Hugging is a simple way to keep us Healthy

Hugging is a fantastic way to express a plethora of positive feelings. We hug when we greet, before we kiss, and when we simply want to show our appreciation and love. It feels good and we generally enjoy doing it. However, in today’s fast paced world, we often forget to indulge ourselves in the warm, friendly embrace of another person. Well, here are five exemplary reasons to stop skipping the friendly hugs and start reaping the benefits!
  1. Hugging lowers our levels of anxiety and helps to keep us calm. Every time we hug we experience a momentary decrease in our blood pressure, which leads to a sense of relaxation and peace of mind.
  2. Hugging releases the “love hormone” oxytocin which elicits several health benefits including:
    • Lowering stress levels – oxytocin has the additional benefit of countering the “stress hormone” cortisol, which rises when we are faced with stressful situations.
    • Decreasing feelings of depression
    • Boosting the immune system
    • Reducing the risk of heart disease
    • Increasing energy levels
    • Fighting insomnia
  3. Hugging helps reduce cravings for unhealthy foods and narcotics. This is partly explained by the release of oxytocin, which has the ability to induce an overall feeling of fulfillment.
  4. Hugging increases the levels of serotonin (associated with moods) and dopamine (the pleasure inducing hormone) produced by the body. The result of this is an overall feeling of contentment and satisfaction.
  5. Hugging fosters a sense of belonging and makes us feel bonded to each other. When we hug we establish and/or reinforce our relationships.
So we see that the simple act of hugging is one of the easiest ways to boost your body’s level of oxytocin. More oxytocin in the blood stream results in a greater sense of calm and an increased ability to handle stress. The hormone is considered a pivotal factor in maintaining our ability to form close attachments to other people and an effective means of lowering “the stress hormone” cortisol. Hugging is a great stress-buster so aim to hug as much as you can, whenever possible.
If you are on your own, you can easily replicate these benefits by petting a beloved dog or cat. After all, pet owners have also been shown to have similar levels of contentment as those in happy relationships. Forming a close knit social group is also another great way to ensure that hugging becomes a routine part of your daily life.
Hug whenever you can, show someone that they are very much appreciated while improving your health and sense of well-being.