4 Reasons Why Hugs Are Good for You
The world would be so much better if we could just hug everything out. Make your world better with the all-powerful hug.
There’s a pretty good chance some of your best memories feature a good old-fashioned hug. In fact, the humble but powerful hug was one of the first things welcoming you to the planet just after you were born. You’ve been hugged by parents, friends, coworkers, kids, and perhaps even complete strangers you preferred not to be hugged by.
Related: Cultivate Some Happiness
The hug is celebratory, reassuring, comforting, and calming. Believe it or not, there have been many legitimate studies conducted about the hug’s incredible powers:
1. Hugs ward off illness
In 2015, a study conducted by Sheldon Cohen, a Professor of Psychology in Carnegie Mellon Universities’ Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences found that frequent hugs actually protected people from increased susceptibility to the kind of stress that leads to infection. And participants who were sick exhibited fewer symptoms when they were hugged more often.
2. Hugs release oxytocin
Oxytocin is often called the “love hormone,” and it’s released when we cuddle or bond. It’s the reason why being hugged feels so good. So when you’re feeling down, give someone a squeeze and feel your mood lift.
3. Hugs make you feel like everything will be ok
We instinctively hug those who are struggling. When you receive a hug from someone you care about or who makes you happy, it can generally leave you feeling safe, and excited for the future.
4. Hugs cut down on stress
You probably know that cortisol is a stress hormone, but did you know that hugs can actually combat cortisol? The science of this is pretty involved, but essentially a hug can lower cortisol levels and counteract the physiological consequences around being stressed.
We may hesitate to touch each other for fear of overstepping personal boundaries or making someone feel uncomfortable, but sometimes it's worth the risk to hug it out. If you’re unsure of whether a hug is welcome, just ask. You don’t have to make it weird—a simple, “Can I give you a hug?” will do.
Sometimes a hug can change someone’s day, and it only takes seconds. Hug your loved ones and friends more. Show them you care, and you’ll also reap the benefits.
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