Who doesn’t love a hug? Huh!?
Each time a loved one is upset, Instinctively you wrap your arms around them – Why is that?
Simple! A hug makes us feel good. A hug is a form of noninvasive healing therapy which has been extensively studied for years. Studies showed that in addition to laughing, hugging helps individuals to heal. It further shows that hugs can potentially reduce the risk of catching a common cold. Oh common!
Here is what science has to say!
Hugs can impact your body and mind.
As discussed below, science has unraveled these fuzzy and warm feelings you experience during a hug. We all agree a hug feels good, but what really goes on inside our bodies and minds during a hug?
A hug is beneficial to our body because of the body ability to de-stress. During a hug, our body releases oxytocin – a bonding hormone which promotes attachment in relationships, this is released into the bloodstream and some remain in the brain.
Furthermore, the release of the bonding hormone changes your behavior, mood, and physiology. This has a trickle effect on other vital processes in the body. Your cortisol and norepinephrine levels drop (these are also called body stressors), heart rates slow down, and serotonin and dopamine (the feel-good hormone) are released into your bloodstream.
These are the reasons you need a healthy dose of hugs each day and every day
Yet to receive a hug today? It’s time to go hug hunting!
Here’s what the science has to say.
1 Hugs enhance Immunity
Surprised? Don’t be, science has proven that hugs do not only have short-term effects on health but also confers long-term health benefits. Stress negatively impact our health, it should be no surprise that de-stressors should have an opposite effect. A study has shown the link between hugs and the common cold.
The study involved 406 healthy adults, and it found that hugs may act as a defense, making it difficult to become susceptible to infectious diseases caused by stress. The study group was exposed to the common cold virus, and the participants who received more support and frequent hugs showed less severe symptoms.
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2. Hugs Can Boosts Your Mood
Hugs ensure your body gets a healthy release of oxytocin. This hormone lays the foundation for human connection, as it promotes human bonding and trust. Feel good hormones (serotonin and dopamine) are also released which are precursors to a positive mood.
MRIs and PET scans revealed that during a hug there is an increased level of dopamine in the brain – serotonin and endorphins are released into the blood. This also holds true when cuddling a pet.
3. Supports Heart Health
Hugs elicit a release of oxytocin. Studies have shown an inverse relationship between increased levels of oxytocin and a decrease in blood pressure I.e. as your oxytocin levels increases, your blood pressure drops. These studies have majorly been carried out in humans, animals have shown a similar relationship. It was discovered that when rat bellies were stroked, increased oxytocin levels led to a decrease in blood pressure.
Unfortunately, many people die yearly from heart-related diseases, since high blood pressure plays a significant part in these deaths, providing greater emotional supports for those at risk may help.
4. Increase Empathy And Self-Esteem
It is often said that when you hug someone, you exchange empathetic feelings due to the generation of bioenergetics by the human heart. This is why a hug in many parlances is called a “handshake from the heart” the increased feeling of empathy is associated with higher levels of oxytocin.
As you go on bonding and building trust with the individuals hugging you, it also has a positive effect on you, especially the way you feel about yourself. A UCLA study discovered an increase in oxytocin levels led to greater optimism and self-esteem in participants.
Why Eight Hugs?
Eight is a magic number, it got its magical touch from a quote by a famous and well-respected therapist Virginia Satir, who said “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
This has not been scientifically proven, you would agree eight hugs are better than one!
Reach out and hug someone you care about starting today, alternatively if you need a hug, just ask. Hugs will give your health a boost. Hugs make the world go round – it’s a win-win!