Lower your blood pressure the fun and easy way
I am always looking for ways to improve my heart health because I am a heart attack survivor.
A startling statistic I learned after my heart attack was just how much stress plays a role in one’s health. It turns out that stress is the underlying cause of anywhere between 70 – 90% of doctor’s visits. It can even be a killer!
My blood pressure is a good barometer of my stress. And when I heard about this technique to lower it, I thought wow! Why wouldn’t I want to do this as many times as possible?
What is it?
It is that simple thing called a hug. But it has to be a good hug. One that lasts at least 20 secs. Time it out – it’s definitely not a casual hug. It is a thoughtful, heart felt hug with someone you care about.
Check out what I learned.
Why does hugging do such a good job?
It releases oxytocin – the cuddle hormone. And when that happens, cortisol (the major stress hormone) decreases. So does inflammation.
So many of us have been touch deprived during the pandemic. It is understandable that our well-being can suffer. Even in normal times, the need for touch is associated with:
- more stress,
- greater anxiety, and loneliness
- lower-quality sleep;
- reduced satisfaction and closeness in romantic relationships.
With CoVid restrictions isolating us even more, it makes sense why so many are suffering. But we do have touch as a very effective remedy. Research has shown affectionate interaction results in even greater benefits when we are touch deprived. In fact, hugging has even been shown to boost immunity from upper respiratory infections!
So rather than looking to apples, we may need to start saying “Four good hugs a day, will keep the doctor away”. Have fun putting that into practice!
In case you think I’m just making this up, be sure to check out some of the references I have listed below.