“Hugging is the most beautiful form of communication that allows the other person to know beyond a doubt that they matter.”
Hugging is a beautiful expression of love, and also a way of healing. Research shows that Hugging (and laughter too!) is very effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, anxiety, depression and stress.
Here are 11 reasons to give and receive at least 7 hugs each day according to research:
1. Hugs Built Trust
The nurturing embrace of a warm hug builds trust between people and also a feeling of safety. This loving environment can improve communication and help both the giver and the receiver to be more open and honest during communication.
2. Hugs Boost Oxytocin Levels
Hugs instantly boost oxytocin levels, which is known as the “the love hormone”. According to psychologist Matt Hertenstein, “Oxytocin is a neuropeptide, which basically promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding. It really lays the biological foundation and structure for connecting to other people.” Hugs make us feel warm and fuzzy inside, and help to heal and alleviate feelings of loneliness, anger, and isolation.
3. Long Hugs Boost Serotonin levels
Hugging for a prolonged period of time increases one’s serotonin levels, which improves mood and creates the feelings of happiness.
4. Hugs Strengthen The Immune System
The gentle pressure felt on the solar plexus while hugging not only brings about pleasant feelings, but it also can stimulate the thymus gland, which helps to regulate and balance the body’s creation of white blood cells, which keep your body healthy and free of illness.
5. Hugging Increases Self-Esteem
From the time we are born, loving and caring touch and cuddling from our parents helps to communicate to us that we are loved, and it also helps babies to feel calm, safe and in many cases, being held often close to the Mother’s chest improves their health.
The biological functions and positive learned associations of hugs related to our health, safety and self-worth stay imbedded in our nervous systems as we become adults. Hugging later then can remind us mentally, emotionally and physically of the loved and precious human beings that we are, helping us to feel and love ourselves more. Well hugged babies are also less stressed as adults.
6. Hugging Relaxes Muscles
Hugging can release tension that is held in the body, helping to alleviate pain and sooth aches by increasing the blood circulation into the soft tissues.
7. Hugging Alleviates Fears
In a study on fears and self-esteem, research published in the journal Psychological Science revealed that hugs and touch significantly reduce worry of mortality. The studies found that hugging — even if only an inanimate object such as a stuffed animal — helps soothe individuals’ existential fears.
“Even fleeting and seemingly trivial instances of interpersonal touch may help people to deal more effectively with existential concern,” lead researcher Sander Koole wrote in the study. “Interpersonal touch is such a powerful mechanism that even objects that simulate touch by another person may help to instill in people a sense of existential significance.”
8. Hugs Help Balance The Nervous System
The galvanic skin response of someone giving and receiving a hug shows changes in skin conductance. The effects concerning moisture and electricity in the skin has suggested a more balanced, parasympathetic nervous system. In short, give more hugs! 🙂
9. Hugging Is Good For The Heart
Lovingly embracing someone not only warms your heart, but one study found that a hug can also be good medicine. In an experiment at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill , participants who didn’t have any contact with their partners developed a quickened heart rate of 10 beats per minute compared to the five beats per minute among those who got to hug their partners during the experiment.
10. Hugs Bring Us Out Of Our Minds And Into Our Hearts
Similar to any form physical exercise, hugging can help us to stop overthinking and to bring our attention to our bodies and to the love in our hearts. This practice is very similar to meditation and the practice of mindfulness; of being in the moment.
11. Hugs Promote Love And Compassion In The World
Whether it’s your partner, a family member, a friend, or a homeless person you wanted to encourage, hugs show the other person that they are loved and valued, and this promotes compassion in the world.
Take a few extra moments this week to hug the ones you love. Hugs not only bless you, the giver, but they bless the receiver as well.
You are loved.