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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 November 3, 2020

        What Is FOMO (And How to Get Over It and Move on)

        What Is FOMO (And How to Get Over It and Move on)

        What is FOMO, exactly?

        Are you unable to say “no” to a party invitation, even if you have work to do? Do you feel like an outsider if you don’t see the hottest Hollywood movie everyone is talking about? Do you feel that you have to buy the latest and hottest “making money online” information product because everyone else is doing so?

        If you have been in these or similar situations before, you have just experienced FOMO. Social networking has exacerbated this problem and made it something we now have to actively combat.

        In this article, we’ll look into what FOMO is and how to get over it.

        What Is FOMO?

        I learned about FOMO by reading a book Find Your Focus Zone by Lucy Jo Palladino. In that book, she described FOMO with an everyday example: Have you ever felt that you had to pick up the cell phone right away when it rings?

        The longer the phone rings, the more and more you experience the fear of missing out (FOMO). You feel that there is something important you are about to miss if you don’t pick up the phone immediately.

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        The most important element in FOMO is the word “fear,” It makes us to do things even when we necessarily don’t want to. It’s logic versus emotion: When a compelling option is presented to us, we feel like an outsider if we say “no” to that. We may even fear that we’ll miss the opportunity of a lifetime if we say “no.”

        At the same time, we know that we probably shouldn’t say “yes” because we may be spreading ourselves too thin. Also, there are going to be plenty of other opportunities out there, so missing this one probably won’t make a difference after all.

        Symptoms of FOMO

        When you are a victim of the fear of missing out, you are going to experience at least one of the following:

        Procrastinating — Being Unfocused and Stressed

        It’s obvious that when the temptation to say “yes” to a request is too big, you accept yet another task or project.

        In practice, you are spreading yourself too thin. Not only are you stressed out by too many activities in your life, but it increases the likelihood for procrastination. This is because you cannot keep up with your schedule and you start finding excuses for not doing something you promised.

        Losing Money

        Sometimes you don’t want to feel like being an outsider in a group by making different decisions than the rest of the people.

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        For example, I have been in internet marketing circles for a couple of years, and every time there is a big product launch coming, there is a lot of buzz around it.

        Since this “next shiny object” is probably going to make you rich and famous overnight, you don’t want to miss out. If you do, others are going to be rich and famous, not you.

        Unfortunately, in many situations like these, nothing groundbreaking is going to happen after all (no fame, no money, just hard work). It is yet another product launch, which is going to waste your money if FOMO gets a hold on you.

        Feeling Overwhelmed

        Being overwhelmed is one of the symptoms of fear of missing out. When you are unable to say “no,” feeling overwhelmed is destined to happen at some point.

        There is just too much going on at the same time, and you are unable to focus on anything properly.

        How to Get Over FOMO

        There are certain things you can do when you experience FOMO.[1]

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        What Does FOMO Mean and How Do I Deal With It?

           

          1. Be Aware of It

          The first thing is to be aware of the feeling. Stop for a moment and acknowledge when you are having a feeling of FOMO.

          Understand that this is a natural (although undesirable) way of reacting in a certain situation. We all wish we could say “yes” all the time, but we’re only human.

          2. Be Honest With Yourself and Others

          Honesty is one of the best ways to deal with the situation.

          First, you have to be honest to yourself: If you say “yes,” you have to understand that you may be spreading yourself too thin.

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          Second, it is also important to be honest with others, too. They have to be aware that you may not be 100% committed to their requests if you have plenty of action going on at the same time.

          3. Make a Quick Decision Regarding the Situation

          One of the worst things you can do is be on the fence. As long as something is left undecided, it is using your brain capacity for nothing.

          That’s why it is imperative to say “no” to an opportunity as quickly as possible if you feel you are unable to commit to it 100%.

          When you say “no,” you may even regret your decision at first. On the other hand, if you are meant to experience the opportunity at all, it will come available to you at a later time.

          4. Change Your Perspective

          Lastly, one step in defeating the FOMO is to see if a situation or event supports your short or long term goals.If it doesn’t, it’s likely better for you to get off social media sites that can increase FOMO and say no. Instead, focus on everything you have to be grateful for in life at this moment. Try spending time with friends and family and improve the important relationships in your life. These are the things that you’ll really regret missing out on and what will ultimately improve your life satisfaction.

          The Bottom Line

          FOMO can lead you to distraction and can push you to do things you really don’t care about. However, there is a way to overcome the fear. Once you learn to handle it, you will feel better and will feel ready to take on more things that add genuine fulfillment to your life.

          More on the Fear of Missing Out

          Featured photo credit: Erik Lucatero via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Very Well Mind: How to Deal With FOMO in Your Life

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