Here’s Why You Should Be Hugging More!
Some people love them, some people hate them, but there is no denying that they can be very powerful indeed. Whether your happy or sad, celebrating or just greeting someone, a hug can fit into any situation. Given that it is Mental Health Awareness, what better time to think about the positive effects of hugs. It is also a great time for you to reflect on your own mental health, and how small changes can make a huge difference. So, see how you can self care, an also provides others who might be struggling, with a little bit of support with just one small gesture.
Hugs are instantly comforting, and there is a lot of research that would suggest that they actually many more physiological benefits that can positively help your health and mood, despite whether you are the one giving the hug, or the one receiving it.
So just how beneficial are they? Isabel Leming, who is the Senior TMS Technician at the clinic Smart TMS, who gives us a bit of insight as to just how powerful a hug can be.
Hugs provide an instant surge in oxytocin, which is more commonly known as the love hormone. Oxytocin is so unbelievably beneficial to your body, and has a number of mental health benefits as well, and can help a number of conditions like depression and anxiety. Oxytocin works by acting on the brains emotional centre, which then promotes feelings of contentment, trust, intimacy and bonding.
The surge of oxytocin that is released will not only help us to feel more relaxed, but it will also decrease tension, and levels of cortisol, which is otherwise known as the stress hormone. High levels of cortisol can result in high blood pressure and heart disease. By reading further into this, it would seem that by regularly hugging, which is fairly achievable in most day to day lives could actually decrease your chances of being diagnosed with the aforementioned diseases. Pretty powerful!
Dopamine, is responsible for regulating our emotional response and reward circuit in the brain, and research has suggested that hugging can again increase these levels, which can help to prevent a number of mood disorders, including depression. There is no surprise given the above, that it also boosts your level of serotonin, which again can lower the risk of depression. This means that your mood can effectively instantly be improved just by giving someone a hug. No wonder they make everything better when you are upset.
Finally, by boosting all of the above hormones, it is only natural that it can reduced stress levels. Even if it the last thing that you want to do when you are feeling stressed, having a hug can really help. It does not have to be a long time, but by taking the time out to hug someone, even if it just for a minute, it is valuable time that you need to not only calm down, as well as boosting the feeling that you are being supported by someone.