For the month of April I’m blogging alphabetically about quick, easy, and practical ways to relieve stress. To see the other posts in this series, click here.
Did you know that cuddling releases oxytocin? If you don’t know about oxytocin, you should look it up. Our bodies are amazing! Among other things, oxytocin evokes feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security. Research has shown that oxytocin can decrease anxiety and protect against stress! And cuddling releases oxytocin! It seems to me that means cuddling can reduce stress! Sweet!
It seems so easy.
But it hasn’t been for me.
I’ve been trying to cuddle my kids and my husband more leading up to writing this post. I wanted to offer some anecdotal evidence that cuddling can actually reduce stress.
If you asked me, I’d say I really like to cuddle, so I thought this would be super easy.
The problems isn’t so much with cuddling itself, but sitting there feeling like I’m doing nothing. Moments after I sit down and snuggle in, my mind starts racing with all the things I “should” be doing instead. Then, I cut the snuggle session short and get back to my never ending to do list.
So, I can’t tell you yet if cuddling produces a noticeable difference in stress levels. What I can tell you is that I need to create time to cuddle. Then, once I’ve created that time, I need to be content in my cuddling – just enjoy the moment. Clear my mind. Allow myself freedom from my to-do list long enough to just cuddle and enjoy myself.
So that’s my new goal. Every day, I want to create some time to cuddle. I want to clear my mind and be content in the moment. And, hopefully, my body will use all these wonderful “C” words as an opportunity to release some oxytocin and drown out my stress.