Thursday, December 29, 2016

Our "Happy Chemical" Serotonin and How to Raise it Naturally (and with jade!)

Yesterday I went to Honeybaked Ham store to pick up an order I made for New Year's Day dinner.  Traffic was amazingly light and I got there about 10 minutes before it opened. It was already 80+ degrees so I got out of the car and walked around the stores in the complex.  The only one open was a Starbucks two stores away from Honeybaked.  When I got back to Honeybaked, a small, furry white dog that was outside Starbucks with its owner started yipping and barking at me, wagging its tail like I was a long lost friend.  When it started howling, the woman brought it over to me, telling me the dog wanted me to pat it.  It was my pleasure, as it rolled around and panted, almost like it was humming or singing.  It didn't want to leave.

I was smiling.  I had white fur all over my gray jeans, and drool on my hands.

I love dogs, but can't have one.  I walk for at least 30 minutes right at sunset.  And I always hope to see dogs out walking too, and pat them.

Why do dogs make us feel so good?  Dogs are companions, sometimes assistant helpers, often get brought into hospitals, nursing homes to cheer up the patients.  Some people will not fly on a plane unless they have their medical assistance dog with them.

Earlier in the morning, I read an article in the newspaper about science proving that touch,  human or animal, causes our serotonin  levels to rise.  Serotonin is our "happy chemical".  Not only does it make us happy, but is essential in treating cardiac problems, including a study that shows higher serotonin levels improve heart valves, especially the mitral valve.  Doctors look for a way to raise serotonin levels, and all they need to do is hug, touch, or find a dog to pat for the patient.  Well, I don't know if science can cure prolapsed mitral valves that way, but they are experimenting with it.

Patting dogs, getting a hug, improve serotonin levels.  How does jade fit in here?

When you are wearing a jade bangle bracelet, you probably touch it during the day.  The bangle edges touch your skin, acupoints during the day.  When you touch your jade bangle bracelet, move it around on your wrist, you are getting pleasure, therefore raising your serotonin levels.  And getting acupressure on major points in your wrist.

Another reason to not only wear a jade bangle bracelet all the time, but also get the one that fits closest to your wrist.

NJ2363 small Chinese jade bangle bracelet

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Happy Holidays: Why Can't I Feel Happy? Why do I Feel Depressed About Holidays?

One of my Facebook friends posted yesterday that she took all her Christmas decorations out of storage, unpacked them all, then sat down in her living room and cried until she thought her heart would break.  But it's the holidays!  We're supposed to be happy!

This past year two family members died.  This would be her first Christmas season without them.

Last year she was hit by a car leaving her street and so injured she was in a nursing home for months. 

The year before that, her husband was killed while riding his motorcycle to work.

All of her holiday decorations had memories attached to them.  She needed to talk about her grief and loss.  But some of her friends told her to just forget about the past, have a good time, come to a party where there will be lots of alcohol and drugs to help her feel better. 

She's still sad today, and now she doesn't want to be social because of the response of her friends.

The older we get, the more loss we have to remember on holidays and special occasions. 

My father died on New Years Eve six years ago.  I have trouble being happy at New Year's Eve parties even though six years have passed.  And his birthday was around Thanksgiving, so when we had our family Thanksgiving dinners, I always brought his favorite chocolate cake for a birthday cake.  And I have always made a chocolate cake for Thanksgiving dinner, which I prepare for several friends. And when I serve dessert, instead of feeling like I'm honoring him, I feel sad.  This year was the first year I didn't make the cake, because one of my girlfriends offered to bring dessert.  She knows how that chocolate cake, which they all love, has such a sad effect on me. 

A few years ago, my husband and I noticed that people who grew up with, went to school with, their names were showing in obituaries in the hometown newspaper we read online. 

I used to call my mother every Sunday morning at 10 AM when she got home from church.  Now she is in assisted living, and when she first moved there, I called at 10AM on Sundays.  But I told her I was going to call her at different times and on different days.  That's my way of planning for the future when she's no longer here, so I won't be depressed on Sunday mornings. 

When someone you love dies, they always remain in your heart.  You can move through the grief process, but that sadness and loss will still be there at times. 

My friend felt better when she was able to talk about her memories.  She had some anger that she vented, and I listened without judging, and hugged her when she needed it. 

On New Year's Eve, the people I'm with will give me a hug and know I'm thinking about my father.  It's OK to feel loss and grief.  It's even more OK when you have someone who will listen to you.