed a knack for food art. From the world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Strawberry Fields Forever, she has recreated it all with food.

        6. GrandmaBetty33

        Grandma Betty is fighting cancer and is inspiring others to smile and be happy in life. She brings a smile to your face instantly and is like having your grandma right beside you.

        7. Maya_on_the_Move

        Tania Ahsan captures the world of her cute bulldog, Maya, on her adventures in New York. Maya makes appearances that will make you smile, laugh, and inspire you to go out and create something special.

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        8. Leoleoparis

        Leo captures the life on the streets of Paris. Most of his work is done in black and white, offering that iconic Parisian look.

        9. Jacob Santiago

        Jacob Santiago creates stunning, vibrant images around New York City, showcasing the architecture and streets. I’m sure you haven’t seen the streets of NYC like this before.

        10. Julie’s Kitchen

        Julie Lee showcases how everyday produce can create colorful art designs. At first glance, you think it is just a design; then, a second take illustrates that it is really fruits and vegetables.

        11. iloveplaymo

        iloveplaymo brings together photography and Playmobil toys in action. The images are up to date with current world events and everyday life.

        12. “Red” Hong Yi

        Red Hong Yi loves to paint without a paintbrush. Her style uses daily items to create lovely images.

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        13. Alexis Diaz

        A breathtaking artist from Puerto Rico who loves to paint murals. Alexis’s work is featured all over the world.

        14. Murad Osmann

        Murad Osmann is a music video producer, but his claim to fame on Instagram has been his photographs with his girlfriend leading him by her hand.

        15. Simone Bramate

        Simone Bramate is a storyteller who just so happens to take delightful photos as well.

        16. Willie Kessel

        Willie Kessel brings beach life right to your smartphone. Amazing surf and lifestyle images that take your mind off of all of the work and stress in your life.

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        17. Nick Ulivieri

        Nick Ulivieri is a talented photographer who loves to capture the windy city of Chicago and skies, especially during storms. His images are gorgeous and make you realize how wonderful life really is.

        18. Jo Jerry

        Jo Jerry’s landscape photos around Santorini, Greece, make you want to book a flight immediately. The bright colors and simplicity in the images make his photos stand out from the rest.

        19. GoPro

        GoPro uses fan-sourced images on their account that are all captured with a GoPro. Creativity to the max is used in these images and range from the grocery store to incredible surf.

        20. Vin Farrell

        Vin Farrell is a creative who works on the agency side for large clients and has a knack for photography. His iPhone captures amazing aerial images around NYC and the world.

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