Who doesn't like a good hug? I know I do, especially a big, warm "bear hug". It looks like these four babies feel the same way. Did you know there are actually health benefits from hugging? Here's a few for you:
Hugs relax muscles- The action of hugging can help loosen tight muscles. The result? A release of tension.
Hugging reduces stress- Turns out, physical closeness translates to emotional intimacy. In a 2015 study involving 404 adults, scientists studied the perceived social effects of hugging — unsurprisingly, those who were hugged more often had a much more optimistic sense of where they fit socially. And as humans, feeling good about our place in the world is integral to a positive sense of being.
Hugs boost your immune system- In that same 2015 study, participants were found to be noticeably less susceptible to the common cold when they had a lot of good hugging in their lives. The lack of stress, combined with the sense that they were emotionally supported and had allies made facing down a cold a whole lot easier.
Hugging can protect you from heart disease- They can lower both the heart rate and the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that can wreak havoc on your health.
Hugging can lower the feeling of isolation- Hugs release oxytocin, a hormone and neurotransmitter which regulates bonding and social interaction. It also increases feelings of empathy and compassion and generosity. It is the foundation for trusting another person.
And reduce anxiety too- Hugs also release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls the brain's pleasure and reward centers. People suffering from mood disorders like depression and degenerative disorders like Parkinson's both exhibit noticeably low levels of dopamine production. Hugging can help with that.
Hugs can help fight fear- In a study published in Psychological Science regarding the role of touch, scientists found that hugs can help with both low self-esteem and fears of mortality.
Hugging is a great pain reliever- Hugs also release endorphins, which block pain pathways and increase circulation to soft tissues. Hugging is dope, I guess.
Now, don't just start randomly hugging people...make sure to ask if it's okay first. If they say no, don't push it. Don't worry...there are plenty of other huggers in the world.