6 Amazing Benefits of Hugs You Never Knew About
Did you know that hugs aren’t just comforting but can also lower your stress and anxiety levels and support good cardiovascular health?
Read on and learn about the importance and benefits of hugs. There’s no doubt that they are one of the most widely used displays of affection all around the world and all throughout history.
Humans have an imperative need to give and receive affection. It starts when we’re babies and we look for the love of our parents and their protective embrace.
Benefits of hugs
1. Improve self-esteem
Physical contact gives people more security and self-confidence. A hug forces us to allow another person to enter our personal space. With this direct body-to-body contact, we symbolically open our trust to the other person.
We could say that hugs humanize us. When we embrace someone, we’re giving a clear message of affection, appreciation and empathy. This simple gesture lifts our mood and gives us strength.
2. They teach us another way to communicate
Body language is a true reflection of our emotional state. Our physical movements are communication too, even if it’s not verbal. In a hug, there is a message that both parties intuitively receive and understand.
We may embrace someone when we’re moved by the joy of a reunion. We may give someone a hug to comfort them, or to say “I love you,” whether it be love in a couple, between siblings or among friends. Hugs are body language and ultimately help improve communication between people.
3. Reduce stress and anxiety
Few things can calm a person’s anxiety or panic like a hug. In an emotional crisis, hugs are immensely comforting. Physical contact reduces stress and spreads calm.
Therefore, we can say that one of the benefits of hugs is better emotional health. By reducing stress, they give us more peace, happiness and well-being.
Hugs help in tough times, when we’re overwhelmed by work, or when we just think we can’t go on. No one is so invincible as to not need a hug from time to time.
4. Make your heart healthier
Hugs are also part of a physical manifestation of love. Just like kissing, hugging a loved one also has real effects in your body. In particular, there is an increase in oxytocin levels.
Oxytocin is a powerful neurotransmitter that provides a sensation of pleasure and reduces physical and mental discomfort. In addition, it also supports your cardiovascular system and heart. To sum up, hugs are the most pleasurable and natural way to prevent or improve heart disease .
5. Help with fear in loss
Hugs and other forms of affectionate or friendly physical contact comfort us. In fact, they can make a person’s fear of dying lessen. Simply holding a person or an animal — even a tree — helps us to face it with more peace. It also makes it easier accept the inevitable moment when our lives end.
6. Increase serotonin levels
Serotonin is a chemical that our body secretes, and it acts as a neurotransmitter. When we hug our loved ones, we increase our serotonin levels and feel pleasure and happiness.
A person in a depressed states or with high stress levels has serotonin levels that are below normal. Therefore, one of the benefits of hugs is their ability to balance out serotonin, which is also responsible for regulating sex drive.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- MU News Bureau. (2011). Having Trouble Sharing or Understanding Emotions? MU Researcher Believes Affection Could Help. MU News Bureau. Retrieved from http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2011/0406-having-trouble-sharing-or-understanding-emotions-mu-researcher-believes-affection-could-help/
- Gordon, I., Martin, C., Feldman, R., & Leckman, J. F. (2011, October). Oxytocin and social motivation. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2011.07.007
- Mohammad-Zadeh, L. F., Moses, L., & Gwaltney-Brant, S. M. (2008, June). Serotonin: A review. Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2885.2008.00944.x
- Light, K. C., Grewen, K. M., & Amico, J. A. (2005). More frequent partner hugs and higher oxytocin levels are linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate in premenopausal women. Biological Psychology, 69(1 SPEC. ISS.), 5–21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2004.11.002