Hug Yourself Happy
Giving or receiving a hug can do wonders for our mood. When stress piles up and life gets tough, a hug can be way more helpful than any words of encouragement. And there’s a reason for that: as humans, we are wired to respond to touch and physical proximity.
Hugging can have such a positive impact that there’s even a National Day for it. National Hugging Day has been celebrated on 21 January since the mid-80s and its purpose is to encourage people to overcome feelings of embarrassment when showing their emotions and to experience first-hand the benefits of hugging.
Six Benefits of Hugging
- Stress Reduction
One of the most obvious benefits of hugging is stress reduction. You only need to think about how much of a relief you feel when you’re stressed and receive a genuine hug. Science confirms this too: a study found that participants were better able to cope with pain and stress if they were arm in arm with their partners.
- Reduced Anxiety
The negative effects of anxiety and low self-esteem can also be reduced by hugging or being hugged. So hug yourself!
- Immunity Boost
A stronger immune system is one of the surprising benefits of hugging. Just like stress can wreak havoc with our immune system, hugging can strengthen it.
- Better Heart Health
Better cardiovascular health is one of the benefits of hugging. In a research study, even a 20-second hug with a romantic partner had beneficial effects for the heart, including lowering blood pressure and improving participants’ ability to deal with stress.
- Better Communication
When learning about the benefits of hugging, we can’t forget that this action is also an alternative form of communication. As humans, we rely heavily on body language and non-verbal communication. Some studies have found that strangers were able to accurately communicate emotions ranging from fear to gratitude just by using different types of touch. Imagine the all positive emotions that can be communicated with a hug!
- Delicious Oxytocin
Last but not least, one of the benefits of hugging is that it increases the production of oxytocin, one of the happiness hormones which is responsible for creating that warm fuzzy feeling. The levels of oxytocin in our body rise when we touch or are physically close to someone, and this has been shown to prompt bonding and make us more trusting.
Finding Happiness in a Hug
In an increasingly touch-averse world, physical contact can be a fantastic mood booster. The benefits of hugging range from better heart health to an increased ability to cope with pain, stress, low mood, and disease. Hugs also communicate positive emotions and contribute to our happiness by strengthening our bonds with others. So, if you have someone to hug, try it out. If not, hug yourself. The benefits are still the same.
This blog post was created as part of our response to the Covid-19 pandemic. For more information about our response, including changes to our service delivery and other resources, please visit: http://familyserviceregina.com/covid19-a-message-from-the-ceo/