Did you know there are some serious benefits of hugging? So, grab someone you like *with their permission, of course* and give them a squeeze!
Did you know there are some great benefits of hugging? You might not be aware of them. When you read about these seven benefits on your mind and body, you might feel differently about getting a little cuddly!
How do you feel about hugging?
Not everyone is a touchy feeling kind of person. I’ll freely admit that I am. I love a good hug. You know the kind that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. For me, a hug can be enough to take away the stresses of the day.
For others, a hug is an invasion of personal space. We’re all different. We all react differently to various situations.
Where do you stand on hugs? Do you love them or hate them? Or, do you just tolerate them because you don’t want to seem cold or stand-offish? You might feel quite cuddly one day and avoid any type of touch the next. Humans are complex beings!
Seven surprising benefits of hugging
Hugging is a personal choice in many ways. Always do what you feel comfortable with. But prepare to be amazed by the benefits of hugging!
#1 Hugging shows you care and support that person. Hugging someone you care about is more than just a physical thing. It’s actually a show of emotional support too. If that person is stressed out, feeling low, dealing with something, a hug could be just the thing they need in that moment.
It’s the physical way of saying ‘hey, are you okay?’. Not everyone is comfortable with talking about their feelings. A hug can be a non-verbal way to say you see they’re suffering or upset, and you’re there for them no matter what. Put simply, this is one of the biggest benefits of hugging if someone close to you is going through something. [Read: How to take care of yourself emotionally and avoid falling apart]
#2 Hugs might actually be immune system boosting. A recent study has shown that hugging might actually help you avoid becoming sick quite so often. This all comes down how hugging reduces stress.
Our brain releases feel-good hormones when we hug someone and feel relaxed in that moment. This stress reduction, even if just for a short time, has an impact on your immune system. If you hug enough, it might just help you stay healthier in the long-term! [Read: Feeling unlovable? 12 life changing truths you need to know]
#3 Hugging helps you grow closer to someone. We’ve all heard of Oxytocin, a hormone which the brain releases. It makes us feel all warm and cuddly. Sometimes called the ‘love hormone’ for the simple reason that it helps us grow closer to people and feel calmer and relaxed as a result. Oxytocin is responsible for that warm and cuddly feeling you get after sex, but even a hug is enough to release it and make you feel closer to that person.
So, if you want to increase your bond, get hugging!
#4 Hugging might give you a stronger heart. Yet again, hugging releases relaxing hormones and reduces stress levels. What does this do? It helps your heart remain strong and stops stress from causing all manner of nasty issues. For instance, high blood pressure is known to be detrimental over time for your heart health.
High blood pressure is also associated with stress. In some cases, provided there isn’t a health-related issue underlying, reducing stress via hugging *thanks to that Oxytocin* could therefore contribute to a healthier heart, when you live a healthy and active life at the same time.
Helping your heart stay health is certainly one the best benefits of hugging! [Read: 20 positive ways to pay it forward and create a chain of goodwill]
#5 Hugging makes you smile. Yet again, we pay homage to those hormones released when we hug. Oxytocin not only makes you feel calm, less stressed, and quite relaxed, but it creates happiness. Your levels of Oxytocin rise whenever you are close to someone, e.g. when you touch, hug, or sometimes even sit next to another person.
This gives you a boost of happiness, assuming you like that other person. Women in particular are strongly affected by Oxytocin. If this is one of the benefits of hugging, get hugging!
#6 Hugging helps to take away ‘in the moment’ fears. There’s a reason why babies cry and when you hug or cuddle them they often stop. Hugging is not only a tool for calming you down but it also reassures. And in that very moment, it takes away your fears. If you struggle with anxiety, get hugging. Hugging has been shown to help reduce fears, reduce worries, and, if done enough, perhaps even help to reduce anxiety to a degree.
#7 Hugging might help to reduce certain types of pain. We need to refer to another study to give this one some proof. To show that light touching, including hugging, relieved pain symptoms, a group of fibromyalgia sufferers had a series of therapeutic treatments involving light touch to the arms in particular. Each of those people reported less pain and a better quality of life.
While I’m not suggesting that hugging can totally magic away pain, it looks like it can reduce it. It’s probably down to that dose of Oxytocin once more. The relaxing and stress-relieving effects of this hormone are quite far reaching. If it can reduce the pain that someone is in even just a little, surely it’s worth a go? [Read: 13 ways to keep growing yourself into a kinder human being]
Ready to get hugging?
What do you think about these benefits of hugging? They’re pretty impressive, right?
If you thought hugging was just an annoyance, something those perky people do when they feel like being ultra-annoying, you’re far from the mark! Hugging is one expression of love and caring. It’s a silent communication method and a way of reducing stress and boosting your overall health and wellbeing as a result. Who would have known that hugging can actually help your heart health? It’s true!
Now, I’m not suggesting you go around hugging everyone you see. It would be annoying. You’d quickly get a reputation as being a nuisance, and probably quite weird. What I am suggesting is that if you love someone or even care about them in some way, show it in a hug every now and then. We all need a cuddle sometimes. With these benefits of hugging ready to be grabbed, you have your ideal excuse!
Of course, some people don’t feel comfortable with hugging for different reasons. Maybe they were never really hugged as a child and find it a little space invading or uncomfortable. Or it can be that they simply aren’t a tactile kind of person. In each case, respect their boundaries.
Never push your hugging onto someone simply because there are benefits to it. Remember, we all have our limitations and those are personal to us all. In that case, a light touch on the arm and a smile might be enough to show them you care.
The benefits of hugging are far-reaching and also quite surprising! The cuddling/love hormone called Oxytocin is at the heart of it all.