Not sleeping and feeling stressed? Not sure what to do? Well it seems there is something we can all do that’s free, fun and makes us not only feel happy but can reduce our stress levels, make us less anxious and depressed and boost our immune systems too. What is it? Hug! All we have to do is hug! Apparently 8 good hugs a day is recommended.
A proper deep hug, where hearts are pressing together, has the following benefits:
- The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication.
- Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
- Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
- Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the solar plexus chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.
- Hugging boosts self-esteem. When we were babies touch showed us that we were loved and special. Those associations of self-worth and tactile sensations are still embedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received as children remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.
- Hugging relaxes muscles, releasing tension in the body and can take away pain by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.
- Hugs balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system – parasympathetic.
- Hugs teach us how to give and receive. There is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. Hugs educate us how love flows both ways.
- Hugs, like meditation and laughter, teach us to let go and be present in the moment by getting us out of our circular thinking patterns and connecting us with our hearts, feelings and breath.
- The energy exchange between people hugging encourages empathy and understanding.