5 Surprising Health Benefits Of Hugging
Did you know that 21 January is National Hugging Day? When originally curated in 1984, 21 January was the decided date because this is the time of year when people are typically low in spirits (the classic post Christmas lull, huh?). As a society, we’re not great at displaying physical affection toward those we love in public, so it was thought that perhaps a National Hugging Day might encourage us to.
So, why should we be getting (and giving) more hugs?
Here at Organica we’re all about boosting positivity, confidence and self-love using the most organic methods possible - and we believe that hugs are a great, natural and nurturing thing to start including more of in your day-to-day life.
Now, hugging might not come naturally to you, but there’s no doubt that a friendly embrace requires nothing artificial. We can all recall a time when we’ve needed one, and remember when we’ve given one to someone in need. Hugs are instinctive and can make people feel better, we know that… But why?
Well it turns out a humble hug is more powerful than you think! We’ve dug a little deeper into the physical and mental benefits of hugging, and we were surprised at how many good things can come from one. It’s time to open your arms wide and wrap them around someone who matters, because there really are only positive rewards to reap.
Hugs Relieve Stress
Regular hugging can help us feel supported. Just check out the science! Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found that frequent hugs reduced our likelihood of feeling stressed. Over at the University of California, researchers found that when a group of wives held their husband’s arms whilst they received electric shocks, each woman’s area of the brain that’s associated with stress showed less activity. The areas associated with the rewards of maternal behavior showed more activity. So it’s fact! Physical touch intended to comfort can directly help our brain reduce stress – how amazing is that?
Hugs Alleviate Anxiety & Depression
Hugging someone releases the hormone dopamine. It’s the hormone responsible for inducing feelings of happiness. People who are anxious or depressed typically have low levels of dopamine, so why not offer them a hug?
Make sure to power up your hug by applying Organica’s Pure Zen roll-on to your pulse points before offering a calming embrace. The infusion of orange oil is a natural alleviator of depression, stress, anger and anxiety. Ingredients also include lavender oil which is renowned for its ability to relax any worried mind. Just apply the roller to pulse points; behind the ears, temples, neck, inside of the elbows and wrists and let the aroma get to work. The Pure Zen roll-on is vegan, hypoallergenic, paraben and sulphate free too… What’s not to feel zen about?
Hugs Reduce Feelings Of Loneliness
Hugging also releases oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin elevates feelings of intimacy and helps increase the social bonding between two beings. Hugging can boost romantic attachment but also alleviate the negative feeling/worry of being alone.
Oh, and this doesn’t need to be a human-to-human hug - hug your pet! Science has discovered that dogs also have a heightened oxytocin release when you interact with them and pet them. Best news ever!
Hugs Boost Physical Performance
Athletes have been found to perform better when they show physical encouragement toward one another (such as hugging). Did you know that sport teams that display the most touch-bonding behaviours are among the best performing and highest ranking?
Hugs Help Your Health
Hugs may protect you against getting sick! Back at Carnegie Mellon University, they studied 400 adults and found that participants with a good support system were less likely to get sick, and those with that support system who did get sick had symptoms that were much less severe than the participants who had no support system at all.
Hugs can also help your heart! The University of North Carolina split 200 adults into two groups. The first group held hands with their romantic partner for 10 minutes, then hugged for 20 seconds and the second group just sat in silence with their loved one for the same amount of time. People in the first group all recorded lower blood pressure and heart rates when compared to the second group! It really is amazing what physical affection can do to our bodies and minds.
The benefits of hugging are clearly overwhelming, but it’s important to know the hug is welcome before we close in for a cuddle. Always ask first, unless of course you know the person extremely well and can sense it. It’s important to respect a person’s physical boundaries when it comes to embracing them.
We can all get consumed in our busy lives which risks the reduction of our social interactions – and ultimately our hugs! Hugs can feel socially awkward sometimes but practise makes perfect, so start by hugging your loved ones more often. Touch is an incredibly powerful way that we send messages to each other, human to human (or human to pet!). The science proves that regular hugs, no matter how brief, can provide the most positive and natural effects on our brains and bodies.
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