Hugging makes us feel good. And it turns out that hugging is proven to make us healthier and happier.
Read on to find out how.
1. Hugs reduce stress
If you are feeling a bit drained or pressured, find someone you care about and give them an all-enveloping hug. Embracing reduces the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) in our bodies, releasing tension and sending calming messages to the brain.
2. Hugs can make you happier and may boost your heart health
Oxytocin is a chemical in our bodies that scientists sometimes call the “cuddle hormone.” This is because its levels rise when we hug, touch, or sit close to someone else. Oxytocin is associated with happiness and less stress.
3. Hugs may help reduce your pain
In one study, people with fibromyalgia had six therapeutic touch treatments. Each treatment involved light touching on the skin. The participants reported an increase in quality of life and reduced pain.
4. Hugs help you communicate with others
Most human communication occurs verbally or through facial expressions. But touch is another important way that people can send messages to one another.
Scientists have found that a stranger was capable of expressing a wide range of emotions to another person by touching different parts of their body. Some emotions expressed include anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude, happiness, sadness, and sympathy.
Hugging is a very comforting and communicative type of touch.
How many hugs do we need?
Family therapist Virginia Satir once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” While that may sound like a lot of hugs, it seems that many hugs are better than not enough.
So, if you want to feel better about yourself, reduce your stress, improve communication, and be happier and healthier, it seems that giving and asking for more hugs is a good place to start.
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