A hug a day just may keep the doctor away!
In today's fast-paced digital world, where screens seem to demand our attention and virtual connections often surpass real-world interactions, it's easy to forget to connect. Self-soothing with food or social media leads to less time for friends and family, which affects our overall well-being. Luckily, past the virtual noise, there's a simple and powerful remedy that offers immediate comfort, hugs! We all need a hug now and again. The power of a hug goes beyond just showing someone we care. In this blog, we’re going to uncover the 5 surprising health benefits of hugging. These benefits are so compelling you'll want to full-heartedly embrace them!
1. Instant Stress Relief
There’s a reason why our first instinct is to hug a loved one when we see them struggling. The act of hugging triggers the release of oxytocin, sometimes called the 'love hormone' or 'cuddle hormone'. This neurotransmitter has calming effects, helping create feelings of trust and bonding us to those we love. That’s why hugs act as a 100% natural stress reliever!
When we’re stressed our bodies naturally release cortisol, which puts us in “fight or flight”. Our body also releases oxytocin to reduce our stress levels. Hugging just gives us an extra boost so we can feel an overall sense of calm relaxation. Releasing oxytocin through hugs has a myriad of benefits, including improved heart health, weight loss support, reduced blood pressure, disease resistance, increased libido, and an overall sense of comfort.
2. Boosts Your Well-Being & Happiness (Chemically)
When we hug someone, it stimulates the release of a hormone called dopamine which plays a vital role in regulating our mood. The “pleasure hormone” dopamine causes feelings of pleasure and reward, making us feel happier and solidifying a deeper sense of well-being. Hugging also releases serotonin, which works something like nature's antidepressant. The serotonin hormone helps regulate mood, control anxiety, and alleviate feelings of loneliness.
3. Strengthens Your Immune System
Have you ever gone through something emotional, trying, or stressful and then immediately gotten sick? We all have! According to the National Library of Medicine, it’s because stress and anxiety cause our bodies to react chemically, leading to illness and weight gain among other things.
The good news is there is research that suggests the positive hormones and subsequent emotions from hugging can diminish these effects, strengthening your immune system. A study done on around 400 adults showed that hugging reduces one's chance of getting sick. The light pressure of a hug on the body’s sternum supports the function of the thymus gland which is responsible for producing white blood cells. The more white blood cells, the healthier your immune system and the better you’ll feel.
4. Natural Pain Reliever
Hugging has been shown to have pain-relieving effects, particularly by promoting the release of endorphins. Endorphins, often called the body's natural painkillers, create a sense of well-being and serve as a buffer against pain. Hugging also aids in muscle tension relief! These pain relief benefits make giving and getting hugs an essential part of the pain management practice for those suffering from chronic pain or discomfort.
5. It’s Good For Your Heart (Health)
Physical touch, like hugging, has been linked to improvements in cardiovascular health. The comforting embrace of a hug may lead to a decrease in blood pressure, which, in turn, supports heart health. Lowering blood pressure is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, emphasizing the holistic impact of this simple yet powerful gesture.
Let’s Embrace the Power of the Hug!
Not only are hugs vital for our emotional well-being, but they may just help avoid the common cold while being part of an effective pain relief solution and one of our anti anxiety tools. National Hug Day is on January 21, and we know how we’ll be celebrating!
Weighted with flaxseed, Warmies Hugs are microwavable plush companions designed to offer soothing comfort to hold you over until you can hug your loved one IRL. The Warmies Hugs are offered as twin plush teddy bears and farm animal friends, and they let you send an embrace to those you love, no matter where you are in the world.