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  • kharris2344

Why You Need More Hugs

There are a ton of mental and physical health benefits to hugging. Personally, I've found that giving and receiving hugs always makes me feel good. And while there are people who do not feel comfortable with hugs for a variety of reasons, sharing a hug (with a trusted and safe person) can helps us in a lot of ways.

Let's start with the mental health benefits:

  • Oxytocin is released in the brain every time we hug someone for at least 20 seconds. This relieves stress in the body and mind (cortisol - the stress hormone - is also reduced when this happens).

  • The Vagus Nerve is stimulated which sends us from sympathetic (fight or flight) mode into parasympathetic (rest and digest mode) further increasing relaxation.

  • Serotonin is released - this is our brain's natural antidepressant, and it makes us feel happier!

  • Dopamine is released, which is another feel good hormone our body naturally produces.

  • We get less cravings - some studies have shown that when we hug, we are less likely to get cravings for a variety of substances.

  • It allows us to be in the present moment and like any mindfulness practice, this takes us away from worry and rumination, decreases stress and makes us feel more at ease.

  • Increases our self-esteem so that we feel better about ourselves!

  • It helps with relationships by building trust, and improving communication

The cool thing is that there are also some great physical health benefits for hugging too!

  • Hugging improves immunity, meaning we're better at fighting off infection (as long as the hug is at least 10 seconds long).

  • We have more energy - we actually are less tired after a hug then we were before one (again, as long as the hug is 10 seconds)

  • It lowers blood pressure, and more specifically, this occurs when we hug more often (and for at least 20 seconds)

  • It improves heart health - our hearts function better when we hug!

  • Decreases pain - this is mainly through an increase in circulation. It's also an easy and free way to engage in some pain management.

If you're able to get some more hugs in, it may have some great effects for you.

Remember that if you're struggling, there are licensed mental health professionals in your area that can help.


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