‘Bear hugs’ are warm, cozy and satisfying. A dad hugging his daughter, a squeeze with your loved one or best friends meeting after a long, long time hugging each other are commonly witnessed. Hugs are a sign of love, compassion and friendliness. There is more to hug than these! Research proves hugs to provide health benefits such as lowered blood pressure and decreased stress. Hug more and love hugging!
Hugs Decreases Stress
Being hugged before a big presentation, a long journey, an important interview or examination calms down the individual, according to research. One study asked a group of girls to present an impromptu speech in front of a big crowd suddenly. Those who received a hug or call from their mom experienced lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Hugs Increase Immunity
Hugging can decrease your risk of common cold! Researchers at a reputed university found that stressed-out people who were likely to fall sick when exposed to the virus responsible for common cold experienced reduced chances of being affected by the infection when they were hugged frequently. Even if they were attacked by cold, they developed less severe symptoms when they received frequent hugs.
Hugs Increase A Sense of Trust
Individuals feel closer and connected to each other when they hug and that’s not it. Hugging triggers the release of oxytocin, a chemical that induces bonding, trust and connection. Physical connection between two people increases emotional and psychological connection between them as well spreading a sense of calm and comfort.
Hugs are an Anti-depressant
Hugs induce release of serotonin, a natural anti-depressant, that triggers emotional well-being. We express affection towards our loved ones by hugging them, kissing them and spending quality time with them. Such behavior promotes emotional well-being and intimacy that are critical for a healthy relationship between two people. Babies love our sense of touch and when they miss out on it, they feel utterly depressed and start becoming cranky, stop eating food and misbehaving. Hug your loved ones at least for 3 minutes a day and kiss them at least once a day to keep your relationship going steady.
Hugs Lower Blood Pressure
Though not proved accurately, a small study of a group of 59 premenopausal women found that frequent hugs between women and their partners increased oxytocin levels and decreased blood pressure levels. Spouses start taking undue advantage of each other after marriage and hugging is a simple way to overcome disagreements and save your marriage from collision.
Newborns are cuddled and crushed with kisses and hugs by mom, dad, family members, known people and strangers as well. As the newborn grows, he/she is cuddled by mom and dad frequently for all the small or big things he/she accomplishes. Being in a constant state of touch since birth makes us crave for it even as we nurture into adults. Staying connected, hugging loved ones and showing affection towards them make us feel complete and connected to each other. Spread love, cherish being loved and share the joy of affection with people around.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.