Just like having sex, hugging encourages ocytocin to be released, otherwise known as the love hormone which increases our sense of general well-being. Nowadays, screens and the virtual world are taking over our daily life. Although we are looking to increase our online networks we can easily be sucked into a state of loneliness or depression. However, hugging could be the remedy. If you are feeling down, could a hug help you feel happier? Read on to find out more.
What are the benefits of hugging?
International Hugging Day, which takes place on 21 January, was created in the 1970 s in an attempt to combat loneliness and depression. The idea was that by encouraging adults to hug their close relatives, family, friends and colleagues those struggling with mental health issues could feel better.
A hug or a tender or loving moment between two people can have positive effects due to the release of ocytocin also known as the attachment hormone. These positive effects can include:
- Soothing effects,
- Strengthening your immune system,
- Relieving pain,
- Brain development and cognitive capacities for babies and children,
- Happy state of mind, relieving stress.
Some hospitals even ask volunteers to give babies hugs as they don’t have regular physical contact with their mother. Others invite our four-legged friends, including dog and chats, to visit ill people they can stroke these animals to reduce their stress before having an operation or chemotherapy.
We know that elderly people can get lonely and are more susceptible to depression, heart attacks or premature death. Regardless of our age, hugs can bring us happiness, a sense of relief and comfort , both those who give and receive the hug.
Just like dopamine, another neurotransmitter linked to pleasure, oxytocin also helps to naturally protect your body from the stress hormone, cortisol.
Don’t underestimate the power of hugs with your pets. According to an American study published in 2015, dog company can encourage an increase in levels of ocytocin for their owner and those close to them as it strengthens there social interactions at the heart of the family.
In short, give people hugs not war! !