Why are hugs so powerful? Hugs release the hormone ‘Oxytocin’. This can be called the “love hormone”, it is released when you bond, hug or cuddle. This hormone surges when you really connect with those we love; partners, close friends and children. It is the reason being hugged feels so good! So, when you are feeling down give someone you love a hug and you will feel your mood lift.
First, hugs ward off illness. Frequent hugs, studies have shown actually protect people from increased stress which lowers one’s immunity in combating infections within the body. Participants in the study exhibited fewer symptoms when sick when they were hugged more often.
Secondly, hugs just make you feel like everything is going to be okay. You instinctively reach out to hug those who are struggling and hurting. When you receive a hug from someone that you care about or who really makes you happy, it can generally give you that feeling of safety and reassurance.
Thirdly, hugs cut down on stress. Cortisol, which is called the stress hormone, is actually reduced and vanquished when oxytocin from hugs enters the picture. Hmmm! The science behind the studies can sound complicated, but fundamentally hugs do lower cortisol levels and counteract the physiological consequences which contribute to diseases induced by stress.
You may often hesitate to touch or reach out to another, especially in these times. You may back down because of fear, possibly overstepping personal boundaries, or making someone feel uncomfortable; but sometimes it’s worth the risk to hug it out! It’s okay to ask to hug if you are uncertain whether a hug would be accepted or not. Sometimes a hug can change someone’s day and it only takes seconds. Hug your loved ones and friends more often. Show them you care and you’ll also reap the benefits. You are not being weird for needing hugs; everybody needs them they are so good for you!