5 Reasons Why Scientists Say You Need More Hugs
We all love the warm hugs of a beloved one after a hard workday, the welcoming hugs of friends at a long-awaited meeting, the gentle mom’s hugs. They are so enjoyable for us that we want to return to them again and again. And there is a reason for this! It turns out that the benefits of hugs for a person are not limited only to pleasure. The intertwining of hands and bodies is useful for health, well-being, and mood. Without hugs, it is impossible to create the right contact between a child and a mother, between partners and friends. Scientists are sure that hugs have many benefits to our mental and physical health.
1. Hugs relieve stress & anxiety and make you happy
In a recent study, scientists tried to find out if hugs really do have a calming effect, especially if you are faced with conflict and stressful situations during the day. As a result, they concluded that those who were hugged after a tense situation recovered faster and came to a comfortable state. It didn’t matter the gender of those who have a hug or the type of relationship those people had. Tactile contact deactivates the brain parts that respond to threats and produces fewer hormones that signal the body’s stress response. Hugging promotes the production of oxytocin, the chemical responsible for well-being. Besides, opioid receptors in the nervous system what are responsible for reducing discomfort, are activated too. It makes you feel safer and become less sensitive to physical pain and less susceptible to potentially dangerous emotional experiences.
2. Hugs improve your immune system and protect against Illness
The idea that hugs can relieve cold symptoms, at first glance, quite absurd. But research proves this surprising fact. Experiment participants were exposed to the cold virus, after which the researchers conducted regular checkups to assess symptoms of the disease. Scientists found that those subjects who felt social support and hugged more often than others had fewer symptoms and recovered faster. But don’t hug everyone amid the COVID-19 pandemic – this year is an exception!
3. Hugs are beneficial to your heart in many ways
The study, conducted at a U.S. university, involved 60 women between the ages of 20 and 50. They all had been married or in a civil union for at least six months. First, the participants were asked to sit down next to their partners. Then to remember the happy moments of their life together, and to have a few seconds of hugs with their beloved man. After that, the men had to leave the room, and the women were given the task of preparing and recording a speech about something that made them feel negative emotions. After the women hugged their partners, they complete the stressful task with much lower blood pressure plus heart rate than those who did not get the hugs. People who regularly hug their loved ones in everyday life have higher oxytocin levels in their blood and correspondingly lower blood pressure.
4. Hugs reduce pain
Hugging a loved one reduces pain, but the mere presence of a partner or contact with a stranger has no analgesic effect. Scientists explain this effect by the fact that painful feelings recede into the background when there is empathy between people in love. Then embracing with a loved one, the brain zone responsible for pleasure is activated, and a triggered process similar in effect to narcotic intoxication.
5. Hug for self-esteem and relaxation
Hugs increase self-esteem, especially if you are used to getting embraces from an early age. The human body remembers the feelings of hugging your parents and subsequently forms a love for yourself. Hugs also help relax muscles and relieve tension in the body by increasing blood circulation.