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Hug It Out: Mental and Physical Benefits Of Hugging

Hugs feel great.

But did you know that there are actually researchers tracking the physical and mental benefits of hugging?

In fact, recent studies have found that hugging can have a large beneficial effect on our mindset by reducing feelings of loneliness and the physical effects of stress. 

Hugs also have the power to boost feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin to help shift negative moods or irritation. 

If you’re looking for a way to increase your mental and physical well-being, or become more in touch with your emotions, hugs are a great and simple place to start. 

They take very little thought and effort, thus making them a perfect introduction to mindfulness practices.

To get you started on the path to hug-based happiness, here are 6 of the top benefits of hugging.

Benefits of Hugging

Safety and Comfort 

Being embraced by another person creates a sense of safety and comfortability. 

Hugging can make us feel safe and therefore more honest in our communication. 

Heart Health 

Hugging actually has the ability to increase heart health. 

One study, in particular, tracked the heart health differences between those who spent 10 minutes in silence with their romantic partners, and those who spent 10 minutes holding hands and hugging them. 

Those who were able to give physical affection showed greater reductions in blood pressure and heart rate than those who sat in silence. 

Lower Levels of Stress 

Physical touch, in general, has the ability to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which will ultimately relieve stress and increase relaxation.

Hugging is one of the simplest yet powerful forms of physical touch.

Increase Mindfulness

Learning to be more mindful and present at the moment has a slew of mental and physical health benefits. 

When we hug, we are able to connect with each other on a deeper level, thus allowing us more room to be present and connect with our emotions. 

Reduce Fears 

Hugging is a great way to reduce someone’s fear and help them to feel more secure. 

Consider when a family member or friend is sick or even in the hospital. A simple hug or even just a holding of the hand can provide feelings of comfort. 

Hugging can also make us less fearful when we’re heading into a new or unnerving situation. 

Better Sleep 

You probably already know that cuddling with a partner or infant feels great. 

But did you know that hugging through the night actually has the power to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol? 

Because stress can delay sleep or cause disruptions, hugging can help to eliminate some of that stress and allow for deeper, uninterrupted sleep

So now that you know the benefits, what are you waiting for? 

Next time you’re feeling down or need a little pick-me-up, find a trusted friend or family member that you feel comfortable embracing. 

Or, if physical touch is not your thing, that’s okay too. Hugs don’t always need to be given or received byb another person. Take a moment to give yourself a nice loving embrace. 

And remember, the longer the better! Hugging for 20 seconds or more is the best amount of time to create a powerful and strong connection. 

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