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October 2, 2011 / Man in the Mirror

Improve Your Mood with a Mind Trick

Hugging lowers blood pressure, boosts immunity, and releases feel-good hormones such as oxytocin and serotonin, writes Marci Shimoff in her new book “Love for No Reason.” But when things get crazy at work, you can’t exactly go around squeezing your stressed-out coworkers. To get the same benefit, simply visualize yourself hugging the next five people you encounter. “When we imagine doing something, the same centers in the brain are activated as when we physically do the action. In imagined hugs, your brain’s reward centers are busy distributing feel-good chemistry to your cells so you can enjoy the same juicy feeling in your cells that you’d get from actually hugging the person.” Go ahead; dream up a clinch or two.


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