Valentine’s day is fast approaching. For many of us that will mean needing to organise gifts or meals with your nearest and dearest. When we give special gifts and enjoy a good meal out together, it makes us feel good. The good news is, you don’t have to spend any money at all to make your special someone feel good. And it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 to have a positive effect on that special someone’s life and health – it’s called HUGGING!
Sounds easy doesn’t it… Well it really is! Hugging has been at the centre of much research recently. And it seems the health benefits associated with giving someone a hug are multiple. Here we describe three of those benefits for you:
Hugs make us happy
There is a hormone in our body called the happy hormone. Its real name is Oxytocin. The levels of this hormone have been shown to increase when we hug, touch, or even just be near another person. Increased levels of this hormone have been associated with lowered stress levels – by decreasing levels of circulating stress hormones. And it appears these effects are strongest in those people in relationships where hugging is more frequent.
Hugs help to keep a healthy heart
Some evidence suggests that hugging can be good for our heart health. One study, which looked at the differences between couples who held hands and hugged and couples who did not, found that those couples who held hands and hugged showed reduced heart rate and blood pressure levels compared to the couples who did not.
Hugs help to protect us against illness
Research suggests that people who receive hugs and have a perceived higher level of support around them are less likely to become sick, and if they do become sick, the symptoms are likely to be less severe.
There you have it. Get hugging. It’s easy, it’s free, the health benefits are numerous, and you never know, you might just make someone’s day! So, it’s not just happy Valentine’s Day from us – it’s happy hug day!
- Grewen KM(1), Anderson BJ, Girdler SS, Light KC. Warm Partner Contact is related to lower cardiovascular reactivity: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15206831
2. Sheldon Cohen, Denise Janicki-Deverts, Ronald B. Turner. Does Hugging Provide Stress-Buffering Social Support? A Study of Susceptibility to Upper Respiratory Infection and Illness: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797614559284