There are two types of people: huggers and non-huggers. Some people just aren’t the cuddly type. They’re probably the ones who shy away a little bit when you go in for a hug. Others love to show their appreciation, happiness or excitement by hugging those they care about. They are the ones who give those giant bear hugs that you either love, or are a bit afraid of, depending on your hugging preference.
Regardless of how you feel about hugging, the reality is that hugging can convey a message that words often can’t. It helps to create a special bond between two people and can allow the sharing of joy together.
When two people hug each other, it creates a series of health benefits for each person. The health benefits may help convince non-huggers to change their mind about hugging.
1. Hugging forms a bond
According to Psychology Today, hugging releases oxytocin from the brain which causes huggers to bond. This hormone is associated with feelings of contentment and relaxation.
2. Hugging relaxes the body
While a hug may begin quite firmly, most huggers relax their bodies and fall into each other during a hug. This creates a very relaxing effect for huggers, having therapeutic benefits.
3. Hugging can relieve pain
The release of endorphins relieves pain by blocking pain pathways in the brain. It can also help to soothe aching by increasing circulation to soft tissues. So if you’re feeling some pain, hug someone!
4. Hugging increases understanding
A passionate hug creates an exchange of feelings between two people, and produces feelings of understanding and empathy. This comes from the release of oxytocin which is often referred to as the love hormone.
5. Hugging relieves depression
Dopamine levels in your brain are increased when hugging. This helps to boost your mood. Low dopamine levels are associated with depression, self-doubt and lack of enthusiasm. Oxytocin being released also plays a part in relieving depression.
6. Hugging elevates your mood
Hugging can be an instant mood booster by increasing both dopamine and serotonin levels. So if you’re down in the dumps, go and find someone to give a hug to!
7. Hugging alleviates stress
The stress hormone known as cortisol is reduced when hugging. Lower levels of cortisol helps to relax the body and calm the mind, as found by a study suggesting hugs showed a positive correlation with higher relaxation levels.
8. Hugging boosts the immune system
People who hug frequently receive more social support and have less symptoms of illnesses, according to a study.
9. Hugging reduces worry
Hugs and touch reduce worry, according to a study published in Psychological Science. Researchers found that even hugging an inanimate object such as a teddy bear has a positive effect.
10. Hugging improves heart health
A study found that participants who didn’t have physical contact with their partners developed a quickened heart rate by ten beats per minute. Having a slower and stable heart rate helps to decrease blood pressure and lower the chance of heart problems.