To get the most out of your squeeze, hold it for at least 20 seconds. That magic number triggers an increase in the mood-boosting hormone oxytocin, according to research from the University of North Carolina.
I'm really enjoying this resolution: I give my husband proper good-morning, welcome-home and good-night hugs and kisses. And I go out of my way to show affection to my two daughters throughout the day—cuddling them in my lap, stroking their hair, pulling them close when I sit or stand near them.
While it's nice to be able to point to research that underscores the benefits of affection, the truth is we really don't need scientific studies to prove that sharing hugs with the ones we love leads to happiness. That we know from experience.
Happiness Projector Ashley Thompson on the Best Part of Parenthood
Like all parents, I want to feel that I'm doing a good job raising my two sons. And when I see them excel—achieving good grades, playing their instruments well, staying out of trouble—it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. But it's the small moments, when they make me laugh or help with a project or just hang out with me, that make me most proud to be their mom.
That's why I'm so looking forward to our upcoming plans: visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium, hitting the beach every Saturday for as long as the warm weather lasts, and having a Wii Fit Challenge: me against the boys. We're also going to "play handyman," as my youngest son calls it. He loves to use all kinds of tools, so he's going to be my little helper on a few projects around the house before summer ends. We're going to hang curtain rods, then we'll tackle our kitchen table—sanding, refinishing and painting it. None of the stuff we've got planned is big or fancy. And that's the point. It's just us, being a family. What could be better than that?