6 Healthy Reasons You Need a Hug Today
Many people will agree there’s nothing like a good hug to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. But hugs can do much more than that. Research shows that hugging may also help reduce stress and lower your risk of anxiety, depression and illness. Hugs may even help you heal.
Need a reason to hug someone today? Here are six of them:
- Lowers stress. Being hugged can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Stress can wreak havoc on your health, especially over the long-term. Uncontrolled stress can contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. It can also compromise your immune system. Finding ways to reduce stress will benefit your health.
- Eases tension. When you hug someone, it relaxes muscles, increases circulation and releases endorphins in your body. This can reduce tension and may even help soothe aches and pains.
- Releases oxytocin. Higher levels of oxytocin can cause stress hormones and heart rate to drop. A study done at the University of North Carolina found that premenopausal women who got more frequent hugs had higher levels of oxytocin and lower blood pressure than participants who didn’t get as many hugs.
- Elevates mood. Hugging can increase levels of dopamine and serotonin, which can boost your mood and relieve symptoms of depression.
- Helps you feel connected. Hugging helps connect you to others and can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. A lack of social connection has been linked to lower survival rates in people with coronary artery disease. Other psychological factors that may be positively affected by hugging, such as stress, anxiety and depression, may also be risk factors for heart disease.
- Reduces your chance of getting sick. Stress may increase your risk of getting a cold, and by reducing stress, hugging makes it less likely you’ll get sick. A recent study found that people who felt more social support and received more hugs were less likely to get a cold, and even if they did, their symptoms were less severe.
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Date Last Reviewed: November 16, 2017
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD