I’m a hugger. I hug my family, my friends, my patients…hell, I’ll hug you if I’ve just met you and I think you need or deserve one. Polite hugs last around 3 seconds but research has shown that there is a body and soul benefit if a hug lasts 20 seconds or more.
The Love Hormone
Oxytocin is a hormone that has wonderful benefits on the body. So the next time you are giving or receiving a 20 second plus hug or a cuddle, know that this is happening…
- Appetite is being suppressed
- Trust increases
- Empathy increases
- Improves relationship monogamy
- Reduces fear
- Lowers anxiety
- Increases libido and sexual performance
- Lowers heart rate and blood pressure levels
- Decreases the stress hormone, cortisol
- Interestingly, it also increases lying for the benefit of your group
Make the Connection
Hugs allow us to connect with our fellow humans. It’s a way we appreciate the people around us and acknowledge those we value. It gives us a moment where time slows down and we can be present.
Snuggle Out Disease
By reducing cortisol, the stress hormone, you are able to also prevent many diseases. Autoimmune diseases are very prevalent in the United States. If we can prevent them with a 20-minute hug we can transform the health of the entire nation. Hugging can lower blood sugar levels in those with diabetes and can boost the immune system of cancer patients.
Hugging can communicate love and caring without the awkwardness of words. It can boost self-esteem, especially in children and it will promote the person that is being hugged to hug someone else in return.
Start Them Off Right
Babies that are hugged and held have benefits that are retained in their cells for their entire lives. It results in a greater ability to self-love and show compassion.
Let’s Be Happy
Hugging stimulates the release of dopamine which is our pleasure hormone. It also raises the feel-good chemicals endorphins and serotonin. Dopamine is also what is missing, or at low levels, in depression and the nerve degeneration disease Parkinson’s.
The benefits of hugging extend to the entire nervous system. When the skin detects pressure from a hug, information travels up the long vagus nerve to the brain and can decrease our fight or flight reaction and increase our rest and digestive state.
Hug it out,