One of the biggest things that distinguish us from the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to develop an emotional connection with one another. The simple act of a handshake, an embrace or a pat on the back can stir feelings of love, trust, and comfort.
While these brief moments of physical contact make both the giver and the receiver ‘feel’ good, scientists are now saying that there are real, scientifically proven reasons that you need more hugs in your life! So, go ahead, and embrace the people the people you care about most!
Here are 8 reasons scientists say that you need more hugs:
While we all exhibit fear of something in our life, experts now say that the act of hugging someone that we care about and trust can help to alleviate these fears. It is believed that this stems back to the protection and security that one feels in that moment, boosting your self-esteem and allowing you to better handle those feeling of fear.
They Can Provide Pain Relief
When you hug someone, it causes your brain to release the hormone oxytocin. This simple touch from someone that you love triggers the neurotransmitters, causing you to experience a ‘love-induced analgesia.’ It works to number the pain and helps you to focus, instead, on the positives in your life at the time.
Lower Your Blood Pressure
The same hormone that helps to numb your pain can also have a positive impact on your blood pressure levels. When the brain releases oxytocin into the blood stream, it works to lower your blood pressure by allowing you to feel safe and secure. This security alleviates anxiety, effectively lowering your blood pressure.
Regenerate Muscles Faster
Another positive benefit of a heightened level of oxytocin in the blood stream is its impact on our ability to regenerate muscles. Scientists carried out a study on mice, injecting older mice with oxytocin and studying the effects. They concluded that those mice with the increased oxytocin levels saw a muscle regeneration rate that matched that of younger mice.
Encourage Better Childhood Development
Experts say that hugging a baby regularly will help it to grow into an emotionally well-adjusted adult. This moment of touch and connection help to increase their levels of the hormone vasopressin. This hormone works to encourage bonding and familial recognition. It is also said that showing emotional support to your child in this way works to demonstrate a healthy and balanced approach that the child will emulate as they grow up.
Hugs Can Boost Your Morale
The simple act of hugging someone can make your day better by boosting your mood and creating a closer bond with the people that you hold dear. Dacher Keltner, the director of the Great Good Science Center explains, “In recent years, a wave of studies has documented some incredibly emotional and physical health benefits that come from touch. This research is suggesting that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding, and health.”
Promote Good Heart Health
The idea that being with someone you love can be good for your heart may sound like a cheesy line, however, there is some truth to it! The University of North Carolina conducted a study where they monitored the contact that their participants had with their partners in relation to their heart health. When they were unable to have contact, their heart rates would quicken to 10 beats per minute, however, those who got to hug their partners saw their heart rate steady out at 5 beats per minute. Ultimately, a relaxed heart that isn’t overworking will remain healthy longer!
In our fast-paced, high energy world it can be difficult sometimes to stop and focus on the here and now. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh has shared a hugging meditation which works to encourage awareness and presence in our lives. This will help to lower stress, improve focus and boost overall happiness.