It is true that nutrition and exercise are important for living a productive and healthy life. However, hugs can be just as helpful, by keeping you in a good mood, which is always beneficial for your health. So, when was the last time you gave or received a hug? If it’s been a while, find somebody to hug right now! Several studies show that hugs may just be the secret ingredient to a better, healthier, and more productive lifestyle. xoxo
Benefits of Hugs for Mind and Body
Scientific research supports the theory that stimulation by touch is extremely helpful for people’s emotional, as well as physical, well-being. A therapeutic touch, such as a hug, is recognized as a powerful tool for healing. In fact, it’s now a part of nurses’ training in several large medical centers around the world. A hug is used to help relieve pain, depression, and anxiety. It can also help rekindle a patient’s will to live, and encourages the growth of premature babies deprived of touch in their incubators. Studies also show that a proper hug, where the hearts are pressing together, can benefit you in numerous ways, such as:
- Relaxes Muscles – Hugs help release tension in the body and soothe aches by increasing blood circulation in soft tissues.
- Safety and Security – The therapeutic touch of a hug helps build trust and a sense of safety. This helps you with open and honest communication.
- Boosts Oxytocin Levels – Increased Oxytocin levels help you respond positively to your social environment. Hugs can instantly boost these oxytocin levels, which can heal feelings of anger, loneliness, and isolation.
- Increases Serotonin Levels – Serotonin is a hormone popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of happiness and well-being. Holding a hug for an extended time lifts these serotonin levels in your body, elevating your mood, and creating a feeling of joy.
- Balances Out The Nervous System – The galvanic skin response of a person giving or receiving a hug causes a change in skin conductance. This causes an effect in the moisture and electricity of the skin, leading to a more balanced nervous system.
- Strengthens the Immune System – The emotional charge and the gentle pressure on the sternum a hug creates, activates the “Solar Plexus Chakra”. This stimulates the thymus gland that helps in regulating and balancing the body’s production of white blood cells, keeping you disease free and healthy.
The Power of Hugging
Hugging helps you accomplish many things you have never even thought about. Not only does it make you feel good about yourself but it also helps you open doors to feelings, making you feel special and important. Hugs have the ability to build self-esteem, and also help curb your appetite – a person eats less when nourished by hugs. They also ease tension and help you overcome fears as they give you a feeling of safety and security.
Hugging also helps you fight heart diseases as it reduces stress, and lowers heart and breathing rates. It is even considered as good exercise, as it provides stretching exercise for those who are short and stooping exercise for those who are tall. Last but not the least, it offers a healthy and safe alternative to alcohol and other drugs by reducing tension and increasing relaxation.
How to Hug
Many people do not like their personal space to be invaded and may find hugging very odd, but in order to receive all the benefits mentioned above, it is important that one learns the proper way to hug. Hugging may sound like the simplest thing on earth, but it has a distinct set of steps:
As you approach, you have to indicate the impending hug, typically with one or both your arms thrown wide. Wait for the person you are hugging to indicate the hug will be accepted. Then approach and embrace.
The actual embrace is the main part of the hugging process. It may be one or two armed. The embrace lasts only a few seconds, and if successful, it should lead to feelings of comfort and happiness. Distress will only occur in case of misunderstandings.
During the embrace, there may be a variety of other interactions and actions, such as a back-slap, back-pat, back-rub, a squeeze, a cuddle, a lift, spoken words, and so on.
Of course, a point comes when you have to let go. This may be determined by ritual timing. At other times, you may start to pull away and the other person senses this and releases their clasp.