If you’re feeling sad, there’s probably one thing you’re looking for . . . RELIEF!In other words, you want to be happy again. What if I told you that snuggling has the potential to lift your spirit of heaviness?
During a difficult and busy season of my life, I found myself battling the blues. Day after day it lingered and I desperately wanted to find some relief. Then, late one evening, I was slumped in a chair, head down, with tears streaming down my face. My dog was right there at my feet and gently reached up to lick my tears. She then laid her head on my lap as if to say, “I’m here for you, wanna cuddle?” Of course I obliged and almost immediately felt relief from my sadness.
Happiness is found in many places, and for many people that place is in the company of their beloved dogs. Dogs always seem willing and ready to share their healing hugs, or to lend a listening ear.
Of course finding relief from sadness is not reserved only for our pets. Intimacy with others is one of the essential elements to make human beings happier, but we don’t often take enough time to sit and relax with those we love.
What if we took time to stop, sit, and snuggle more often? How would that affect our moods and outlook on life? Let’s consider how showing affection to our human companions (family and friends) and our pets can enhance our life.
Snuggling with our dogs (or any beloved pet)
“There’s no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” —Ben Williams
Be forewarned, when coming into contact with a dog, you might catch some happy hormones! We certainly feel better when surrounded by our canine companions, but what’s actually going on behind the scenes? The human-canine bond seems linked to a “feel good” hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is released in both humans and dogs when they interact, while playing, snuggling, walking together, or simply gazing in each other’s eyes. It’s also called the “bonding hormone,” “love hormone”, “happy hormone,” and “cuddle chemical.” It supports cooperation, social bonding, and feelings of wellness, happiness, calm, affection, and trust.
Imagine that! Those of us who live with dogs have access 24/7 to this “happy hormone!” And yet we often get so caught up in our “to do” lists, work, even social media that we don’t take enough time to just sit with our beloved dogs and soak in their affection and healing hugs. Honestly, it’s free therapy, and dogs are some of the best psychiatrist in the world!
Each time I hug my dogs I feel more hopeful, happier, and healthier!
Feeling blue? Call your dog. Seriously! Stop what you’re doing, sit and snuggle with your dog. Let his pure unbridled passion and enthusiasm for life fill your heart with joy!
If you don’t have a dog to hold, try visiting or volunteering at a shelter. I’m sure they’d be thrilled to have some extra hands to help care for, walk, and love on the dogs and cats. Who knows, you may even end up adopting one. Now that would be a happy ending for all!
Cuddling with our Human Companions
Meaningful touch is one of the essential elements to make human beings happier. Studies have shown that the lack of human touch is a large factor in causing depression. There are many surprising benefits of cuddling. It’s good for your body and soul! Some of those benefits include the release of a feel-good hormone (Oxycontin, mentioned above), boosting the immune system, relieving pain, reducing social anxiety, better sleep, improving the mother-child bond, and more (Read more:10 Incredible Benefits of Cuddling That Will Make You Want to Cuddle Now).
“When I pick up one of my children and cuddle them, all the strain and stress of life temporarily disappears. There is nothing more wonderful than motherhood and no-one will ever love you as much as a small child.” Nicola Horlick
Are you feeling sad today?
Take time out from the busyness of life, stop, sit, and snuggle . . . whether that be with your precious pet, or with a member of your beloved human family. Leo Buscaglia writes—
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
God gave us affection and meaningful touch as a gift, to benefit our body and soul. That said, we must also keep in mind that this gift must be used respectfully . . . not everyone likes or wants to be touched. Well, except my dogs. If they had it their way, they’d be snuggled in my lap 24/7 LOL!
Check out my other dog lovers blog, Pawz and Pray, for more inspirational doggie devotionals!
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Pawz & Pray (2nd edition): Finding Joy in the Journey with God, Family, and my Furry Friends!
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