The Affection Connection: 14 Ways Good Relationships Boost Health

Cleveland Clinic tips on how friends and family can enhance mood, heart health and happiness (15 Photos)

Cleveland Clinic/360-5.com on Sep 21, 2012 at 11:49PM

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The Affection Connection: 14 Ways Good Relationships Boost Health

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Want to feel calmer and all-around happier? Make a point to gather with your female friends on a regular basis. A landmark UCLA study in 2000 showed that when women gather with other women (and with children), they release more oxytocin, the mother-love hormone associated with breast-feeding, which has a marked calming effect. The researchers called this response “tend and befriend.” “It’s clear from maternal child data that when humans have needs (e.g., touch, feeding) and those needs are consistently met, the child feels secure and forms a belief that ‘I am cared for and my needs will be met,’” says Tom Gigliotti, MA, a holistic mind-body coach at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine. “This response releases chemicals, including oxytocin, that lead to a feeling of well-being. In those ways, whenever we have needs for ‘intimacy’ that are consistently met, we will experience similar feelings from childhood.”

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