I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words. ~Ann Hood
I love a good bear hug! Are you a hugger? If so, then you’re familiar with the wonderful feeling of connection and support provided by a simple hug. Hugs are a great act of kindness and actually have many physical and mental health benefits.
Several studies show that positive human contact through hugs has many mental and physical health benefits. If you’re looking to do something easy to improve your health, don’t hold back from hugging someone you love. It improves your day and health, AND it helps theirs as well.
Hugging is so powerful that in 1986 Rev. Kevin Zaborney founded January 21 as National Hugging Day. The purpose of the holiday is to help everyone show more support and emotion. To celebrate the day, simply offer a hug to anyone and everyone who would also like to celebrate with a hug!
7 Reasons Why Hugging is Good For You
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Here’s what science has to say about the benefits of hugging.
1 – Hugs Can Help You Relax and De-Stress
Hugging can help you let go of your daily stress and become more relaxed.
Studies have shown that hugging increases the level of the hormone oxytocin in our blood. Oxytocin is known to cause a “bonding” or “caring” response in people. Oxytocin causes a reduction in blood pressure and of the stress hormone norepinephrine
Physically, hugs relax your muscles and release tension in your neck and shoulders. Mentally, it gives you peace and is like taking a big, deep breath for your well-being.
When a friend or family member is dealing with something unpleasant in their lives, give them a big, powerful hug.
2 – Hugging Can Help Protect You From Illness
Can hugging keep you healthier? Science says that hugging can help your body fight disease, and not just through immunity boosting.
Researchers exposed participants in a study on hugging to a cold virus, and then tested to see if people who were hugged were less susceptible to the virus. The study confirmed that, yes, physical contact that reduces stress also reduces the risk of being infected by contagious diseases.
3 – Hugging Can Elevate Mood
When your serotonin levels are low, you are more likely to experience feelings related to depression and loneliness. Hugging can increase the production of serotonin in the brain, helping to boost your mood as well as your self-esteem.
So, if you’re feeling blue, give someone you love a big hug!
4 – Hugging May Improve Heart Health
A proper daily dose of hugs may help help your heart heath. A study compared participants in an experiment that included a stressful task.
- The first group had romantic partners hold hands for 10 minutes followed by a 20-second hug with their partner.
- The other group sat in silence for 10 minutes and 20 seconds.
People in the first group showed a greater reduction in blood pressure and heart rate compared to the second group. According to the study conclusion, an affectionate relationship may be good for your heart health.
About one in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure, which is one of the main risk factors for heart disease, so just think of all the positive benefits that could come from sharing hugs every day!
5 – Hugs Can Strengthen Your Immune System
When you hug someone, you exert pressure on the sternum (breastbone) and an emotional charge is created. This activates the solar plexus chakras which in turn stimulates the thymus gland. This gland regulates the production of WBSc (white blood cells) in the body, thereby, keeping you healthy.
6 – Hugging May Help Reduce Pain
Hugging is a form of touch that may help reduce pain.
Hugs release endorphins, which block pain pathways and increase circulation to soft tissues.
7 – Hugging Can Increase Your Happiness
The oxytocin hormone is also sometimes referred to as the “cuddle” hormone. Because oxytocin levels rise when we hug, touch, or even sit close to someone, it’s associated with happiness.
A UCLA study in 2011 showed that raised levels of oxytocin promote optimism and self esteem. Overall, hugging increases our ability to control our feelings and generates happiness.
We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth. ~Virginia Satir
Hug for Joy!
Hugs are free, all-natural, and create a sense of connection – so much good from something so easy! Hopefully National Hugging Day will increase awareness of the benefits of hugging.
Give a big bear hug, no pat-pat-done! Some research has shown that 20 seconds is the minimum time a hug should be held for emotional and physical benefits of hugs to kick-in. However, some scientists declare that regular hugs with close friends and family members, even if brief, will have positive effects on your body and brain. What a win-win!
Of course it’s not cool to hug without consent. Loved ones are pretty safe, but when you want to share a hug with someone with whom you’re not real familiar, ask for permission.
Consider yourself hugged as we celebrate National Hug Day!💙
Do hugs bring you joy? Feel free to drop me a comment to let me know if you’ve noticed any benefits from hugging, or if you think it’s a bunch of fluff.
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