We hug when we are sad, joyful, and happy, but why do we feel the need to hug someone?
Is it for emotional support, or is it human nature?
It has been proven that hugging has health benefits as well as being comforting, so in this article, we’ll look at six health benefits of hugging.
Hugs help reduce stress and anxiety.
If someone is experiencing something unpleasant or upsetting, our natural reaction is to hug them and give them comfort.
But this doesn’t just benefit the person needing the hug.
Physical touch is proven to reduce stress levels and calm the person, but it also works the same for the person giving the hug.
Watching someone you care about experience pain is upsetting, and by hugging or holding the person, you are sympathizing with them and showing affection.
This will also make you feel better and more relaxed about the situation.
Hugging can be a calming experience, and feeling another human’s touch can alleviate stress.
It can make you feel happier, which leads to a healthy mind.
Hugging helps children develop healthy brains.
Children need to experience hugging during their upbringing, as not only is it comforting, but it helps them grow.
Human contact, such as hugging, helps children develop a healthy and strong brain through sensory development.
Hugging is one of the most positive sensory-stimulating things that children need to help their brains grow.
Studies of children who have grown up in orphanages where hugging is practiced less show an increased level of cognitive development issues and lack of developed motor skills.
The Genetic Psychology Monographs published a study that demonstrated that infants that received 20 extra minutes of physical touch through hugging scored higher in developmental assessments.
Infants who received fewer hugs during this period of ten weeks showed dramatically lower development in the brain.
This being said, only certain types of gentle and affectionate touches helped the brain develop, hugging being the most effective.
We need four hugs a day to survive.
Not only as children do we need hugs to help growth, but as adults too.
Studies have shown that unlimited hugs a day will do us good. According to family therapist Virginia Satir, it is essential to our existence and to lead a happy life.
Her famous quote is a guideline for the impact a certain amount of hugs per day will have on the average adult human.
“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
It is important that we hug to improve communication skills, build trust and reduce stress.
Satir quotes that four hugs a day will help us survive, which might seem like a lot to most people with busy lives.
Hugs can speak a hundred words.
Hugging is a form of comfort and communication when words can’t be said.
We find comfort in hugging because we feel a bond and safety, which is often linked back to our development as a child.
It is important for parents to hug children as it helps them to associate hugging with comfort and safety, which is important throughout life.
Hugging builds trust; by taking a person into your arms, you are choosing to be close to them and to connect.
This connection allows someone to communicate feelings with someone through touch.
There are many different types of hugs, some more intimate than others and some more comforting than others.
Hugs can say hundreds of words, just from where you choose to touch, or the physical strength of a hug.
In romantic relationships, a hug with a hand around the waist could be more intimate than a hug around the chest.
Strong embracing hugs can represent joy or strength between you, whereas hugging whilst looking into each other’s eyes could be more romantic.
It is important to hug to communicate these feelings with one another, and it can be a healthy way of showing your love to one another, as well as receiving comfort.
Hugging improves blood pressure.
It has been proven that hugging can help your heart keep healthy.
A study between romantic partners showed that hugging could lower cardiovascular activity.
The study involved 66 African Americans and 117 Caucasian romantically involved or co-habiting couples.
The experiment allowed half the couples to hold hands and hug whilst watching a ten-minute romantic video, and the other half weren’t allowed physical contact with their partners.
The couples that could touch showed lowered blood pressure levels as they became relaxed and felt loved.
As a result, it shows that couples who have affectionate relationships will naturally have lowered blood pressure, which is better for your heart.
Feeling relaxed with someone or associating a loving touch with someone will not only relax you but make you happier.
Hugs boost your immune system.
A hug a day keeps the doctor away!
The hormone Oxytocin is released when we hug. Higher levels of Oxytocin can reduce inflammation and help wounds heal faster.
A study published on December 19, 2014, monitored 404 healthy adults to see how hugging affected their health.
The study showed that people with stronger communities and friendship groups on average received hugs on a more regular basis.
These patients also suffered minor symptoms of common colds, unlike others in the study who had less support and more severe symptoms.
The outcome was that if you have a supportive network and receive lots of hugs, then you are less likely to get ill, as your mental health and immune system are boosted.
This was also reflected when the participants with better support groups became sick, they on average, healed faster than those with less of a community.
There is also the added factor that by hugging, you are exposing yourself to mixed bacteria and germs and therefore naturally building up your immune system.
Hugging is a natural human form of communication between one another when we want to express a feeling.
This could be because of joy, sadness, or affection, and these are all important reasons why we need to hug.
Expressing these feelings and building trust with other humans leads to a healthier life.
Hugging is integral to our development and health as humans.