We’ve been deprived of many things over the past 15 months but perhaps the most significant is being able to hug. Several studies prove that hugging has a huge number of health benefits, which go far beyond just touching. So, whether you’re a serial hugger or not, we should all embrace the milestone that is May 17th – the day Boris Johnson is expected to announce the next significant step in lockdown easing and the day we can all hold our loved ones again.
Hugging can help reduce stress.
If someone you know is experiencing stress and needs comforting, the act of wrapping your arms around them in a heart-felt embrace, will help to reduce their stress levels. Feel how the person you’re hugging starts to almost melt into your arms. That’s an indication of tension leaving their body. And the best thing is that the hugging will work both ways. It may even reduce your stress levels, too.
Hugging for heart health.
Hugs may be good for your heart. Research has shown that those who hug experience greater reductions in blood pressure levels and heart rate compared to those who don’t.
Hugs can make you happy.
Just like having sex, hugging encourages oxytocin (otherwise known as the love hormone which increases our sense of general well-being) into your system. Oxytocin will naturally help protect your body from the stress hormone, Cortisol.
And it’s not just a romantic hug with a partner that will encourage the production of Oxytocin. Parents get that sense of wellbeing hugging their children and if you don’t have a human to hug, a dog is a great alternative, even though they might not be able to hug you back.
Hugs may make you less vulnerable to illness.
Hugging can shore up your body’s ability to fight off infection. Studies show that those with a greater support system are less likely to get ill and if they do, their symptoms, compared to those who don’t hug, are less severe.
Hugging enhances your self-esteem.
Getting cuddly boosts your self-esteem, too, and creates psychological bonding with people.
Hugging is good for babies
It has been suggested that babies who are hugged a lot will grow up better equipped to deal with emotional stress in later life.
Hugs heal relationships.
Let’s face it, even the happiest couples fall out from time to time. And rows can be devastating for relationships. A proper, heartfelt hug after an argument will really help to heal wounds and get your relationship back on track – at considerably less cost than counselling or therapy. Make a diary date to hug your partner at least once a day.
As if these health benefits for hugging aren’t enough, yet another great thing about hugging is that it doesn’t require any special equipment, you don’t have to go to a special location to do it and it costs nothing. Just get out there on Monday and do it!