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3 Reasons Why You Should Give a Hug to Anyone and EVERYONE

3 Reasons Why You Should Give a Hug to Anyone and EVERYONE

I’m taking part in a Kindness Challenge and I’m out to give hugs.

It’s crazy, it’s challenging, it’s fun, and it’s just simply AWESOME.

I’ve been hugging anyone and everyone. I’ve been writing thank-you notes to people I appreciate. I’ve been able to make people smile and I know I’ve been making a difference in the lives of others.

This is what life is about!

Over the past few days as I’ve been taking part in the challenge, I’ve come to learn just how powerful a simple hug can actually be. We often feel its inappropriate to give a hug, but you know what, I gave a bank teller a bit of a hug the other day!

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The bank teller helped me for about 20 minutes while I cancelled my credit card insurance (another LifeHack tip, DON’T get credit card insurance). After the painstakingly long process and discovering the fact that I will no longer have to pay a premium each month, I simply went around the teller’s desk and gave her a nice, big, juicy hug.

SHE LOVED IT!

It’s such a simple but powerful form of human touch.

There are so many benefits of hugging. Let me outline the 3 most important reasons you should hug anyone and everyone in countdown order.

3)   Hugging Reduces Illness

Hugging is one of the best methods of easing depression. Not only that, it reduces the risk of heart disease, relieves stress and can make you feel calmer.

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Studies have shown that hugging can lead to lower blood pressure, and reduces the risk of heart disease. When we hug someone, a hormone called oxytocin is released (otherwise known as the ‘love hormone’!). This helps to reduce stress and makes us feel calmer.

Ultimately, if you’re feeling down, stressed or anxious, go give someone a hug and feel the instant change in your mood!

2)   Hugging Deepens Your Relationships

When you think of people who have hugged you, how do you feel about them?

I’m sure you feel pretty good!

Hugging releases a suite of hormones including oxytocin (as above), serotonin, and dopamine that lead to feelings of happiness and love. What else do you need to feel good when all you need to do is simply hug someone?

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Not only do you make yourself feel good, but also you are making the other person release all the same hormones of happiness.

Hugging builds trust and can deepen your relationship. It shows that you care and it provides comfort for the other person.

1)    Hugging Can Change the World

A hug could be the exact thing that someone needs right now. Without even knowing it, you could be changing the life of that person.

They may have had the worst day possible, and you have been the angel that lights up their day.

You can change the day, the week, the month or the life of another person simply by giving him or her a hug.

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When I gave the bank teller a spontaneous hug out of the blue, her face lit up in a huge smile and I’m sure it made her day. Maybe she went home and told her family about it and she may have even had the courage to give someone else a spontaneous hug. Hugging pays forward.

What’s the best part about it? Hugs are free and they can be given anytime.

Who have you hugged today?

Featured photo credit:  A happy couple in love via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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