There’s no doubt that a hug can make you feel loved, cared for and connected. But did you know that it can also be good for your health?
It turns out that hugging may provide a number of physical and emotional benefits. Research shows that it may help to ease anxiety, stress, loneliness and depression. That makes sense, but hugging has even been shown to help prevent you from getting sick.
Here’s are 4 reasons why you should hug someone today:
Hugs may make it less likely you’ll catch a cold. A 2015 study done at Carnegie Mellon University found that people who perceived that they had more social support were less likely to get a cold. And even if they did catch a cold, their symptoms tended to be less severe. The researchers attributed 32% of that benefit to hugging.
Hugs can reduce stress. When you hug someone, it stimulates the vagus nerve, which causes your body to release a hormone called oxytocin. In turn, this can reduce the amount of stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine in your body and can even lower your heart rate. Uncontrolled stress can contribute to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. One study done at the University of North Carolina even found that women who got more frequent hugs from their partners had lower blood pressure.
Hugs help release tension. When you give or get a hug, it relaxes the muscles in your body and helps increase circulation. This can reduce tension and help to alleviate pain.
Hugs may reduce loneliness and depression. Hugging promotes healthy emotional attachments and helps to build a sense of trust and safety. This can help you feel more connected to people, helping to reduce feelings of loneliness, isolation and depression. Hugs can also lead to the release of serotonin and dopamine, which can improve your mood and make you feel happier.