I’ve been thinking a lot recently about this little blog of mine, and the sort of things that I want to be writing about.
One of the main ideas behind the blog when I first started it was to investigate ways what we can really enjoy life, and make it as glorious as possible! So I’m starting a series of posts which will all have one little trick in them that should help to make life better, easier, happier.
I’m hoping to bring in some psychological background to the tips where I can, but some will likely just be based on experience.
So, to start off, this week I bring you one little trick to start your day feeling happy!
Make time for a cuddle first thing!
I know, I know, when you’ve been forced out of bed on a cold morning to go calm a screaming baby, or you’ve been (quite literally) dragged from your bed by your co-sleeping toddler who is now demanding milk (can you tell that’s how most of my mornings start?!), then you might not be feeling too cuddly.
If you’re anything like me what you really want to do is head straight to the kitchen for a giant cup of caffeine-y goodness.
But taking a minute to grab your little one for a huge cuddle first will do wonders for both of you.
See, cuddling has been shown to increase the levels of oxytocin in the blood which in turn leads to us feeling more relaxed, more empathetic and more bonded to the person we’re hugging. Research has shown that a good 20 second hug can leave our oxytocin levels significantly raised for about an hour
So if mornings with your kids are normally rushed and stressful, then taking the time to give them a huge, loving hug could really help to make things a bit happier. It’ll release that lovely oxytocin which will take the edge off that stressed-out feeling. For bonus feel-good points you can take a minute to gaze into their sleepy eyes, which releases even more oxytocin, and makes you feel even more bonded to them, and who can feel sad when they’re full of love for their kids?
It’s got to be worth a try right?
And if you don’t have little kids at home, the same thing applies for all sorts of physical contact. So go and sneak a little cuddle with your teenager before they’re fully awake enough to stop you! Grab your partner for a cuddle under the covers before you have to get up and face the day. A few minutes snuggling your dog or stroking your cat will have the same effect too.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading about oxytocin while writing this post, and it’s just amazing! There is a lot of interesting research being done into this ‘love hormone’, how we can get more of it and how it affects us and our behaviour. So stay tuned for more posts featuring oxytocin around here, I have a few ideas for posts on how we can make the most of this lovely hormone!