5 Reasons We Should Hug More Often And Be More Affectionate. Science Says It Makes You Happy
I believe that hugs are highly overrated and scarce. People don’t hug enough because we are so awkward with physical affection. But hugs are the cheapest tools to give you instant happiness. I am a sucker for hugs and don’t shy away from breaking into a random one with my fav colleague-friend. Whenever I feel a mood swing approaching or I need to be held, I hug a loved one who volunteers (or doesn’t). If a loved one needs a hug, I give one wholeheartedly and for as long as they want. That makes me happy too.
Virginia Satir, a therapist said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” I don’t know if she has based this on science or not, but I agree with her. Those four hugs feel like my survival kit and if I get more, I am just happy. Give me 12 hugs and I will be jumping like a monkey high on some good stuff. Of course, all these hugs has to be from well-intentioned people, ideally from those who love us. I don’t want any unwarranted hugs from creeps. Anyway, if you’re still not sold on hugging more often and making it part of your daily routine, here are some benefits of hugging. And science agrees!
1. It reduces stress, fear and anxiety
In a study involving heterosexual couples, men were given tiny electric shocks and their women were supposed to hold them. Research said that the part of a woman’s brain associated with stress showed reduced activity. On the other hand, the part that is associated with nurturing instincts showed increased activity. According to scientists, a warm touch such as a hug can reduce your fears and anxieties.
2. You become less likely to fall sick
While it’s not advised to be hugging people so much in times of coronavirus, in other times when there’s no pandemic, it’s actually supposed to protect you from falling sick. According to a study, people who hug more often don’t fall sick often. Even when they do, their symptoms are less severe than of those who call themselves non-huggers.
3. It’s good for your heart health
A study proved that couples who hug and hold hands more have lower heart rate and a healthy blood pressure. So you can say hugging is not just good for your heart in the emotional sense but also in terms of health.
4. It makes you a happier person
Oxytocin, also called the cuddle hormone is a chemical released in our bodies when we are in close physical contact with someone. This hormone makes you feel happy and reduces your stress. According to a study published in NIH Record, the benefits of oxytocin are more significant in women who are in affectionate relationships. Considering I am single af, this fun fact doesn’t make me very happy though!
5. It reduces pain
I can vouch this to be true! Whenever I feel emotional or physical pain, all I want is to be hugged and cuddled. Jamie Bacharach, a certified medical acupuncturist told Bestlifeonline.com, “Hugs help release endorphins, which activate opioid receptors in the brain to minimize pain and discomfort.” A study also suggests that warm touches can reduce pain in patients with fibromyalgia.