Hugs Seriously Benefit Your Emotional Health

· March 26, 2017
Hugs don't just feel good; they're also a very healthy part of your life! Learn about the important benefits of hugs.

Hugs are definitely the kind of non-verbal communication that we should all practice more often with those who are closest to us.

They also clearly benefit our emotional health.

We’re talking about the most widespread gesture in the world. Hugs know no language, culture or religion. They even transcend our own species.

Animals also understand hugs – or rather,  skin-to-skin contact as a way to connect with another member of their social group. This basic gesture communicates a sense of safety and closeness and creates bonds between members.

We could say then that hugs, when understood as physical proximity, are universal. And we all, in a way, speak this emotional language.

Let’s learn a little more about this.

1. Physical closeness as a form of growth

abraza a tu pareja

There are nuances to the several aspects of hugging we’ve undoubtedly personally experienced.

Hugs are meaningful as long as they come from people who we have a positive and rewarding bond with.

However, the physical closeness of a stranger is often seen as a threat.

When we hug someone or they hug us, this reinforces a social bond. This is so basic and elemental that it’s also a very healthy source of personal growth.

We always value our independence, our ability to improve ourselves, and our ability to enjoy our moments of solitude. However, no one can deny that these meaningful gestures make us feel good.

We’re social beings, after all. Hence, we need this kind of language to feel that we’re connected to someone and something, like a family or a group of friends.

2. Our brains need hugs, especially in early childhood

Abrazo

Children who are hugged and feels the warmth of their parents from the moment they’re born grow with greater maturity and emotional balance.

The brain matures from “inside to outside” and “back to front.” This means that the brain structures that require more attention in a newborn are those related to emotions.

When a baby doesn’t feel fear or feels safe and loved at all times, this makes structures like the hippocampus or the cerebral amygdala mature without the presence of stress associated with the feeling of abandonment.

Being hugged by your parents from when you’re born to 3 years old is fundamental to your later emotional development.

3. When words don’t come out, let hugs save you

You’ve probably lived with a partner, a relative or a friend at some point in your life.

There are times when our emotions control us. For instance, we may be arguing with someone we love and sometimes we end up saying something unintentionally that hurts them, which we later regret.

When we’re aware that words are no longer useful in the situation and that we’ve messed things up, we can make use of the hugs and let them save us.

4. We all know how to hug, but we don’t always do it

There are many people who like being hugged but don’t always have the initiative to do it.

Perhaps it’s because of simple shyness,  indecision or not knowing how to break the ice to get to a position in the relationship where hugging isn’t awkward.

When it comes to hugging, there’s one simple rule: if you feel like it, if you need it, and if you want it, then do it.

After all, there’s nothing like giving about five hugs a day!

Embracing our parents, partner, children or friends who are having a difficult day always helps, consoles, and comforts everyone.

5. Hugging takes care of your emotional health

chimpance-abrazo

Hugs also have a strong presence in the animal world. However, they’re quite different to how human beings understand hugs. For instance, animals don’t use hugs to greet or say goodbye to each other.

Animals seek closeness as a union and reinforcement of a social bond.

We should also use them for this purpose. This is how we could calm many fears, reduce stress and control anxiety much better.

A hug from a person we love helps us to be more present. In other words, it helps us to enjoy the here and now, which leaves no room for fear.

In this moment, there’s only the reaffirmation of a bond, and endorphins and oxytocin further increase the intensity of the moment.

Make hugs a regular part of your life!