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  • Writer's pictureHappy Hearts

HUGGING FOR HEALTH


Hugs really do make us feel better and are good for our health.

Giving or receiving a hug can instantly make us feel better, there are several health benefits to a hug that can have a positive impact on our emotional wellbeing.


Most likely we learnt to hug from a very early age from hugging our parents and family to primary school friends into adolescence. It is a form of greeting to show love and affection and as a means of welcome. Hugs can do the following.

  • Improve relationships. Hugs are a non verbal communication with others. Sometimes a hug can say something that we are not very good at putting into words. Hugs can simply be a platonic form of a greeting but can also support deeper more intimate feelings as well as provide an emotional relief from problems, fears and anxiety.

  • Stress reliever. When stressed our bodies can produce increased levels of Cortisol (your bodies natural stress hormone) the physical touch in the form of a hug can instantly help lower the Cortisol levels.

  • Reduce heart rate and blood pressure. Hugs may support a decrease in elevated heart rates and high blood pressure, frequent hugging from our partners, children, grandchildren, our pets and those we care about can produce an increase in Oxytocin (happy hormone) and a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure.

"An increase in oxytocin is thus associated with a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, People who receive frequent hugs are therefore less likely to be susceptible to cardiovascular disease and related illnesses"

(Researched by Light, Grewen, & Amico, 2005).

  • Improve mood and sense of well being. A hug whether a quick or more embracing hug allows us to become immersed in the here and now and fully present and in the moment, touching, breathing and eye contact increases Serotonin (chemical messenger in our brain) that helps regulate our mood plus the release of Oxytocin which increases our feelings of happiness and contentment.

  • Natural pain relief. Hugs have the power to help reduce the feelings of sadness, loneliness, anxiety and indeed physical pain.




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