benefits of hugging

Seven Benefits of hugging….

Group of people arms entwined in group hug
Hugging boosts wellness

There’s nothing like a hug from a friend to boost your day.  But did you know hugging can actually help keep you healthy?

Science has been studying hugs for years and their results confirm what we all knew…hugging makes us feel better.  But we underestimate the “why” we need those hugs and how they benefit us every day.

Here are 7 key reasons you should offer and get hugs…
  1. Stress relief – when we hug, it triggers the release of chemical hormones. Endorphins travel throughout our body relaxing muscles, de-stressing us and even improving heart health.
  2. Immune booster – Those endorphins boost our immune system. Ever noticed when people go through a crisis they often get sick or catch a cold?  It’s tied to stress and hugs help you fight back naturally.

Unfortunately, as we age…we may suffer from fewer hugs. Studies have shown few hugs lead to a detrimental impact on health.  Get more hugs and you will stay healthy longer and heal better, faster. Seniors who aren’t getting hugs from loved ones benefit from access to a pet they can hug and stoke.

  1. Connectivity – In a world of electronics, we tend to connect more with cell phones than we do with other people. Skin to skin contact – a good hug, helps build relationships, offer comfort and improve outlook. We know babies need held and cuddled. So, it seems, do we adults.
  2. Self-esteem – Hugs make you feel better about yourself. They build confidence. Hugs reduce fears and anxiety. They also strengthen relationships. Couples who hug more have better relationships.
  3. Happiness booster – The release of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine boost our feelings of happiness and reduce depression. The deep touch we experience during a hug or even petting a cat or dog works on our nervous system.  It helps us stay balanced and even sleep better.  They also work on the part of the brain that makes us feel hunger.  More hugs reduce cravings and can help us keep a healthy body weight.
  4. Improve Performance – Studies show that when athletes give each other team hugs the boost in hormones improves their performance. So send your kids, spouse or friends off with a good hug to improve their day…. And get the same benefit for yourself. Hugging is a win-win activity.  Everyone gets equal benefit because our body activates what it individually needs.
  5. Pain relief – Yup, studies have proved that the touch of a loved one can reduce our response to pain. A hug, hand holding, stroking between those with an emotional connection release hormones that provide a drug-free method of pain relief.
Hugging –

A good hug is genuine. It’s freely offered and accepted. It’s never pushy.  A heart to heart hug that lasts for 3 breaths or about 20 seconds gives the greatest results.

How many hugs?  There aren’t any scientific studies on a quota of hugs needed but the psychotherapist, Virginia Satir is often quoted. People need  4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth.  Most of us need more hugs that we are getting.

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