Boost Your Immune System with Hugs
Hugs may have healing properties (beyond making you feel warm and fuzzy). This flu season add a hug a day to your regimen--it may help lessen your cold symptoms, according to one study.
Hugs may have healing properties (beyond making you feel warm and fuzzy). This flu season add a hug a day to your regimen--it may help lessen your symptoms should you fall ill, according to one study.
The find was published in Psychological Science and highlighted in Carnegie Mellon University's news by Shilo Rea. Researchers wanted to assess what social support and hugs had on illness. The study singled-out participants that may be more susceptible to a cold's symptoms because of their heightened level of stress in their lives.
The team took 404 adult participants and assessed their perceived level of social support through a questionnaire. Every evening for two weeks, researchers would call participants to inquire about any conflicts in their lives in order to assess their level of stress and how many hugs they received to measure social support. Participants were then intentionally exposed to the common cold and put in quarantine to monitor their symptoms.
The results showed that social support did dictate how bad the symptoms progressed. Those that had a daily helping of hugs had less severe symptoms. Overall, it helped if participants had a great perception of social support and hugs whether or not they were under a great deal of stress. The led by Sheldon Cohen, Professor of Psychology at the Robert E. Doherty University, noted in a press release:
"This suggests that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress. The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy."
One other study, published back in 2010 in the journal of Developmental Review, showed that there was a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure with participants who received massage therapy. Researchers also reported a boost in their immune systems, increasing their “natural killer cells,” as well as decreasing their cortisol levels (a hormone associated with stress).
It's possible that a dose of hugs may be a more welcome immune booster during the cold and flu season. So, instead of running out to buy a pack of vitamin C, consider giving a friend or loved one a hug. But make sure you're not in a state to pass on any infections in the process.
Read more at Carnegie Mellon University News
Photo Credit: Qihui/Flickr
Don't underestimate the power of play when it comes to problem-solving.
- As we get older, the work we consistently do builds "rivers of thinking." These give us a rich knowledge of a certain kind of area.
- The problem with this, however, is that as those patterns get deeper, we get locked into them. When this happens it becomes a challenge to think differently — to break from the past and generate new ideas.
- How do we get out of this rut? One way is to bring play and game mechanics into workshops. When we approach problem-solving from a perspective of fun, we lose our fear of failure, allowing us to think boldly and overcome built patterns.
Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
- Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
- This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
- The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
The surprising results come from a new GLAAD survey.
- The survey found that 18- to 34-year-old non-LGBTQ Americans reported feeling less comfortable around LGBTQ people in a variety of hypothetical situations.
- The attitudes of older non-LGBTQ Americans have remained basically constant over the past few years.
- Overall, about 80 percent of Americans support equal rights for LGBTQ people.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.