We hug others when we are excited, happy, sad, or trying to comfort. Hugging, it seems, is universally comforting. Hugging someone is a strong way to show any kind of emotion in you. It makes us feel good, loved and trusted. It turns out that hugging is proven to make us healthier and happier.
According to scientists, the benefits of hugging go beyond that warm feeling you get when you hold someone in your arms. Hugging gives out positive vibes and deals a lot of negativity. Few of the health benefits could be:
- Hugs help you boost your heart health
The hormones that are released in the body after a hug aren’t just good for happy feelings — they can also help your physical health. When someone touches you, the sensation on your skin activates pressure, which then sends signals to the vagus nerve, an area of the brain that is responsible for lowering blood pressure. Human contact also lowers your body’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol, that in turn helps ease your blood flow and lower your heart rate.
- Hugs help reduce stress
a friend or family member is dealing with something painful or unpleasant in
their lives, give them a hug. Getting a
good squeeze before going into a stressful situation can help you relax and
calm down a bit. The hug could even help you stay calm, cool, and collected
during the event. The reason for this is that when we hug or kiss a loved one,
our oxytocin levels go up. This powerful hormone is often called “the bonding
hormone”, because it promotes attachment in relationships, including between
mothers and their newborn babies.
Oxytocin has the ability to alleviate social anxiety and produce feelings of
trust. It also has the peripheral ability to reduce stress.
Researchers found that the parts of every woman’s brain are associated with stress showed reduced activity while those parts associated with the rewards of maternal behavior showed more activity. When we hug someone to comfort them, these parts of our brain may show a similar response. In totality, the whole body functions differently by a simple 20 seconds hug.
- Hugs can help increase the immunity of your body
It has been observed after researches done and studies made that people who are more into conflicts, arguments and daily stressed out routines are more susceptible to cold, headaches and anxiety. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University set out to determine whether social support, such as hugging, might, in turn, be protective against such infections.
A study of over 400 adults, researchers found that hugging may reduce the chance a person will get sick. The participants with a greater support system were less likely to get sick. And those with the greater support system who did get sick had less severe symptoms than those with little or no support system.
- Hugs can enhance relationships
Hugging makes you bond better with your partner. This is because, when you’re hugging, your body releases oxytocin, a hormone which causes an increase in feelings of commitment and intimacy. Physical touch also makes you feel more connected. And it also encourages empathy and understanding and builds trust between the two of you in a way that can’t be done through words alone.
Researchers suggest hugging may be a better way of making someone feel heard, rather than getting them to talk about their feelings. Sometimes, prying can make someone feel worse, while a hug doesn’t warrant an explanation.
Some people may just require more time before they are comfortable with embracing, while others will never be keen on it. But for those who do love a cuddle, there seem to be a lot of benefits.
- Hugging relieves pain
Scientists have found that major emotional bonds can reduce pains to a huge extent. This effect is called ‘love induced analgesia. Researchers recruited dozens of female volunteers and repeatedly subjected temporary mild pain by touching them with a hot metal rod. In one experiment, a complete stranger held the women’s hands to comfort them. While in the other experiment they had certain partners standing beside them for moral support but not touching them. In the final experiment, the partners were allowed to hold and stroke the woman’s hand as she was made to undergo the pain.
The result showed that when the loved one touched their skin, volunteers’ pain score dropped significantly. They also found out that more the partner showed empathy during the experiment, lower was the level of pain and greater the level of relief. The study concluded that social touch makes a huge difference in relieving pains and also may increase the bond between romantic partners.
- Hugs can help depression
Along with oxytocin, hugging can also cause the body to produce dopamine which is known as the pleasure for the hormone. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. It also helps to regulate movement and emotional responses.
Dopamine levels drop can cause brain activities to behave differently. It can cause depression which is characterized by low energy and lack of motivation. Hugs make people happier, healthier and help any relationship to get stro