Most humans will enjoy physical contact with other human beings, and hugging is just one of the many ways we express love, intimacy, affection and care for our fellow beings. Whether used as a way to greet a friend or family member, or to seek comfort and love from a significant other, a hug can go a long way in boosting our mental and physical wellbeing. Take a look at the 8 health benefits of hugging someone.
1. Relaxes The Body – Hugging relaxes the muscles in our body and relieves tension. If you are feeling uptight or anxious a hug is a great way to alleviate the feeling, even if only temporarily.
2. Relieves Pain – A hug releases endorphins which in turn allows us to deal with pain better by blocking pain pathways and soothing aches in our body. So if you are experiencing any kind of physical pain try hugging someone!
3. Improves Heart Health – A study conducted showed that partners that were in constant physical contact with each other had a significantly lower heart rate than partners that did not. This decreased heart rate means the overall heart health is improved and risk of cardiac illness is significantly reduced.
4. Boosts Happiness – Hugging improves our mental state, boosting our mood and our self esteem. The release of serotonin into the brain that comes from people hugging creates a happy and positive mindset.
5. Reduces Stress Levels – Hugging significantly reduces the amount of cortisol, also known as the ‘stress hormone’ circulating in our body. As a result our stress levels are reduced and we become far more relaxed and calm.
6. They Make You Feel Good – It’s obvious when you hug someone that it makes you feel good and leaves you warm and fuzzy on the inside. This positive effect is largely thanks to Oxytocin, ‘the cuddle hormone’, being released and promoting feelings of trust, bonding and care. It connects us to other people and rewards us for any physical contact we encounter.
7. Hugs Are An Expression Of Joy – Just like laughter and smiling, hugs allows us to express our happiness and enjoyment. If you are interested in meditation and mindfulness, a hug is a great way to be present and enjoy a moment with someone. Being able to share that joy with another person makes the moment all the more significant.
8. Strengthens The Immune System – Hugging someone changes the way your body handles physical and social stresses. This boosts the immune system naturally, leaving your body better able to ward off illnesses and disease.
Hugs are a powerful thing, connecting us to our loved ones and deepening our connection and understanding of ourselves. With so many health benefits we should all be doing a lot more hugging so don’t delay and find the time to hug someone today!