Couple Hugging.
National Hug Day – Why Is It Important?
By Ariel Kruemcke, M.Ed., LPC

National Hug Day – Whether you are someone who really enjoys hugs or cringes at the thought, there is actual science to prove how hugs lead to happiness. The hormone oxytocin is behind all of it. When we hug someone, this hormone is released and that leads to positive feelings such as happiness.

Now if you move away from the science behind it, hugs are a great way to build connection. Our whole goal is to find connection; it is a basic need of human beings. If you can remember the last time you hugged someone, how did that action affect the relationship between you and that person? Not everyone is comfortable with physical touch, but the more hugs a person receives, the more comfortable they are with them and typically the more connected they feel to others.

Back to oxytocin, there are also physical benefits that our body receives from having this hormone released. When we hug someone, there can be an impact on our heart rate and the feeling of physical tension being reduced. Stress can lead to heart problems and other health issues over time. Basically, hugs can be good medicine for stress.

Giving hugs to yourself can also be a good practice to reduce stress and create self-love. If you are someone who shies away from hugs, then try giving self-hugs and work your way up to hugs with others. You may start to see the positive impact that hugs can have on you if you take the time to notice it.

Go and give as many hugs as you can today!

Bee on a daisy.
Seeking Happiness
By Tia Parsley, LPC, LCDC

Seeking Happiness – I often hear my clients say their goal is to find happiness, and I always question what this really means to them. It seems many of us seek this happiness, and yet struggle with being able to actually define it. Is happiness finding that special someone, finally getting that promotion, having a long sought after baby, graduation, reaching a financial milestone? Unfortunately, it is not.

Happiness is not a goal to be achieved, and is actually a state of being. It is situational, and like all emotions, it is temporary. Happiness entails positive feelings such as contentment, joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction. What brings each individual happiness is different and can even change with time.

Focusing on building a “happy life” consists of surrounding yourself with what is meaningful to you, positive people, learning to appreciate what you have and what you are given, letting go of things not in your control, and doing things that matter to you.

Not every day can be butterflies and daisies, and learning to accept things just as they are is the real key. Please don’t hear me say we shouldn’t have goals we are working towards. However, accepting where we are knowing we are working towards something important and meaningful to us is what I am talking about.

So, what do you need to do to bring more meaning to your life? How can you be more grateful, and appreciate the things you already have? What brings you joy? What truly fulfills your heart? What can you do to shift focus on what is in your control and accept the so many things that are not?

Sea, oceans away.
Human Trafficking Awareness
By Jessica Shrieve MA, LPC

Human Trafficking Awareness – Human Trafficking is something that can be so scary and unimaginable that it never seems it could happen to anyone in your family, but millions of people are involved in human trafficking every single day. Those involved in Human Trafficking will typically target those who are more vulnerable and susceptible to trusting strangers who appear to care for them. This makes kids and teens with unlimited and unmonitored access to the internet significantly more vulnerable to falling into the hands of a trafficker.

The best defense against this scary reality is working to create an open and communicative relationship with your children. Creating an environment where kids and teens are comfortable talking about difficult topics and sharing what is going on in their lives on a daily basis is vital. It can be difficult to reach this place in your relationship if there have been rough patches or prior issues creating difficulty communicating between the parent and child. If you or someone you know are struggling in the relationship with your children please reach out and we would be happy to help you work towards an environment that can help your family in avoiding the scary reality of human trafficking.