There are few times in life when we feel inspired. I mean really inspired. Inspired enough to make a life change, habit change, relationship change or take the path less often traveled. Often, we become so wrapped up in life we forget about the small details. Can something as simple as a hug make all the difference to your health, happiness and wellbeing?
Let’s be honest, we all get caught up in the latest exercise program or juice cleanse. We count the calories and try to keep up to date with of all of the top self-care techniques. I am definitely guilty of becoming stuck in these details.
Do you try and exercise most days of the week? Are you constantly trying to resist life’s daily temptations here in Palma. Who does not love gelato?! While these things are very important to leading a healthy lifestyle, less obvious aspects, need just as much attention. There are so many other things to consider regarding our health and wellness that truely complete us as individuals.
A True Friendship
One chilly winter night in Santa Catalina this thought became crystal clear. I was out with the Nourish Crew for Simple Smart Food Bar’s 1st birthday party. It was so lovely to spend some time around other, likeminded individuals. When the party was about to end, Violetta and Pippa, our lovely founders of Nourish the Guide asked me if I wanted to join them for a late dinner at Spot. Of course, we ordered salad and some nourishing greens. But the green salad is not what inspired me. The wine was delicious but wasn’t inspiring. As I sat next to these two lovely souls, I was so warmed by one of the most real and live friendships that I have ever encountered.
A Nourishing Guide
Pippa and I had met and spent some time together previously but this was the first time that i had met Violetta. Pippa knew that Violetta desperately needed sustenance. Without asking, she ordered her favorite items on the menu whilst Violetta shared the heartwarming story of meeting Pippa and their friendship together. Like I said, there are few times in life when you can be really inspired. I watched them interact so innately and describe a friendship that has lasted over 10 years. A beautiful story and a chance meeting that lead to the creation of this amazing Guide. Now, this was inspiring.
“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” – Virginia Satir
I left dinner thinking about friendship. Human connection is so important in our lives and ultimately for our health. I am science minded and often write science-based articles. I love research, science, double blind placebo studies. I want to know the exact root cause! But there is no doubt that there is a dimension of your health that depends on the human aspect of life. On our most basic human level, we have evolved to be social beings. Our brains have evolved to ensure survival and operate the best when we connect with others. Having meaningful relationships, interacting with friends, and physical connection all improve your health. Scientifically proven! Social exchanges can change the neurotransmitter and circuit activity of your brain. This can help to reduce stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Release your happy hormone with a hug
Everyone loves a good old fashioned hug. Hugging and physical connection release a hormone called Oxytocin. When we embrace someone, oxytocin is released. It is the chemical that has been connected to social bonding and helps us to promote feelings of trust and connection to others. Not only that, it has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and decrease blood pressure. This amazing hormone helps to calm the reactive part of your brain-the amygdala. This helps you to control emotions and to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, your rest, digest and relaxed state. Oxytocin also supports serotonin, your “happy hormone”. Many serotonin producing neurons also have oxytocin receptors so when it is produced, you get a serotonin boost as well. Who doesn’t want to feel happier?
Science has shown that having the support of friends and family can improve feelings of depression, anxiety and overwhelm. Many of us on this gorgeous island have migrated from all over the world and have had to start over socially. Traveling, moving and being an expat can be very difficult and lonely without your established support group or friends from home. I know from my personal experience that finding a group of friends here on our colorful island has added a new dimension to my life and helped to ground me. I can definitely feel my oxytocin boost after a good hug from one of my new-found friends!
Get Social in Mallorca
There are so many reasons to love Mallorca. One is that there are many resources on the island where you can find new social circles to match your interests. Stay connected to all things health related with Nourish The Community on Facebook. It is a great space to connect, share tips, ask questions, give answers, advice and make friends here in Mallorca. Gone International on Facebook is also an amazing community of women expats who meet-up regularly. Join them for dinners, clothes swaps, book clubs, drinks or a superfood latte from Ziva! Join a hiking meet-up or take part in one of the fitness activities on the island. Whatever your interests, you will find it on this beautiful island.
But most importantly, be present, connected and find those moments that inspire you. It is essential for your health!
Written by Melanie Mack
About the author
Melanie Mack is a health and fitness enthusiast who has been passionate about holistic wellness for over 12 years. After dealing with the uninspiring approach of Western medicine, Melanie decided to change careers and work towards truly healing people through functional and integrative medicine. With a core belief that you can heal the body through food and lifestyle changes, Melanie’s approach is “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates. Melanie is currently studying to become a Nutritional Therapist and Naturopath at the Natural Healthcare College & College of Naturopathic Medicine, both out of London. She looks forward to opening her own practice in Mallorca in January of 2018. Melanie currently lives in Mallorca with her husband and 2 dogs.