“My friends’ hugs are longer and tighter, consist of extra squeezes and pats, which I find surprisingly comforting”, Cecilia Ahern writes in her book Thanks for the Memories. And she may be right. Hugs often act as magic, providing you with a sense of comfort and security.
Such is the power of a hug that an entire day is dedicated to comforting embrace leading up to Valentine’s Day. Hugging makes you healthier and happier, a fact, proven by science.
Here are six solid benefits of hugging that will compel you to hug your peeps right away:
1. Stress… what’s that?
Is exam stress getting to you? Dealing with something unpleasant in life? A hug can reduce the stress of the person getting it and is beneficial to the person giving it as well.
A 2018 study saw 404 adults, both women and men, being observed over 14 days to find out the effects of hug on the human body. According to the researchers, when a person has some sort of negative experience, a hug tends to bring down such emotions.
2. A natural pill to happiness
When you hug, your body releases a chemical called oxytocin, which is also called the cuddle hormone. Oxytocin causes a reduction in blood pressure and stress hormone norepinephrine, especially in women.
3. Benefits heart health
A warm hug can help reduce blood pressure and is beneficial for the heart too. Scientists at the University of North Carolina conducted a study by splitting a group of 200 adults into two groups.
One group was allowed to hold hands for 10 minutes, followed by a 20-second hug, while the second group was not allowed any.
The group which hugged went on to show greater reductions in blood pressure levels and stabilized heart rate.
4. Reduces fear to a significant extent
Innumerable movies have shown the damsel in distress hugging the hero during a lightning strike to alleviate fears. The melodrama aside, they are actually right in doing that!
Scientists say that hugs can reduce fear and anxiety. It is even more fruitful for people with low self-esteem.
5. When you are down and out, hug it out
Hugging may reduce the chances of a person getting sick. Scientists have found that people with a greater support system are less likely to get sick.
As for those who are already sick, the symptoms are less severe when there are enough caregivers.
6. Provides pain relief
Turns out hugging can relieve you of pain as well. Hugging releases endorphins that help improve blood circulation and removes pain peptides, reducing the unpleasant feeling.
So, the next time you see someone who is unhappy, stressed out or in pain, one “jaadu ki jhappi” could go a long way in making things right.