What are the benefits of hugging on our mental and physical well-being?
Hugs make us feel better in the moment by offering instant comfort and peace. Better yet, research now shows that hugs can be just as beneficial to your overall health, pretty much like any other healthy habits such as meditation and exercising.
This article highlights 10 science-backed and less-known benefits of hugs to your mental and physical well-being. Furthermore, we tell you how text therapy can help relieve you from any distress in your life.
Let’s get started!
10 Benefits of Hugs for Mental and Physical Health
According to scientists, hugs and kisses offer benefits beyond instant warmth and joy. They play a significant role in our overall mental and physical states, making us lead better lives.
How many hugs do we need a day to reap the real benefits?
According to Virginia Satir, a family therapist, 4 hugs every day will ensure that we can survive our days. For maintenance, 8 hugs daily will suffice. And if we want to keep growing, we need to target at least 12 hugs per day.
How many hugs do you need a day for the best health? You need as many hugs as possible every day to enjoy positive effects on your well-being.
That said, let’s highlight 10 proven benefits of hugs on your physical and mental health.
Hugs Help Minimize Stress
When you hug someone you love, your body releases oxytocin, a hormone that makes you calm and capable of managing stress better. It can trigger laughter, distract you from the stressful issue, or push you to find a solution to your problem.
Moreover, oxytocin can help reduce your blood pressure as well as the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Even if you offer a hug to comfort someone, this act can help reduce your stress levels.
Hugs Are Good for Your Heart
Hugging is great for your heart since it helps keep your blood pressure within normal levels during stressful times.
In a study to illustrate this, researchers divided a group of 200 grownups into 2 subgroups:
- The first group asked romantic partners to hold hands for 10 minutes and then follow it up with a 20-second hug.
- The second group asked romantic partners to sit silently for 10 minutes and 20 seconds.
The findings revealed that people in the first group (those who’d gotten the physical contact beforehand) had greater reductions in blood pressure and lower heart rate increases in response to stressful situations. People in the second group had lower reductions in blood pressure and higher heart rate increases.
These results show that being in an affectionate relationship is better for your heart’s health.
Hugging Releases “Feel Good” Hormones That Elevate Your Mood
Hugging releases “feel good” hormones such as oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. These hormones relax us, make us happy, elevate our moods, and minimize our depression levels.
Studies show that hugging for over 6 seconds triggers the release of oxytocin and serotonin at maximum levels.
Hugging Helps Relieve You from Pain
Hugs can help relieve pain in people. Studies done on persons with chronic pain show that touch helps numb their pain to some extent.
Hugs Help You Fight Colds and Other Illnesses
A study on 404 healthy grown-ups revealed that those who received frequent hugs were less likely to come down with a cold. And if they did, they had less severe symptoms than those who received fewer to no hugs.
Hugs Promote Healthier Relationships
Cuddling or hugging is perhaps the most instinctive way humans show love to other people or animals. By hugging someone, you show them that you love or care for them.
For most people, cuddles show someone’s feelings more profoundly than gifts, words, or actions. Individuals who consider cuddles a love language feel that it’s essential for them to be cuddled to feel cared for and loved.
Oxytocin, a love hormone, will be higher in your blood if you hug your significant other a lot. Therefore, regular warm cuddles can help you build a stronger bond with your partner, family, or pet.
Hugs May Help Overcome Negative Emotions
Various studies have discovered that physical touch can help stabilize your mood by relieving anxiety and stress. It does so by boosting dopamine and serotonin levels in your body, both neurotransmitters responsible for increasing feelings of pleasure/happiness.
Dopamine has been proven to help alleviate negative feelings, including anger and fear.
Hugs Can Improve Sleep
People hugging before falling asleep may promote quality sleep. The hormone oxytocin, which is sometimes casually known as the “cuddle hormone,” is also produced when you snuggle in bed.
It has a calming effect that helps you fall asleep faster, especially if you’re struggling with insomnia. If you find that sleeping while cuddled up makes you wake up severally, try cuddling for some minutes before falling asleep.
Hugs Are a Form of Communication with People
But why are hugs so powerful?
While most people communicate by talking, writing, or gestures, you can also pass a message through touch. By hugging someone, you can communicate the feelings of:
Hugs Can Help Overcome Conflicts in Relationships
Arguments in relationships, though pretty common, can leave you feeling horrible for days. A conflict with your partner can dampen your spirits, killing your motivation to give your best to your tasks and responsibilities. However, hugging can help to buffer the negative impacts of arguments.
Hugging your partner actually mitigate its impact on your mood for the rest of the day. In fact, couples who hug each other often find it easier to cope with conflicts than those who don’t.
You now know the importance of hugs to your overall well-being and happiness. Staying connected to loved ones is paramount to your mental and emotional health.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought social isolation, has changed how we show and experience affection. For this reason, you may start to feel stressed, overwhelmed, emotionally detached, anxious, etc.
If you’re experiencing any of the above feelings or are dealing with a mental health issue, consider online therapy as a solution. E-therapy allows you to connect with a therapist while adhering to Coronavirus rules so that you can get better from the comfort of your home.
An online therapist from Calmerry can help you cope with emotional struggles, improve communication with your partner, and lead a more fulfilling life.
Kate has a B.S. in Psychology and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and has been working in healthcare since 2017. She mainly treated depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, grief, identity, relationship, and adjustment issues. Her clinical experience is focused on individual and group counseling.
You can follow Kate here on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kate-skurat-5348381b9/