Whether you are greeting a friend hello or are wrapped up in the loving embrace of your partner, hugs definitely make us feel all fuzzy and warm inside. Apart from making us feel loved and protected, this physical gesture can also improve our overall well-being. Whether it is a big bear hug, just a simple squeeze or an act of cuddling there are a number of reasons why we all should embrace the comforting act of, well, embracing others.
Below is an overview of 10 reasons why we should be generous with hugs:
1. Hugs Make Us Feel Better
The effects of a hug are not restricted to our arms. When we hug someone, the body produces oxytocin, which makes us feel fuzzy and warm inside. This chemical is also associated with social bonding. It is a neuropeptide, which helps in promoting feelings of trust, devotion and bonding.
2. More Hugs Reduce Blood Pressure
The release of bodily hormones that ensues during a hug is not only good for happy feelings, but is also great for your overall health. When a person touches you, the sensation on the surface of your skin triggers pressure receptors, which are known as Pacinian corpuscles. These receptors transmit signals to your vagus nerve, the part of the brain that regulates blood pressure.
3. Hugs Can Alleviate Our Fears
A research published recently in Psychological Science showed that touching and hugging considerably lowers fear of mortality. Several studies have revealed that hugging others, even inanimate objects like teddy bears, soothes our existential fears. Even trivial and fleeting instances of interpersonal touch help people in dealing effectively with their existential concerns. Hugs are great because they help in instilling in people a sense of existential worth.
4. Hugging is Good for Our Hearts
Embracing another human being may not only warm your heart, it can also act as good medicine. In an experiment conducted at the University of North Carolina, it was demonstrated that subjects who did not have any physical contact with their partners reported a higher heart rate of 10 beats per minute, while those who hugged their partners during this experiment reported a heart rate of only 5 beats per minute.
5. Hugs Can Be Beneficial For Adults
Studies at the Ohio State University indicate that physical touch and hugging becomes more important with age. The older a person gets, the more fragile they become physically, so physical contact is increasingly vital for good health. Research has also indicated that loneliness, coupled with ageing, can cause stress levels to rise and have adverse effects on our health. By hugging someone, we can reduce our feelings of loneliness.
6. Hugs Relieve Stress
Ever felt strung out? Go and give someone a hug. Embracing others immediately reduces the amount of cortisol, the stress hormone, produced in our bodies. Giving hugs also releases tension in our bodies and sends calming messages to our brain. Interested in doing something positive for future generations? Hug them when they are little.
7. Hugs Raise our Self-Esteem
If you give or receive more than 4 hugs in a day, you will experience a significant enhancement in your self-esteem. This practice has the potential of reducing fear and anxiety and decreases our heavy reliance on others to feel at ease. This is mainly a result of the feel-good hormones and positive energy that are released every time you receive or give a hug. This scientific finding also explains why children who tend to hug their stuffed animals feel safer than if they are alone.
8. Hugging Reconnects Our Mind with Our Body
Most of us try our best to live more consciously. However, when chaos develops, which is often the case at the workplace, while on the computer, or behind the driving wheel, a nice hug can reconnect us with the idea of conscious existence. A good hug usually prompts us towards deeper breathing, better posture and a relaxed state of mind.
9. Hugging Develops Patience
We foster connections with people when we take the time to acknowledge and appreciate each other. Hugging others is one of the easiest ways of showing acknowledgement and appreciation. This world is a busy place where we are in a perpetual rush to get to the next task. By taking a minute and slowing down to embrace others sincerely, we are helping ourselves, others and developing better patience.
10. A Hug Feels Incredible
To be serious, the power of human contact is deep and often our bodies are brimming with nerves ready for stimulation. Nearly all of us crave human touch throughout the day but are just not aware of it. Ever wondered why people dole out big bucks on massage? A long, good squeeze not only lifts our spirits, it also feels wonderful to our body.