There was a time when hugs were given freely, but we seem to live in an increasingly hands-off world, making do with superficial pecks on the cheek and a token embrace, or even just a smile from afar, worse still a nodding gesture. The findings of a study on how hugs heal the heart make me sure that if we hugged more, the world would be a happier, safer place. According to various research studies, here’s what a simple hug can do:
• Reduce blood pressure and slows down the pulse rate
• Bring down levels of the stress hormone, cortisol
• Increase levels of oxytocin, the love hormone, which makes the heart feel good
• Increase the production of serotonin and dopamine, which make the brain feel good. In fact, those who get regular hugs are twice as likely as non-huggers to say that they’re ‘in a terrific state of mind.’
• Strengthen romantic relationships—hugging and holding hands often contributes more to closeness than frequent sexual intercourse
• Received, it can make you feel protected and more confident
• Given, it can make someone else’s day.
So, don’t just shake hands or say ‘Hello’, step forward and give a hug. Hug your partner, children, friends, parents and pets—you’ll do them and yourself a world of good!
For those of you who still hug religiously, and have no other way of greeting ‘friends and foes’, keep it up.
“A hug is the perfect gift- one size fits all and nobody minds if you exchange it.” ― Irvin Ball