20 sec. Hugs are Better Hugs (or, It’s Your Oxytocin)

Filed under: Health, Life Coaching, Transformational Tools | Tags: , Hug, hugs, joy, , love, oxytocin, , relationship, relationships | July 13th, 2011

Happy Hug Day (61) You can create a deep connection with a long hug. Of course. You know that. What you might not know? The amount of time matters. We're not talking about the half-second hug-cum-chest-bump.  Or the 5 second clench-to-coax. No, indeed! Apparently, a loving embrace held for 20 seconds taps our sweet spot. The folks at The Shift Network say that 20 seconds is the "magic" length needed to release oxytocin in the body.

News organizations from the BBC to USA Today have reported on the University of North Carolina's discovery that a longer hug reduced cortisol (stress hormone) and increased oxytocin in the couples studied. Oxytocin is the "bonding hormone" the inspires the feeling of meaningful connection with others. This happy hormone is also linked to reducing blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. With whoever you are close to, try staying close longer with a 20 second hug. You may feel the difference. 

 

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Sources:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4131508.stm

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2003-03-09-hug-usat_x.htm

http://theshiftnetwork.com/tsn/main

How many chuckles = a chinup? (No joke!)

Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | July 12th, 2011

Growing evidence confirms suspicions that laughter is not only fun, but good for us!  WebMD reports that laughter and moderate exercise share a host of healthful effects. According to Dr. Lee Berk's research, appetite hormones behave the same way after a good giggle as they do after a few workout reps. In science-speak: leptin goes down and grehlin goes up. Berk's volunteers watched stressful videos and hilarious videos (in no particular order) while their hormones were monitored. The results show comedy may be good for more than a chuckle.

via blog.aliciadattner.com

Laugh-with-abandon_14-things-adults-can-learn-from-children Growing evidence confirms suspicions that laughter is not only fun, but good for us!  WebMD reports that laughter and moderate exercise share a host of healthful effects. According to Dr. Lee Berk's research, appetite hormones behave the same way after a good giggle as they do after a few workout reps. In science-speak: leptin goes down and grehlin goes up. Berk's volunteers watched stressful videos and hilarious videos (in no particular order) while their hormones were monitored. The results show comedy may be good for more than a chuckle.

Berk hopes his findings can assist patients who have lost their appetite. The elderly, handicapped, depressed and ill might benefit from repetitive laughter research. Overachievers may well enjoy a chortle during exercise for added benefit. Though a small study, Berk's work joins other science in supporting laughter as good medicine. More conclusive work may cause this writer to re-evaluate the association between 'cackles' and 'evil'. What can't hurt may heal!

Wanna come try laughter yoga with me?

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The original study

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You may have seen fastcompany.com's 2011 output of the 100 Most Creative People in Business back in May. That ridiculous photo of the many Conan's sure caught my attention. Though Conan O'Brien came in 8th place, the focus on his creative process is worth reiterating. Plus, he wrote a guide to creativity. Who doesn't like guides?

The man is a true professional who rides on the success of effective preparation. But key to his real success is the pressure-induced, improv decision-making that follows his good prep. "Prepare like crazy," says Conan. "But then just as you're heading out, half an hour beforehand, forget all of it. It's in your reptile brain. Go out but feel loose enough to grab opportunities as they come up."

Conan draws analogies between horse-racing, diamond-formation, cooking and surfing to the business of creative comedy. Somehow these topics have a few things in common: they are greatly impacted by the chance occurrence of the perfect elements, the presence of a ton of pressure, and the flexibility to go off course should the opportunity arise. Conan puts a lot of weight in the fun factor and maintaining a loose work environment to allow full freedom for mistakes and mishaps that may turn into the next best idea. Also, knowing what he can and cannot control has allowed Conan to tap further into his improvisation. His job is to set the tone, not to micro-manage his writers. Therefore, his tone is light and he considers the best and the worst to be on equally footing for funny material. The best material from Conan happens when he draws outside of the lines and the audience can tell that something organic is happening. Conan tells his colleagues that "the only way we can screw up is by not being bold enough." 

So what can we learn from Mr. O'Brien's guide about creativity in the business of comedy? 

1. "Creating a show is like playing the horses… No, wait-it's really like the making of a jewel." (i.e. The build up of pressure fosters a great production).

2. "Prepare like crazy so you can wing it." (i.e. Trust your 'reptile brain').

3. "Improvising is like surfing." (i.e. Be open to the whim of the current and ride out the opportunity to improvise).

4. "Creativity should be fun. Seriously." (i.e. Seriously fun).

5. " Fostering a collective comic sensibility is like cooking." (i.e. Get a rough idea, but don't overcook things with intense rehearsals because you need room to seize the moment for improv). 

6. Learn from other creative CEO's, and pep-talk your staff (i.e. Only try to control what you actually can, and create an environment where people are encouraged to be bold). 

Laughter Rx Gita Fendelman is a laughter yoga instructor and member of the Tucson Laughter Club. It's been seven years since she was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and four since she started practicing laughter yoga. Since she started laughing, she's ditched conventional medication for what she calls her "inner pharmacy" – laughter. It's all she needs to feel healthy.

Though Fendelman had been practicing Hatha yoga since 1971, her illness hindered her ability to do her traditional practice. "I heard of laughter yoga, and I figured I could still laugh," she said. She also remarked that laughter can improve many disorders aside from Parkinson's such as depression, chronic pain, sleep disorders, diabetes and arthritis. Fendelman insists that the only side effects are good ones – like when you just can't stop laughing.