Thursday, February 9, 2012

Caution! Valentine's Day Approacing

For people who have been separated, divorced, or bereaved, Valentine's Day can be a difficult 'holiday' to navigate.  Unlike the winter holidays, where we might be surrounded by friends and family, Valentine's Day can be lonely for those who have lost a loved one.  It is easy to form the impression that the rest of the world is paired off, and this can lead to an acute awareness of aloneness.  
Added to that, our neurochemistry and biology conspire to move us toward bonding with a special someone, and that chemical cocktail creates a resistance to allowing bonds to break.  One of the key hormones that affects feelings of bondedness, and belonging, is oxytocin.  Interestingly, studies show that a single touch...think pat on the arm.... can increase oxytocin levels, and hugs or massage can have significant effects on the amount of connectedness we experience.  
Perhaps Valentine's Day could become a day for people to hug more!

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