Have you ever felt that you really need someone to hug you? This is not normal at all, and except for people who have difficulty with physical contact, other people usually like to relax sometimes in the warm embrace of mother, father, wife, child or even close friends. What is it about hugging that makes it so powerful? The truth is that hugging gives us a sense of calm, security and empathy. In addition, hugging has benefits for physical health. If you want to know more about the benefits of hugging, read this article.
The undeniable power of hugging
Why does hugging make you feel good? If you want a short and useful answer, your answer is oxytocin secretion. Oxytocin is the famous “love hormone”. When we hug each other, this hormone is released.
At the social level, oxytocin promotes attachment, trust, and social bonding. Social connection means our desire to spend time with a special person, someone we enjoy being with. This hormone activates the pleasure centers in the brain and makes this connection easier.
Today’s stresses are not like in the past. In the past, people faced many threats to their survival, including animal attacks, disease, and natural disasters. Such threats have diminished in our lives today, but we still face a lot of stress on a daily basis. For this reason, having trusted people to turn to for comfort and safety, and to hold us in our arms when we are stressed, can be a helpful and healing treatment.
Interestingly, the human nervous system can not tell the difference between emotional stress and physical stress, for example, it can not tell if our stress is due to the entrance exam result or if a wild animal has followed us. For this reason, it is logically reasonable that whenever we are stressed, we tend to have someone hug us and make us feel safe.
Health benefits of hugging
In this section, we will talk about the benefits and positive effects of hugging on health, and finally we have suggestions for people who live alone to enjoy these benefits to some extent.
1. Improve sleep quality
If you hug your spouse or a family member before going to bed and then go to bed, you will sleep very well and no longer need to be a sheep. As we said, hugging releases oxytocin. This hormone does not directly affect sleep quality, but it does reduce anxiety and thus can improve sleep quality.
This hormone also creates a sense of social support, and because you know you are safe, you sleep well.
In addition, hugging a loved one before bed can lower cortisol, the stress hormone. When you hug each other, this physical contact inactivates the part of the brain that responds to the threat.
2. Increase joy and happiness
When you hug each other, the emotional bond between you is strengthened and the relationship you have with your loved ones is maintained. In addition, physical touch affects the same part of the brain that opium deals with, and therefore gives you a sense of joy and pleasure.
Scientists have found that hugging and secreting oxytocin have a strong effect on women. This hormone is increased not only when the wife’s husband hugs her, but also when the mother hugs her baby.
3. Boosting immunity system
Hugging can help strengthen the immune system. That’s why you get sick less. A study of 400 adults showed that those who hugged their loved ones more daily were less likely to get sick, and if they did get sick, they were much less severe than those who were deprived of this great blessing.
4. Improve cardiovascular health
Hugging seems to be good for the heart as well, and not only emotionally, but also improves the physical health of the heart.
One experiment found that when participants ‘spouses hugged them for 20 seconds and then left the room, participants’ blood pressure dropped significantly. At the end of the experiment, the researchers found that their blood pressure was significantly lower than that of the control group. Researchers believe that this may be due to better stress tolerance, which leads to long-term cardiovascular health.
In another study, scientists divided a group of 200 adults into two groups; There was a group of couples who had to hold each other for 10 minutes and then hold each other for 20 seconds. The second group consisted of people who had to sit in silence for 10 minutes and 20 seconds. The results showed that the blood pressure and heart rate of the first group were significantly reduced compared to the second group.
5. Reduce the number of lawsuits and lawsuits
When you hug your spouse, you can hardly argue with each other. Hugging makes you feel supported by your partner and therefore less negative emotions. In fact, it can be said that hugging acts as a shield against stress and pressure. Physical contact between you will increase security, support and intimacy, and when you are more satisfied with your relationship, you will be able to resolve conflicts more easily, so you will be less involved.
6. Reduce pain
Hugging is a way to manage pain. In a study of cancer patients, researchers found that they felt less pain after hugging loved ones and physically touching them than those who only had a back massage or received no treatment.
Another study was performed on people with fibromyalgia who were treated with hugs and physical contact. This study showed that the quality of life of these people had improved and their pain had been relieved.
7. Better team performance
Hugging can also have a positive effect on physical performance. A review of basketball teams showed that teams that jumped into each other’s arms when they were happy or that other teammates hugged each other when someone made a mistake performed better than other teams. When the players hugged each other, they felt that they could trust each other.
8. Improve the spirit of self-confidence
The oxytocin from hugging makes you feel kinder and more confident. Oxytocin secretion lowers levels of cortisol or a stress hormone. Researchers have found that oxytocin makes people feel more socially supportive and more compassionate. Even if it was synthetic oxytocin and was not conceivable at all, it still reinforced these beliefs.
9. Reducing stress
Hugging can reduce stress because it lowers cortisol levels. The researchers conducted an experiment with 20 volunteer couples; Men were given unpleasant electric shocks and women were told to hold their husbands’ arms in times of shock.
The researchers found that the stress-related sections of the women were less active during the experiment, while the sections on maternal and empathic behavior became more active. This test shows that even when we hug someone to comfort them, these parts of our brain may react similarly to when we hug.
10. Reduce fear
Scientists have found that physical contact and hugging can reduce fear and anxiety in people with low self-esteem, even if they hug a lifeless body such as a teddy bear.
Consequences of being deprived of the blessings of hugging
When we hug each other, the same parts of the brain are activated that eating activates them. For this reason, when we do not receive physical affection, it gives us a sense of hunger, but in an emotional way. The consequences of this deprivation are:
- Attachment problems;
- Personality disorders;
- Physical pain;
- Poor sleep quality.
What if we are alone?
Now we have to talk to people who live alone and have no one to hug. On the other hand, we live in an age where hugging friends and acquaintances has become somewhat of a dream. First, do not worry, because this situation will finally end and the epidemic will go down in history. If you are single, there are still ways to enjoy the benefits of a hug. Let’s look at the types of hugs.
1. Hug yourself
Don’t laugh! It may seem ridiculous or silly, but science has shown that when you wrap your arms around yourself as if someone were hugging you, the pain and discomfort are greatly reduced. This is because your body does not expect this feeling, and this confuses the brain, as it tries to understand where this feeling is coming from. Then the pain goes away, because your arms are wrapped around your body and give you the same real signals that are generated when someone hugs you.
Hug yourself; It’s easier than you think.
2. Hug your pets
If you are alone and no one is around to hug you, hug your pet. Touching a pet seems to activate the sensory nerves and increase the hormone of happiness.
Caressing an animal helps to create attachment, just as physical contact with another human creates such a feeling.
3. Buy body pillows
Hugging a body pillow will never replace hugging your loved ones, but it can be somewhat soothing.
These pillows are designed like the human body and are useful for reducing back pain, creating a good sleeping position for pregnant women and reducing snoring. Buy these pillows and hug them. Although this is not the same as embracing a human, it can be somewhat soothing.
4. Connect online
If you do not have a way to hug your loved ones, connect with them online. Online communication can not do the job of making physical contact with you when you hug, but it can provide some of the comfort and security that you get from hugging.
5. Wear a mask and go out
There is nothing wrong with meeting friends outdoors. Wear a mask and sit in the park at a distance from each other and communicate with your friends. You can even go on a picnic and spend time together in crowded places. In any case, keep your distance so as not to endanger the health of yourself and your loved ones. There is plenty of time to hug, maybe in the near future.
Do you hug your spouse, children, mother and father or other loved ones at least once a day? Do you think hugging can give us security and comfort? Please share your views with us.