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Amazing Things A Hug Does To Your Brain That You Never Expected

Amazing Things A Hug Does To Your Brain That You Never Expected

Who Doesn't Love A Hug?

Giving or receiving a hug is one of the best ways to feel better quickly, but have you ever stopped to wonder exactly how hugging works? Read on to discover the science of feeling better via the power of human touch.

Why Hugs Are Magic – What They Do To Your Brain

Let's take a closer look at what goes on inside your body when someone hugs you. When someone touches you, they activate pressure receptors within your skin. Known as Pacinian corpuscles, these receptors fire signals to your vagus nerve. This feels so good because the vagus nerve is an area within your brain that plays a vital role in regulating many of your body's key functions such as blood pressure. When you are hugged, your blood pressure drops as a result of this vagus nerve stimulation and this helps you feel calmer.

Dopamine is another important factor. When we are hugged, our brains release dopamine. Also known as ‘the pleasure hormone,' dopamine induces feelings of reward, safety and general satisfaction. Findings published in the journal ‘Developmental Review' suggest that hugging can boost ‘happy hormones' in the brain, lower blood pressure, and lessen feelings of stress. The positive effects of a hug can be immediate – within seconds of being touched in an affectionate way, the average person will begin to feel less stressed, according to a report published in ‘Scientific Reports.' Hugs also lower the amount of cortisol – also known as the ‘stress hormone' – released by the body.

So if you feel anxious, stressed or in need of a psychological boost then why not ask a loved one for a hug today? Both of you will benefit. So get hugging!

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on April 9, 2020

How To Trust Your Intuition When You’re Making a Decision

How To Trust Your Intuition When You’re Making a Decision

When you have an important decision to make, what is the first thing you do?

You want to know if your decision is right or wrong because, of course, you want to make the right choice. Do you go to friends hoping they will tell you? Do you agonize over it writing lists? Or have you ever tried to feel into the wisdom of your body? We all have the ability to read the body’s signs – inwards and out. But not everyone knows how to listen and trust your intuition.

You may have noticed two voices in your head arguing back and forth. They can get loud and confusing because they both seem concerned for your well-being.

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So which one is your inner knowing and which is simply resistant? You can tell through the simple exercise of slowing down, breathing deeply and tuning into your body. You will notice very real signs.

Everyone can tune into their intuition with the simple exercise outlined below. If you want to know how to trust your intuition, read on.

The Golden Rule

A rising, light and expansive feeling in your heart is a yes. A sinking, contracting and heavy feeling in your gut is a maybe or a no, which are both a no. The best way to access these feelings is by slowing down with a deep breath.

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Access Your Inner Guidance

Think of a simple decision you have to make that has two sides to it. Forgetting your background stories, take each at a time and sort of role play as you alternate each option in your mind.

Don’t go into the details of how you’ll get there or how a certain person might feel about it. Drop the stories and worries around it, simply be with one option, as though it is your choice. Remember, you can always pick up your concerns again right afterwards, if you want!

Bring option A into your mind like you are already there. It doesn’t have to be super specific, just imagine it is the direction you take. Start with the breath because it is clearing, it resets your nervous system and brings you to be completely present. Begin with your long, deep breath, exhaling all the way out.

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As you sit there and think of option A, notice what is happening in your body. What sensations are there, and where? Do you feel a buzzing in a limb or a prickling sensation? Maybe butterflies in your stomach? Sit with it, not judging it. Simply take note of what your body is telling you. If it is light and expansive then you have a good option. Now, take another breath to clear out option A.

Next you will probably notice feelings in different parts of your body as you focus on option B. Again, drop the fear and doubt you might have around it. Let yourself imagine (just for now) that this is what you’re choosing. Your breath is so important in this because it slows you down and connects you with your inner guidance. Give yourself that few extra seconds to deepen your breath. It will help you feel incredibly clear.

Become curious about the feelings in your body and how they are different from the last option. What do they mean? The answer is always in the weight of them. If they rise and feel light, you have your yes. The option that feels shrouded, heavier, contracted and sinking deeper in your stomach is the warning. It sounds simplistic, because it is.

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Your body has a profound and simple wisdom. When you let go of old expectations and open up to myriad possibilities, you can easily feel the best avenue to take simply by following what feels best. This is an important key in manifestation because how you feel at the start of any endeavor is generally how it will play out. So the lighter you feel about a situation, the happier it will be.

The Bottom Line

A special thing about intuition is that it never explains, it simply points the way. It may not always seem logical, but if it feels best then it will lead you to your success.

Remember, you need not to explain yourself either. Your internal yes will always be with you. The more you practice this and follow your internal yes, the stronger it will become and the more confidence you will gain! Soon you will notice it to be second nature, and the answer will come to you in a heart beat.

How have you connected to your intuition? We would love to hear how this exercise works for you. Where did you feel the yes or the no in your body? 

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Featured photo credit: Adrià García Sarceda via unsplash.com

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