Five reasons science says to hug it out!
Updated: May 29
Take 2 hugs and call me in the morning, because hugging really is medicine!
There is no denying that both giving and receiving a hug feels fabulous, but did you know that hugging is actually good for you? It’s true, more than just giving us the warm fuzzies in the moment, a hug is actually a vitamin/antioxidant/antidepressant all wrapped up in two arms. Here are the 5 scientifically proven ways that a hug can benefit your health.
1. Hugs are good for the heart, literally! Research has shown that hugging can decrease heart rate, decrease the stress hormone norephinephrine and lower blood pressure all of which help to decrease the risk of heart disease!
2. Hugging has also been linked to decreased stress and anxiety. Hugging is related to an increase in oxytocin which in turn causes a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol. Increased levels of cortisol can cause the nervous system to initiate a fight or flight response...so lower cortisol equals lower stress. Hugging also releases tension in the body and promotes muscle relaxation which also serves to calm the nervous system.
3. Hugging has been shown to benefit the immune system. Gasp...but what about all those germs passed around touching each other? No problem, hugging takes care of the problem by actually encouraging the body to increase white blood cell count. Hugging also promotes the release of endorphins which can block pain pathways and actually result in decreased pain levels. Just imagine if we all had our recommended dose of daily hugs we could stay healthy and be high on life!!!
4. Hugging is also an important non-verbal communication tool between humans and has been shown to increase levels of trust, communication and self-esteem and decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation. It is also a way for partners to express intimacy and increase emotional bonding outside of the bedroom...leading to greater sexual satisfaction in the bedroom. Listen folks, if you take away one thing from this article: hugs improve your sex life!
5. Lastly, and I know you will all pay close attention to this one...hugging can help you lose weight? No, you don’t burn a ton of calories hugging, but research has shown that holding a hug for at least 30 seconds can boost levels of the “feel good” neurotransmitter serotonin which is linked with not only an increase in positive mood, but better overall appetite control which in turn leads to more conscious eating and a smaller waistline.
Bottom line, hugs may not be the cure all for everything, but they are certainly a great way to keep you and your relationships healthy, physically and emotionally! So, permission granted to hug freely!
About the author: Michelle Fraley, MA, WPCC is a relationship coach and professional matchmaker and founder and owner of Spark Matchmaking & Relationship Coaching, LLC. Her mission to help people connect and maintain healthy, satisfying relationships using mindfulness and intentional love. She lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and 4 furry children.
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