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The Amazing Health Benefits Of Hugging!
How is hugging defined?
A hug can reveal a lot about how you might feel about another person, and it is a good way to bond with one another. Hugging someone we care for also makes one feel good, but there are other physical benefits as well.
Research scientists have discovered that when you hug a friend or loved one, the hormone oxytocin releases into the blood stream.
Oxytocin is also known as the love hormone for the feelings of love or pleasure it engenders when it is released into the blood stream. Studies have shown that this hormone is also instrumental in lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety, and has been found to improve memory function especially when sharing a hug with a loved one.
Hugs teach us how to give and receive, and help us to appreciate how love flows both ways.
12 marvellous health benefits of at least one hug a day!
Research shows that a proper, deep hug can benefit your health in the following ways.
- The loving touch of a hug with someone familiar builds a sense of trust and safety.
- Hugging can instantly raise oxytocin level, which will heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
- Hugging can reduce depression, and is critical for your emotional well-being. As a young child, a hug was usually associated with comfort and appreciation which demonstrated love. Feeling good emotionally also helps to raise and release the hormone serotonin, which is a mood-enhancer, and acts like a natural antidepressant.
- Hugging is essential for healthy emotional and physical development. Babies, and even pets, who do not enjoy the benefits of frequent human touch will not thrive. If human touch is withheld they may get depressed and possibly stop eating.
- Just one hug a day can help to keep stress-related infections like colds and flu at bay by strengthening the immune system. The gentle pressure of contact on the chest, releases oxytocin which lowers stress levels.
- In a relationship it is easy to take your partner for granted, or have a spat which leaves you stressed. A hug can reaffirm your love, reduce stressful feelings, and is a great way to smooth over a disagreement.
- The importance of the oxytocin hormone cannot be overstated – and nor can hugging which promotes the release of oxytocin into the blood stream. Because it plays such a crucial role in keeping stress levels, anxiety, and blood pressure under control, a hug also contributes to a lower risk of heart disease.
- According to research done at the Carnegie Mellon Institute, a good, firm embrace before going into a stressful situation will help you keep calm. This could be an important presentation at work, a medical test which you are concerned about, or even embarking on a long journey. An encouraging hug is just another way to help you cope with the effects of anxiety the event may have caused.
- Results of a study from King’s College in London showed that oxytocin has analgesic effects leading to a reduction in pain intensity. You need a firm hug to stimulate oxytocin release which will improve blood circulation, promote blood flow to the soft tissues, relax tense muscles, and help combat pain.
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Usually when we feel pain, the natural response is to rub and massage the affected area. It has been found that even this natural, simple touch releases sufficient oxytocin to make you feel better.
- If you are beset by loneliness perhaps on certain memorial days because of the absence of a loved one, a hug from a friend or family member can help drive the blues away. The familiar touch from a loved one shows that you are loved and special and boosts your self-esteem.
- Many parents worry that hugging child who is having a tantrum is rewarding bad behaviour – but it is not so! Hugs have been proven to be good for a child’s emotional health, and nothing can calm a tantrum faster than a loving hug from mom or dad.
When a child is throwing an emotional tantrum, he or she is losing control of emotions which they are unable to correct. Hugging a child in a tantrum releases the fantastic oxytocin, and helps the child to avoid a complete emotional crash.
- Hugging promotes brain health and memory. When released through hugging, oxytocin boosts brain health, and stimulates the para-sympathetic nervous system which is the part of the brain which conserves energy, and slows down the heart rate that has risen due to stress.
This demonstrates that hugs are powerful health boosters that you can access every day.
Some golden rules for huggers
You may be one of those prolific huggers who rushes in to hug where even angels fear to tread. Here are some tips for you.
- Before you hug a stranger, non-relative, a casual acquaintance, or a work colleague make sure that a hug would be appropriate – or you may find that you have overstepped the mark. Someone’s body language should tell you whether they are open to spontaneous embraces.
- Cross-sex hugs may also pose some difficulties as some women do not like to be embraced by the opposite sex and the same goes for some men. If the person is unattached, it might seem like you are trying to make a move. However, if you have good friends of the opposite sex and are accustomed to greeting each other with a hug there should be no problems.
- There is growing concern about accusations of sexual harassment often in the workplace. Hugging a colleague to show that you care is no longer a good idea. A simple hug of encouragement can easily be misconstrued as sexual harassment, so save the hugs for occasions such as when someone leaves the company or retires. But first ensure there is objection to farewell hugs in the context of the workplace.
Spread the love and warmth
Hugging takes place in many situations like greetings, farewells, congratulations to graduates, and expressions of condolences at funerals just to name but a few.
Keep to the guidelines and keep hugging – it is something you can do and benefit from the experience every day.