Tag: Mental Health Support

Hugging: The Health Benefit of Having a Hearty Relationship

Hugging: The Health Benefit of Having a Hearty Relationship

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Source: NBC News

While I’m not one to initiate hugs, but…I love hugs!They make me feel so good! There’s something about it that helps to jump start my mood, especially when it comes from loved ones. They help recharge my spirit. My mom’s hugs were the best! But now she lives in Nor Cal, I feel my moods can sometimes feel moodier or I feel more withdrawn. Then whenever I see my boyfriend, his hugs feel great! Even my brother’s, but it sucks I see him and my boyfriend once a week so it kinda sucks. Hugs help me pay attention to today, and not yesterday or tomorrow. I feel better and centered. I never knew for instance how not receiving hugs from mom or anyone even often, would make me feel more reserved and withdrawn; my character more solemn.

There are times I need a hug 😦

So how important is a hug? Let me tell you…

In the United States, 1944, an experiment was conducted on 40 newborn infants to determine whether individuals could thrive alone on basic physiological needs without affection. Twenty newborn infants were housed in a special facility where they had caregivers who would go in to feed them, bathe them and change their diapers, but they would do nothing else. The caregivers had been instructed not to look at or touch the babies more than what was necessary, never communicating with them. All their physical needs were attended to scrupulously and the environment was kept sterile, none of the babies becoming ill.

The experiment was halted after four months, by which time, at least half of the babies had died at that point. At least two more died even after being rescued and brought into a more natural familial environment. There was no physiological cause for the babies’ deaths; they were all physically very healthy. Before each baby died, there was a period where they would stop verbalizing and trying to engage with their caregivers, generally stop moving, nor cry or even change expression; death would follow shortly. The babies who had “given up” before being rescued, died in the same manner, even though they had been removed from the experimental conditions.

from U.S. Experiment on  Infants Withholding Affection

So how exactly does hugging help exactly both physically and emotionally? According to the Healthline website:

  • Hugs reduce stress by showing your support—Scientists say that giving another person support through touch can reduce the stress of the person being comforted. It can even reduce the stress of the person doing the comforting.
  • Hugs may protect against illness—In a study of over 400 adults, researchers found that hugging may reduce the chance a person will get sick. The participants with a greater support system were less likely to get sick. And those with the greater support system who did get sick had less severe symptoms than those with little or no support system.
  • Hugs may boost your heart health—In one study, scientists split a group of about 200 adults into two groups: Group A  had romantic partners hold hands for 10 minutes followed by a 20 second hug with each other. Group B had romantic partners who sat in silence  for 10 minutes and 20 seconds. People in the first group showed greater reductions in blood pressure levels and heart rate than the second group.
  • Hugs can may one happier-–One study found the positive benefits of Oxycontin (“the cuddle hormone”) were strongest in women who had better relationships and more frequent hugs with their romantic partner. Woman also saw positive effects of Oxycontin when they held their infants closely.
  • Hugs help reduce your fears— Scientists have found that touch reduce anxiety in people with low self-esteem. Touch can also keep people from isolating themselves when reminded of their mortality. They found that even touching an inanimate object—in this case a teddy bear–helped reduced people’ fears about their existence.
  • Hugs may help reduce your pain— In one study, people with fibromyalgia had six therapeutic touch treatments. Each treatment involved light touching on the skin. The participants reported an increase in quality of life and reduced pain.
  • Hugs help you communicate with others—Scientists have found that a stranger was capable of expressing a wide range of emotions to another person by touching different parts of their body.

In the future, if you need a hug, get a hug from a loved one. If your loved ones need a hug, give ’em a hug. You’ll be surprised how much it can do!

The simple act of hugging is such an incredible way to not only bond with others but also boost your physical and emotional health.

Dr. Mercola

References

Cirino, E. What Are the Benefits of Hugging? (2018). Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/hugging-benefits#1

US Experiment on Infants Withholding Affection. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://stpauls.vxcommunity.com/Issue/us-experiment-on-infants-withholding-affection/13213

More Reading:

The Health Benefits of Hugging

Iron Fist’s Danny Rand and Lei Kung: Masters of Pain

Introduction

Since, I have had this post on draft mode, I found out that the “Iron Fist” was canceled! Okay in my opinion…”Iron Fist”, isn’t THAT bad. I mean yeah, the story isn’t as strong as  “Daredevil”, “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” and now “The Punisher”, but it isn’t THAT bad. I’ve seen worse. The “Iron Fist” is about a guy named Danny Rand (played by Finn Jones) who inherits the powers of  the dragon, Shou-Lao, which helps him become the new “Iron Fist”,  from the legendary land of K’un-Lun. He comes to New York to reclaim Rand Enterprises after being assumed dead for 15 years after a plain crash that killed both of his parents.

Danny’s father, Wendell Rand
Danny’s mother, Heather Rand

When Danny returns, he tries to reconnect with his former life, mostly with his former relationships like his former friends,  Joy and Ward, the Meachum siblings (played by Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey) who also own part Rand Enterprises, who found it a little hard to believe that he returned from the dead. Speaking of returning from the dead, we find Harold Meachum, who was Danny’s father’s former partner, before he passed away from cancer and then being revived by the Hand. Now that Danny is trying to catch up with the times and his former life, he has been easily influenced by the Hand via Harold Meachum.

He looks very familiar…
If you said “Boromir”, then you would be correct! He played Boromir in LOTR: The Two Towers and Return of the King, played by David Wenham who played Harold Mechum as shown in the picture above
No…he’s not Denis Leary, though he kinda DOES look like him.

Since the loss of his parents and the acquirement of his new found powers…and the inheritance of his parents’ company, it seems that everyone has been trying to take the place of his “mentor”: The Hand (e.g. Madame Gao, Bakuto), Harold Meachum, and  Lei Kung…trying to mold him into their own making to fit their own intentions. Yes, I said Lei Kung. Sure he’s not the bad guy, but I have to say even he was trying hard to win him over.

Lei Kung, The Thunderer Champion of K’un-Lun

Many times in the show Danny, including during his flashbacks, especially after he was rescued by the devastating plane crash, he hasn’t been able to deal with his grief and has periodically what appears to be panic attacks especially whenever an airplane flies overhead.

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Danny when his mother told him she loved him, before the fatal crash

When he lived in K’un-lun, while Danny Rand was able to acquire the role of the “Iron Fist”, he never got a chance to grieve the loss of his parents, nor be able to process the trauma where he nearly lost his own life. His teacher, Lei Kung, put him under tremendous and intense training. This is not including dealing with harsh conditions of K’un-Lun like sleeping on a dirty mat and traveling a mile uphill to get daily rations of water each morning (Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki, n.d.). However, I feel despite all the training Lei Kung put him under, the one thing that he didn’t teach Danny is how to overcome his pain.

Mental Health Support

In season 1 of “The Iron Fist” (including “The Defenders” and “Luke Cage”), Lei-Kung is often mentioned and been seen in a few scenes. He is the elder monk of the Order of the Crane Mother and the father of Danny’s best friend, Davos. It was believed that Danny was part of a prophecy, because of how his parent’s plane was on fire while it crashed in the sky. And I believe because of that, he has seen him a prize and as the potential protector of Kun-Lun, “The Iron Fist”. So him seeing still grieving over his parents seemed to be trivial:

I hear you crying at night in your room. Weeping over your parents and their loss. That grief is a weakness. Banish it. Reject or accept the darkness. It is your choice. Both are acceptable. But your choice reveal who we are.

Lei-Kung

Okay…this isn’t fair that Lei Kung is calling him “weak” just because he lost his parents. Well, yeah…it was a period of darkness for him. And this darkness wasn’t particularity a bad one. Why does remind me a movie….

Source: Sf-worlds.com

Ah, yes! Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Remember the part when the Jedi Counsel (mostly Mace Windu, Ki-Adi-Mundi, and Yoda talking to him) told a young Anakin Skywalker (who presence was also prophesied) to be mindful of his feelings of missing his mother will get the best of of him because well…as Yoda put it:

Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate.

But I feel that ironically… it was their “detached mentality” that kinda set Anakin to the Dark Side. Go figure.

Not all darkness is bad. There’s the darkness that is for evil and there’s the darkness that describes a person’s period of loss and grief, whatever they may be, whether it includes loss of health, the loss of a loved one, lost of a job, breakup…But in no way does having such feelings mean a person is “weak”.

Mental Health Affects ANYBODY

We find that even when Danny gains the power of “The Iron Fist”, the emptiness and grief still remains. Even with all the power and money in the world (the inheritance of Rand Enterprises) he is still sad. This goes to show that money and power is not everything if there is no love or even a time to grieve. I mean, a lot of people in the show (especially since they thought that Danny was dead) thought he looked like anyone else. This is why looking after our mental well-being. Mental health affects us no matter who you are.

Warts And All: Accepting Ourselves

At the entry to every door is the opportunity to choose a different path. If you wish to continue as you are, do not enter. But if you choose to face the dragon inside, know that you risk everything. Should you live…your former self will be destroyed. If you choose to take this up you will be forever marked as one of us. Are you willing to kills Danny Rand so that Iron Fist might live?

Lei Kung

Can’t Danny accept himself and his role as “The Iron Fist”?  If Danny wasn’t who he was, Kung would have chose his own son Davos wouldn’t he? (Then again in the second season we find out why, but that’s a post for another day) It’s just like in the real world when people want others to forsake themselves for their own purposes, forgetting that it was that person’s individuality that made them sought after in the first place.

I’m glad that Danny chose to accept himself and being the Iron Fist instead choosing between the two of them. Sometimes, people makes us feel we have give up a part of who we are if we are to succeed or acquire anything in life.  Or that you can’t get anything, because of who you are. This could include core values or like in  Danny’s case, an emotion that we are currently going through. Regardless which it is, we must face our “inner dragons” if we are are to manifest our own “hidden power”. If we don’t face whatever is causing anxiety within us, it can destroy us or our relationships, jobs, or our livelyhood.

Taking Precaution of Our Words: The Sensitive Thing About Insensitivity

Cast away your childish needs. Bury your mother. Bury your father. You belong to me and to me alone. You must submit, can you do it? Then tell me who you are! A child…touched by fire…delivered from heaven to become the greatest warrior, destined for victory. Guardian of the Gate…Destroyer of the Hand. Your purpose. Destroy the Hand. No room for doubt. Finish it. Finish it now. You belong to me… and I command you.

Lei Kung

It sucks to have high expectations put on you doesn’t it? The high expectation and the grand titles given by Lei Kung blinded him from the sorrow Danny was facing. Bury his parents? The show never mentioned if he was able to do that, but I’m sure it was even challenging to “bury” his parents mentally in his mind. “Tell me who you are?” He’s a child who lost his parents in a fiery plane crash. An orphan!  If this is Kung’s way of “looking on the bright side” that is very horrible. Danny will move on in his life, but by making him deny his pains, it would only make them multiply. This is no way to help someone’s overcome heartache, grief, or troubles. Denying someone else’s pain, just because it is inconvenient for you or because you don’t understand it, isn’t how to help someone. You’re better off saying, “I’m sorry”, “I don’t know”, or “I don’t know, I’m sorry” or say nothing. So let’s try our best not to talk for the sake of talking.

The ability to speak does not make you intelligent

Qui-Gon Jinn

Turning Lemons Into Lemonade: Using Your Struggles To Help Others

I’m still trying to figure out who I’m gonna be as the Iron Fist. Lei Kung taught me that I was a powerful weapon, a flame meant to destroy our enemies. But I keep thinking that maybe I can be something else. A light for those trapped in the darkness.

Danny Rand

In the end, I like how he uses his newfound powers to enlighten the lives of others. Much like those of us who live with mental illness, whatever our “newfound powers” maybe—whether it maybe your resilience, resourcefulness, compassion, patience, wisdom, courage, self-love or self-compassion—you are also lighting a way for those in the darkness of heir mental health journey too.

Conclusion

As you become the hero you choose to be during your own mental health journey, there will be people in yourself, even those you love (and love you) with good intentions who may want to have a say in it. Including those who also live with mental illness. I myself, have been guilty at doing this.  They will tell you how should heal, how long it’ll last, but in reality healing isn’t a one size fits all and it most definitely won’t happen even a few months, but you will improve. I think at the end, Lei Kung had good intentions, for choosing Danny as the new “Iron Fist”. However, I think it was a mistake for Lei Kung to think, he would have been like every “Iron Fist” before him. Maybe what motivated the last “Iron Fist”, may not have benefited this “Iron Fist”. Like Danny,  don’t be mad at those you love who couldn’t help you through your pain, because they may not know how to help you overcome it. People can only know so much. At the end of day in the heart of your heart, you know what’s best for you, because at the end of it all you will be the one benefiting from your healing.

Resources:

Iron Fist (TV Series). Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki. Retrieved from http://marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/Iron_Fist_(TV_series)

Movie Quote DB. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menance quotes. Retrieved from http://www.moviequotedb.com/movies/star-wars-episode-i-the-phantom-menace.html

The Household Guide to Not Being a Judgmental Twat – BayArt

Mental illness is illness. It’s not a choice. Not a decision or a lifestyle. It’s an illness. Like most illnesses, there are a variety of severities and types. Some people might have a depressive period for a short time – just like someone might have a bout of glandular fever for a short time. It doesn’t last forever,…

Source: The Household Guide to Not Being a Judgmental Twat – BayArt

#In Your Corner

Individuals who have a loved one with mental illness can get frustrated dealing with something they don’t understand, especially on a health issue that is highly stigmatized. But even if that’s not the issue, the thing is where can they start? Simple. You treat a person with mental illness the same way you would treat anyone…check up on them with a text or a call, hang out with them, encourage them, don’t judge them… Although, I have experienced little of these things in my life, they place a big sense of relief and peace. Neither I or the other person is not focused on my health, but on the time we have together and what we mean to one another and ourselves.

Although this campaign is done in the U.K., the “#In Your Corner” is a campaign done by the organization “Time to Change.” You may have seen their photos and quotes on my blog, but it’s because I love the campaigns they do throughout the year to decrease stigma against mental illness and to increase the awareness of mental health. Yeah, it’s the in U.K. but the issues on mental health they are fighting there are the same issues being fought everywhere.  The pictures are but one of many that encourage comradery between individuals and their loved one living with mental illness and how the both of them have been fighting mental illness together.

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