Have you hugged someone today?
A famous quote by mother of family therapy, Virginia Satir says:
We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.
Personally, I love hugs.
Hugs are comforting. It makes us feel good. We hug when we are excited, happy, victorious, and in love, or we hug when we are feeling sad, and need a little extra comforting.
Whatever the reason, the benefits of hugging goes beyond the comfort of physical touch and gesture of acknowledgment.
It has been said that the average length of a hug between two people is about 3 seconds. That’s a tiny investment of time to feel genuinely good and content.
The even more good news is that we can upsurge the benefits of a hug, by merely expanding the hugging time!
Researchers have discovered that when a hug lasts 20 seconds or more, there is a therapeutic effect on the body and mind.
How can hugging help us mentally, emotionally, and physically?
1- HUGGING STIMULATES OXYTOCIN
A genuine and sincere hug, causes the boy to produce a hormone called oxytocin or the love hormone. Oxytocin can make us feel safe, calm our fears, and reduce anxiety and stress. It increases the sense of contentment, reduces physical pain, increases pleasure sensations, and sexual desires.
When oxytocin is released into our bodies by our pituitary gland, it lowers both our heart rates and our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Cortisol is also responsible for that little extra weight around your waistline. So, in a way, hugging indirectly can support weight loss as well. It certainly beats dieting!
1. HUGGING STIMULATES DOPAMINE
In addition to releasing oxytocin, hugs also stimulate brains to release dopamine, the pleasure hormone- the feel-good hormone. Increasing pleasure, increasing human bonding, and decreasing stress by decreasing stress, we reduce the chance of many physical illnesses.
Dopamine is also responsible for increasing motivation!
YES, please! I definitely want some of that 🙂
Need more reasons to hug?
Hugs strengthen your immune system. Hugs can help stimulate the thymus gland, which regulates the body’s production of white blood cells, which fight off disease.
Hugs relax your muscles. Hugs relieve tension in the body and soothe the pain. As a result, they increase circulation to the soft tissue and relax the muscles.
A hug is the easiest way to show appreciation and acknowledgment of another person, no words necessary; a simple, genuine embrace is all we need to boost our self-esteem, confidence, and compassion.
A baby first recognizes his or her parents by their touch. As infants, cuddles, hugs, and lovingly caressing instills love and self-worth in us and remains part of our neurology and gets imprinted at a cellular level as adults.
Hugs, therefore, cultivate SELF-LOVE.
Hugs have no side effects and require no prescription. They’re free and can be given and received anywhere, at any time. And now that you know the extra benefits of a hug, go ahead start hugging.
PS: You can’t fool your body! If you want to reap all the benefits of a hug, your hug needs to be sincere and genuine. A flimsy and unsympathetic hug doesn’t count.
And, yes, hugging your pets counts as well!