Happy Valentine's Day! I'm wishing you a day where you feel loved.
Whether you are coupled up or flying stag this year, you can reap the benefits of a little affection in your day.
Did you know? Hugging triggers the release of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter known as the "feel good" hormone.
I love the image of a child's and parent's brains lighting up when exchanging this form of affection; what a powerful visual! Serotonin helps us feel happy, calm, and even confident, which is why many antidepressants are marketed to increase the production of serotonin. Conversely, low levels may cause depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.
While you should always follow your Physician's advice regarding prescribed medications, it can't hurt to boost your serotonin production with hugs. Set a goal to hug a loved one each day. What a fun way to feel accomplished. Not a hugger? It doesn't come naturally to all, and that's ok. Hugging your pet on a regular basis can also stimulate the release of serotonin and may be something you feel more comfortable with.
Dedicating a few minutes each day to cuddle with them may help you maintain a positive mental balance, and Fido certainly won't mind, either!
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– Keeley Mezzancello, MS, RD, LDN, CHWC
Health Advisor, Registered Dietitian | Email Keeley