January 21st is National Hugging Day. Hugging is just good medicine. It transfers energy and strength and creates an emotional lift. It is a potent communication tool, as sometimes hugs can deliver the same message when words aren’t sufficient. It provides a health boost for the mind, body, and spirit. Here are 10 other important reasons to embrace hugging!
1. Hugs release oxytocin from the pituitary gland, which lowers heart rate and cortisol levels, the stress hormone that causes high blood pressure, stress, and heart disease. Oxytocin, also known as the social bonding hormone can combat isolation, anger, and loneliness.
2. Extended hugs stimulate serotonin release from the brain, which elevates mood and causes euphoria.
3. Hugs can curb depression. 8 hugs a day have been shown to boost mental stability and 12 hugs a day can help the psychological development of a person.
4. Nurturing hugs build trust and self-confidence and create a feeling of safety, facilitating communication.
5. Hugs boost the immune system.
6. Hugs improve memory.
7. Hugs enhance self-esteem, given the early learned association between tactile sensation and self-worth when our parents hugged us as children! Hugs connect us to our ability to love ourselves.
8. Hugs release tension in the body and relax muscles.
9. Hugs encourage empathy and compassion synergistically and remind us how love flows both ways, as there is equal value in giving and receiving hugs.
10. Hugs increase sexual desire. Sex is not only enjoyable but also essential to mental and physical health as it prevents infection, facilitates deep and restorative sleep, and elevates mood.
The nicest thing about hugs is that you cannot give one without receiving one too! So go ahead, hug someone everyday!