Not all health benefits are visible, and the same can be said for the health benefits of hugging!
When we hug someone, it’s generally a person we love or care for. So, as well as having great benefits for your health, they are one of life’s simple pleasures that everyone should receive at least once a day.
It is said that for a hug to make you feel better, it needs to last for at least 20 seconds for you to feel the benefits.
So, take a look at our list of ten reasons why hugs are good for your health and get out and hug someone you love!
10. Calming effects – hugging releases endorphins
When we receive or give a hug, our brains release endorphins that give immediate feelings of pleasure and well-being.
These endorphins can have a real calming effect that benefits our health in a number of ways, leaving us feeling content and stress-free.
9. Relieve stress – nothing beats a good old hug
Certain researchers believe that hugging can be directly linked to relieving stress throughout your day. Hugging and other close contact gestures with people we love and trust boost the natural hormone oxytocin.
It is also said to affect our endogenous opioid system. This system is vital in various human functions, like pain relief, stress resilience, and euphoria induction.
8. Mood booster – something to make you feel better
If you’re feeling low, sometimes a good hug is one of the simple things that can make you instantly feel better.
This is one of the reasons why hugs are good for your health, including your mental health and well-being.
7. Lowers blood pressure – an incredible benefit
It might seem unorthodox that a hug can lower your blood pressure, but it’s scientifically proven to be true. Again, this can be attributed to the oxytocin hormone.
Oxytocin helps reduce cortisol in the body, thus reducing blood pressure levels.
6. Strengthen your immune system – thank you, serotonin
Some studies have found that one of the great benefits of hugging is that they have the ability to give our immune systems a healthy boost.
Through the release of optimum levels of serotonin and oxytocin during a hug, our immune systems are strengthened, especially as serotonin is linked to immune system improvement.
5. Great for our mental health – alleviate depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness
Hugging, cuddling, and general affection can be incredible for a person’s mental health. When someone is feeling depressed, isolated, anxious, or lonely, a hug for an extended period of time can elevate their mood.
It is said that for a hug to be beneficial to our bodies and to release oxytocin, it should last for at least 20 seconds to make you feel better.
4. A good night’s sleep – naturally calming
This is one of the reasons why ‘spooning’ or cuddling in bed often leads to a comfortable and easy night’s sleep.
Through the release of serotonin during a hug, our bodies become more relaxed and calmer. As such, sleep can come easier and deeper.
People take serotonin supplements to treat things like insomnia and, in extreme cases, depression. So, make use of your body’s natural serotonin with a good hug before you go to sleep.
3. Reduces heart rate – slow your breathing
Another one of the reasons why hugs are good for your health is that they are expected to lower your heart rate. Of course, when you hug someone you love, your heart can often flutter quickly with excitement.
However, studies have shown that if your heart rate was high before a hug, it can instantly be evened out from a long hug. This can instantly relieve any anxiety or stress you might have been feeling.
2. Happiness – we need hugs to survive
Author and family therapist Virginia Satir once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth”.
Hugs keep us grounded and remind us that we are loved and appreciated. You often come away from a hug feeling better, even if it’s just the slightest bit. Laughter, smiling, hugging – these are all symptoms of happiness.
1. Helping others – sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered
If a friend or loved one is feeling down, a hug is a great way to help them. Whether they’ve lost someone or just had a bad day, you can make someone you love feel that little bit better by opening your arms to them for a cosy embrace.