Yes, you’ve read it right. A hug a day is so beneficial for your health and happiness. A trend like this is becoming more and more popular. First, we’ve popularized the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
This is also true with eggs. And, now…well, actually, hugging has been known to make us feel good. We just starting to appreciate it today. And, guess what? Researchers are now finding more evidence on hug health benefits.
Regardless the kind of hug, it just makes us feel good! But wait, you might say, are there are many kinds of hugs? Of course, there are! From a hug of a mother to her child, a hug of a friend, and of course, a hug from a romantic partner.
Basically, we were born to be touched. From the day we were born to our death, we, humans need touch. And, a hug is one those ways of touching.
9 Known Hug Health Benefits
There may be more health benefits of hugging. But, we’ll just only mention the known ones especially that these are backed by science. Of course, it does not have to be always backed by studies before a benefit can be considered useful.
Whatever you feel positive about hugging that is not mentioned below, it is still positive.
1. Boosts The Body’s Immune System
For those perceiving low social support, more frequent interpersonal tension/conflict was associated with an increased probability of infection subsequent to viral exposure. In contrast, among persons perceiving greater support, the frequency of tension/conflict was unrelated to infection susceptibility.
2. Reduces Stress
From the same study as above, getting a hug prior to having a stressful situation is calming. For instance, before going into something worrisome like first time taking a long journey, making a presentation for the first time, or even having a medical test.
Having someone hugging you before going through any of these stressful situations can help you feel calmer.
…nonsexual physical touch, such as hugging, is a means of conveying empathy, caring and reassurance, and that this implicit communication of affection and concern contributes importantly to the protective influence of perceived support against the pathogenic effects of stress.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
Hugs don’t only reduce stress and boost immunity but also lower pressure. In a different study2 back in 2005 by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill theorized that hugging suppresses stress hormones while increasing oxytocin.
4. Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
The repetition of acts of kindness through hugs may a collective effect on oxytocin production. Besides known as the love hormone, oxytocin is also known as the “cuddle chemical”.
This has been shown in the same study above. In fact, the women who have most hugs with their partner had the highest levels of oxytocin.
Such an act of loving kindness helps cut the risks of heart disease.
5. Fights fatigue
Now let’s go back to that phrase that says “A hug a day keeps you happy and healthy.” Hugs are both beneficial for emotional and physical wellness. A ten seconds worth of hug can you all the benefits mentioned above.
Additionally, you may get more than those benefits. For instance, one health benefit you’ll get from a simple hug includes a reduction in fatigue.
Hence, to further increase the effectiveness of hug for reducing fatigue, you may want to check these dietary changes, as well.
6. Eases depression
Depression is really bad. It feels like everything and everyone is against you. Beneath the surface, depression causes inflammation.
And, even though some dietary changes such as the DASH diet can help fight depression, why not add a hug to it. Some health experts believed that hugging is crucial to emotional healing. In this case, it’s depression.
A hug from someone who expresses an act of loving kindness and support allows the body to release serotonin. This is a natural anti-depressant produce in the brain.
Moreover, hugging promotes healthy emotional bond and makes romantic relationships achieve stronger intimate connections. This is vital because it promotes the foundation of a healthy and happy long-term romantic relationship.
7. Promotes Trust
The increase of oxytocin production through the act of hugging promotes a sense of connection and trust.
8. Expresses Appreciation
Sometimes, in a relationship, it’s easy to take your romantic partner for granted. Fortunately, a simple act of hugging can help revive the love connection. During a hug, there are lots of measurable neurobiological processes happen inside the body, particularly, in the brain.
Moreover, hugging is one of the best and most effective ways to smooth certain disagreements. Plus, giving your romantic partner a hug at random intervals throughout the day has the power to reverse whatever misunderstandings.
How Many Hugs We Need Per Day?
Does giving and having a hug a day enough? Well, certainly it is better than nothing. However, the more hugs you give, the more you get.
We need 4 hugs a day for survival…8 hugs a day for maintenance… and 12 hugs a day for growth.
Regardless these numbers have been backed by science or not, there is clear scientific evidence on the power of a hug. As humans, loving physical contact is vital for us. We need physical contact for sensory development, particularly in infants and children3.
In fact, touch is so important that an ongoing research about the Science of Touch led by Dr. Dacher Keltner found;
To touch is to give life.
The next time you see your loved one or significant other lonely, before initiating a conversation, initiate a hug, instead. Make the hug as the first line of communication that you want to listen and understand.
Establish that sense of trust and connection. Most of the time, upon initiating the conversation after a hug, it creates an open channel. Instead of arguing, it can lead to a fun and productive conversation.
Hugs, although seem very superficially simple, they are a powerful health booster. Therefore, in order to take advantage of the many hug health benefits, do it daily. Either you give a hug, or get it and either way is beneficial.
Moreover, hugging is so good. It is a positive act of love and kindness. Hugs also serve as a form of warm communication conveying parental love and support, love and attachment, gratitude, protection, and, of course, encouragement.