Mom. Ma. Mum. Aunt. Grandma. Mommy. No matter what you call her, the mothers (and mother figures!) in our lives play a special role in our own development.
In honor of Mother's Day, we rounded up just some of the ways our moms can influence our happiness and well-being. Check them out below, then go give her a hug. She deserves it.
1. She calms us down.
Need a go-to trick to unwind? Put your mom on speed dial. According to one 2010 study, just a few minutes of talking on the phone with our moms can reduce our stress. That's because just hearing her voice can release oxytocin (the "feel good" hormone) in the body, which makes chatting with mom almost like getting a hug from her.
2. She had an impact on our brain development.
We may be able to thank our moms for our intellect. Research suggests that a mother's loving, nurturing behavior may contribute to a larger hippocampus, the area of the brain crucial for learning, memory and stress responses, LiveScience reported.
3. She makes us laugh.
Whether it's fishing out the old school photos or knowing just what to say to get the giggles going, moms certainly have a way of making us chuckle. And that's great news for our stress levels: Studies show laughing can help reduce cortisol (aka the stress hormone) and may even help us ward off disease.
4. Our bond with her could lead to better romantic relationships.
How well you get along with your mom in your developmental years could potentially influence your relationship with your significant other later in life, according to a 2010 study. The closer the bond as a teen, the higher quality your romantic relationships may be as young adults, LiveScience reported. Make sure to thank her at your wedding.
5. She's one of the first people to love us.
And it's a love that runs on a biological level. In analysis of a mother's brain after giving birth, The Atlantic reported that "becoming a parent looks -- at least in the brain -- a lot like falling in love." In other words, the same social bonding process takes place.
6. She can be one of our best friends.
Who else is really going to listen to you complain about your job on the phone for three hours or eat ice cream with you at 2 a.m.? In case we don't say it enough: thanks, Mom. You're the best.
This GPS Guide is part of a series of posts designed to bring you back to balance when you're feeling off course.
GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others' stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing "secret weapons" that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. We encourage you to visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and tranquility.