Free hugs anyone? According to science we all should be lining up to hand out hugs.
Hugs boost both oxytocin and serotonin levels.
Oxytocin is sometimes called the “love hormone”. It can help to heal negative feelings like loneliness, anger, and anxiety, while bringing about more positive feelings like trust and empathy. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is believed to bring feelings of happiness and well-being.
I remember going through a pretty bad period of anxiety when I was in my early 20’s, and whenever I would have an anxiety attack, all I would feel was the need to be hugged. It must have been the oxytocin and serotonin I was needing. Our bodies always make us crave what we really need.
Hugging can treat and prevent ailments.
The chemicals released during a hug have been shown to lower blood pressure, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition, the sternum pressure experienced when hugging helps to stimulate the thymus gland, which is responsible for production and regulation of your body’s white blood cells – the cells that prevent and fight disease!
Hugging brings closeness and trust to relationships.
Hugging someone you care about can really help strengthen the bond between the two of you. It increases self-esteem, builds trust, and cultivates patience and appreciation.
Experts recommend at least 8-12 hugs a day to reap the benefits that hugging has to offer. Go give your loved ones a nice, long hug. Not only will you experience all of these benefits, so will they.
Hugs promote relaxation.
A hug can relax your muscles, relieving tension in your body. It can help to soothe aches and pains — and take away physical stress, as a prolonged hug causes stress chemicals like cortisol to drop. This helps to relax you, both physically and mentally.
Hugs can help you reach a state of zen.
The simple act of giving a hug can help you to be present in the now. A hug can connect you not only with another person, but also with your own heart, feelings, and breathing. Hugs can really balance your mood!
Hugging boosts self-esteem, especially in children. The tactile sense is all-important in infants. A baby recognizes its parents initially by touch. From the time we’re born our family’s touch shows us that we’re loved, safe and secure. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.