The health benefits of physical touch are well known, and these extend throughout our lives. However, the amount of physical nurturing we receive generally declines as we age.
Physical touch and hugging, in particular, have been proven to increase levels of the “love hormone” oxytocin. Even a brief episode of warm contact can have several positive effects on your well-being. Here are a few of the many significant benefits a heart-to-heart hug can have on your health and happiness.
1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
The impact that hugging has on your stress levels is directly linked to its effect on the hormone oxytocin. Your oxytocin levels go up when you hug or kiss a loved one. This powerful hormone can reduce the impact of stress and social anxiety. Oxytocin also reduces the level of the stress-inducing hormone, cortisol in the body.
It is responsible for bringing about a feeling of trust and lowering blood pressure. In addition, affectionate physical behavior can make dealing with stressful life events easier.
2. Allows You to Communicate Better
A hug is a form of nonverbal communication that helps you transmit empathy and understanding. Hugging is a powerful way to express your thoughts and feelings to another person and let them know that you understand them. This form of physical touch is a way to feel connected in ways that words can’t convey.
3. Helps You Feel Less on Edge
Hugging stimulates the parasympathetic system and can restore balance in the nervous system. Due to the nature of our lives, many of us live in a constant state of high alert. An increase in anxiety puts pressure on the sympathetic nervous system. This causes the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for calming you down, to underperform.
Physical contact can restore balance by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. It will allow you to feel relaxed naturally and slow down your pace of life.
4. Improves Self Esteem
Hugging boosts self-esteem and is an excellent way to show someone that they are special and loved. There is a strong association between touch and self-worth, developed when we were children. This remains with us throughout our adult lives. A warm hug reminds us of the affection we received as children and has a subconscious positive impact on our self-esteem.
Hugging can reduce the harmful physical effects of our stressful, fast-paced lives. A hug at the right time can help you feel supported and cared for. Hugging is a reciprocal act that allows you to give and receive comfort. So spread some love to the people you care about with hugs!
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