Many of us turn to drugs just to get by in our day to day lives. That might seem like an extreme statement, but think about it. Whether it’s coffee, ‘5 Hour Energy’ drinks or sleeping pills, nearly all of us put various natural and unnatural substances in our body on a regular basis just so we can function. And of course there’s a whole bunch of people who are reliant on alcohol and more serious drugs too.
Life is just too hectic these days, and everywhere we turn we seem to run into problems. If you’re a single professional then you’re likely to burn yourself out at work and possibly become detached and depressed as a result. If you have a family to support then for most people the stress levels are magnified tenfold. So we turn to drugs and other remedies in a vain attempt to counteract the negative effects of our modern lifestyles.
That brings us to the big question on everyone’s lips: What else are we supposed to do about it? Well, we all know that miracle cures for our problems simply don’t exist. But there are healthy, natural ways to relieve stress and regain control of your life, and these can have a knock on effect on your family and your working life too, without the cost and the side effects of drink, drugs and other bad habits.
To cut to the chase, we have recently discovered a particularly interesting way to beat those blues away. It’s a simple, fun lifestyle choice that can benefit you whether you’re single or attached, employed or jobless. Get a dog!
Yes, we know, you probably immediately thought of the negatives when you read those three words – cleaning up poop, buying dog food, house training, barking at night and so forth. But recent studies show that dogs really do brighten up our lives by triggering the release of “feel good” hormones such as oxytocin in our brains and bodies.
Oxytocin is most associated with social bonding. For instance it plays a role in creating the unbreakable bond between a mother and her baby. A similar thing can happen with you and your dog, believe it or not – and you may experience an oxytocin rush when you look into his or her puppy dog eyes.
Here’s the kicker: our oxytocin levels are said to double when we pet our dogs. So it’s not surprising then that there are a whole bunch of health benefits associated with showing your doggy some affection. Among these benefits are:
- A boost to your immune system
- A lowering of stress levels
- An increase in healing and recovery times
- Less pain, such as headaches
So there you have it. If you don’t already have a dog, perhaps think about adopting one from a shelter and giving him or her a good home. This will make you feel good about yourself right away – you saved a puppy!
And if you do have a dog, start giving him or her a little more daily attention. The dog will love you for it, and you will grow to love your dog more too. Encourage your partner and family to do the same and you’ll have a much happier household on your hands in no time at all!
The city's various Earth Day events that help you get your greens.
This week, in honor of Earth Day, we get to expand our eco-friendly palate with some other city favorites. We’re huge fans of Quantum Leap and the East Village’s Organic Grill. We love the sustainability idea behind Rogue Tomate and the local flavors at Cookshop. For time-tested and tasted healthiness, we rely on veteran Souen in Union Square and Soho. And for Earth week, we eat Italian.
Il Buco, the old world Italian restaurant on Bond Street, is honoring Earth Day with their 3rd annual rainforrest fundraiser. Il Buco offers 15% off lunch tabs from noon to 4 p.m. through Saturday, and donates the savings to save the rain forest. (If you haven’t eaten at Il Buco, take advantage of this offer and get the bruschetta with mussels, gambas, pollo and pasta special of the day or risotto.)
Jonesing for a more crowded Earth Day celebration? Join everyone and their mother at Grand Central, the annual Earth Fair highlights organic food, preparation and nearby restaurants.
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