Hugs and smiles are the two miracle medicines that can relieve many physical and emotional problems. Did you know researchers have discovered that hugging can help you live longer, protect against illness, cure depression and stress, strengthen family relationships and even help you sleep better? Dr. Mark Stibich says that smiling stimulates the immune system, increases positive affect, lowers stress, and lowers blood pressure.
As I’ve been reflecting the last couple weeks on my friend Tony Hostetler’s legacy, one of the nine things I learned from Tony is to smile and hug often. He always found something to smile about in every situation. He was quick to give out hugs to anyone who looked willing to receive one.
Have you hugged anyone yet today? Researchers have shown that when a person is touched, the amount of hemoglobin in their blood increases significantly. Hemoglobin is the part of the blood that carries vital supplies of oxygen to all organs of the body, including the heart and brain. An increase in hemoglobin tones up the whole body, helps prevent disease and speeds recovery from illness.
Have you smiled at anyone today? You may say, “I’m just not the hugging type.” Okay, but a genuine smile (not a feigned smile) can release endorphins in your body. Endorphins are the “big daddies of the happiness chemicals.” Endorphins increase happiness, let people push through pain, decrease hunger and increase the immune response. While there are over twenty different kinds of endorphins and some are released through other important activities like exercise, endorphins definitely help to start and keep the party going in your body.
Make a decision today. Hug your spouse, your children, friends, co-workers and relatives. Smile at your neighbor, the barista at Starbucks, the driver who cut you off in traffic, your customers or clients, or at a complete stranger. It’s a marvelous way to improve the quality of your life. And, you most likely will improve the quality of someone else’s life too! Everyone wins!
I recently read, “The best gift you can give is a hug (or a smile): one size fits all and no one ever minds if you return it.”
QUESTION: Who will you give an intentional hug or smile to today? Please inspire us by sharing your response in the comment section below.