I doubt we’d find many people who don’t like hugs. There’s actually a physiological basis for why we love the experience of hugging. Both giving and receiving hugs have numerous health benefits in addition to the warm fuzzy feeling.
Hugs are appropriate in a wide range of situations. They’re given for comfort and support but can also take part in a celebration. They can say hello and goodbye. Platonic enough for teammates, acquaintances, and friends yet still intimate for relationships to show affection.
The culture surrounding hugs has definitely shifted over the years. It’s becoming more acceptable to hug your friends or even people you’re meeting for the first time. And that’s good news for your heath.
Hugging health boosts
Physical contact is very important for humans. The benefits go beyond that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you hold someone. Science has studied how this phenomenon can affect your health.
A hug is almost an involuntary response when we see a loved one in distress. Touch of support can reduce the stress of the person being comforted. Hug away, because it can even reduce stress in the one doing the comforting.
A support system of family and friends has be shown to boost the immune system. Those that had regular interaction with their support system were less likely to get sick. And if they did get sick, their symptoms were much less severe than those with little to no support.
A hug can do a lot for your heart health beyond feeling love. Romantic partners that held hands for 10 minutes and hugged for 20 seconds had greater reductions in blood pressure and heart rate than those that sat together for 10 minutes. An affection relationship may help your heart.
Touch and hugging has even been used therapeutically to treat pain, low self-esteem and anxiety. It’s also an important part of communication. Verbal and visual cues help us relate, but touch can convey a wide variety of emotions. Even strangers can relate kindness with a hug.
How to hug
Now you might be thinking, ‘no instruction needed,’ but most people don’t consider hugging a conscious activity. It’s a quick activity that’s required in some social settings. Flip your thinking and hug with a purpose. You’re giving a gift.
The average hug last for just 3 seconds. A good hug should last longer. Now, I don’t suggest hugging a new acquaintance for 20 seconds. But longer hugs can boost your oxytocin, the bonding hormone. It’s a good way to be closer with your loved ones. A hug is natural, and with the ones you care about, you’ll know how long to hold on to them. They’ll appreciate what you’re trying to convey.
Remember, hugging is free. Don’t be stingy, share the health benefits. From reducing stress to boosting the immune system, hugs are comforting and uplifting. Create and uphold your connections to those around you, and hug away.