Hug, embrace, cuddle, whatever you want to call it – is a universal way of showing and feeling affection. When we hug someone, the posterior pituitary in our brain releases oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” This hormone sets of a cascade of electrical impulses in our brain, which slows our heart, lowers our blood pressure, making us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Through a sincere hug we convey our love to the other human being in a way that can never be elucidated through our words alone. While we’re locked in an embrace, we feel that we ease away our burdens, which are replaced by feelings of happiness and trust.
But besides making us feel loved and protected, this touching gesture can also do wonders for our physical well-being. Numerous studies have revealed positive health benefits of hug. Here are 10 benefits of hugging:
1. Hugging may stop you from catching a cold. Believe it or not, according to a Carnegie Mellon University study, healthy adults who embraced regularly were less likely to come down with a cold. The study was conducted by Dr. Sheldon Cohen on 400 healthy adults. The researchers found that the participants who viewed themselves as having good social backing and frequently embraced others had less or no signs and symptoms of infection. On the other hand, participants who went through interpersonal conflict and those who received less or no hugs, showed various signs and symptoms of infection.
2. Hugging lowers stress. According to the same Carnegie Mellon study, hugging may help you relax a bit. So, try to get a good squeeze before embarking on a stressful situation – a board meeting, a worrying medical test, or a lengthy voyage.
3. Hugging is good for your heart. According to a study from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, hug is good for heart health. The study showed that participants who hugged their mates developed a quickened heart rate of 5 beats per minute, compared to 10 beats per minute among the individuals who didn’t have any contact with their partners.
4. Hugging increases bonding. The release of oxytocin in our brain increases our feelings of commitment and intimacy, causing us to bond with our partner.
5. Hugging eases our fears. A study published in the journal Psychological Science showed that hugs and touch notably reduce our worry of death. According to the studies, hugging – even if it is a lifeless object such as a teddy bear – helps pacify one’s existential fears.
6. Hugging increases empathy and understanding. A passionate hug triggers the exchange of feelings across your bioenergetics field generated by the heart. This causes you to empathize with the person you’re hugging. This chemistry helps build trust between individuals in a manner that words simply cannot.
7.Hugging is vital for our survival. Hugging isn’t just a feel good experience, it is actually crucial to our physical and emotional survival. Deb Castaldo, PhD, a relationship expert and family therapist in New Jersey, reports that infants and even animals who do not receive touch can literally become so disheartened that they may stop eating, which would eventually lead to death.
8. Hugging relaxes muscles. When we hug, it relieves tension in our body. Hugs can ease our physical pain by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.
9. Hugs balance out our nervous system. Our skin has a network of small egg-shaped pressure sensors. These touch sensors, known as pacnician corpuscles, are connected to the brain via the Vagus nerve. The galvanic skin response of someone getting a hug reveals a significant change in skin conductance. The effect of moisture and electricity in the skin during hugging reveals a balanced nervous system.
10. Hugging becomes increasingly important with age. According to an Ohio State University study, the older we get, the more fragile we become. So, physical contact becomes increasingly crucial for good health. Many studies have shown that loneliness in old age can increase stress and have negative health effects. A hug can instantly make us feel closer to our partner and reduce feelings of loneliness.
To conclude, a hug can bring great changes within us: it can strengthen our bonds and can establish a sense of trust between two people. A hug can open our hearts to each other. The release of “love hormones” can calm our minds, ease tensions and anxiety. So, whether it’s a bear hug, cute cuddling or just a simple squeeze, keep hugging; it will ease your pains, bring ecstasy and take your breath away!!
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