Are you a hugger, or not so much?
If you are a hugger, we have good news for you! And if you're not big on hugging, here are 10 reasons why you may want to embrace the practice of embracing more often...
According to numerous studies, research shows that hugging can:
1. Deepen Relationships
Everyone talks about how important communication is in relationships, but they often forget about how important touch is. Sometimes if you, or your partner, have have had a particularly bad day at work, a good long hug may be all that's needed to ease the frustration of the day. Plus it brings you back into focus on just you and your partner in that moment.
2. Release Feel-Good Hormone, Oxytocin
Also called the "love hormone", oxytocin that can (among many other wonderful things) create feelings of intimacy, empathy, trust and generosity.
3. Lower Blood Pressure
When someone touches your skin, the sensation can activate receptors in your body called Pacinian corpuscles. These send signals to an area of your brain that is responsible for lowering blood pressure (among other things).
4. Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Studies done on couples who held hands and hugged for a period of time, show significant reductions in blood pressure and lowered heart rate vs. couples who, for the same period of time, did not touch.
5. Reduce Stress
Giving someone a hug, or even a supportive touch, can go a long way to make them - and you - feel comforted in times of stress and pain. Sometimes it can even be more effective than words.
6. Reduce Anxiety
Have you ever gone to a party, event or friend's house, where perhaps you didn't know many of the people there? Since hugging can inspire positive feelings and increased optimism, if you were to receive a hug as soon as you arrive at the party/event/friend's place, you would likely feel far happier and more social going in.
7. Fight Fatigue
When you're feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, lonely, etc, any or all of these feelings can leave you feeling exhausted. The oxytocin released during hugging can uplift your spirit, improve your positive feelings and leave you feeling rejuvenated.
8. Boost Immune System
When you feel loved and loving in return, you can sometimes feel invincible. Our minds are powerful organs! When you feel like nothing can hurt you, including sickness, your mind tends to believe it.
9. Fight Infections
In addition to the mental power boosting your immune system, the oxytocin that gets released during hugging, also increases hormones that fight off infections. Maybe during these cold Winter days, instead of keeping our distance from each other to avoid getting sick, what we should be doing is hugging more!
10. Ease Depression
Here's that powerful oxytocin at work again. There's good reason it's called the "feel-good" hormone. Because that's exactly what it does... making it the perfect antidote to depressive feelings.
Whether you’re a hugger or not, for #HuggingDay (January 21st), we challenge you to go out and hug someone today! Or feel free to stop by our office, where Sadie our therapy dog, is more than happy to provide many free hugs!