Hugging is one of the oldest gestures known to man. It is a gesture that's associated with love and affection. It is also meant to convey comfort in times of distress and intimacy in romantic situations.
There's more to hugging than what most people instinctively know; Hugs also affect our physical and mental conditions. They can even make us healthier by reducing feelings of anxiety. Here are five great examples of what hugs can do for you and your body:
Within your skin are tiny egg-shaped nerves called Pacnician Corpuscles, which are directly connected to your Vagus nerve. These nerves are a critical part of your sense of touch, and hugs cause them to enter a parasympathetic state with the rest of your nervous system, which in turn creates positive effects for your mental well-being.
You probably know this one already, but it's worth repeating nonetheless. Hugging reduces stress, and not only because it feels good.
Hugging reduces the amount of cortisol flowing through your body, which in turn calms your mind and reduces your stress levels. Cortisol is literally known as the stress hormone and is associated with your body's immunity and metabolism.
However, too much cortisol can also lead to a lot of stress. So the next time you see someone you care about looking a little stressed out, hug them.
When you're feeling sad, a simple hug will remind you that someone cares about you, but there's more to hugs than just positive feelings and gentle reminders. They also stimulate the production of serotonin in your brain, which is the essential chemical associated with self-esteem.
People who are sad, miserable or lonely usually have low levels of serotonin. So when you hug someone, not only do you remind them of your affections, you are also boosting their serotonin levels, which in turn expels most of their sorrow.
Hugs and most other intimate gestures can put the body at ease, not only because they allow the body to release more serotonin and reduce its cortisol levels, but also because they make the muscles less tense. This makes the rest of your body feel more relaxed and at ease.
Finally, it's worth mentioning that hugs are good for the heart, and this is because they can lower your heart rate. People with low heart rates are less vulnerable to cardiac arrests, or any other heart-related complications.
This doesn't mean that hugs can be used to treat all heart problems. However, a little squeeze now and then is good for the heart, even the healthy ones.
Everybody enjoys hugs from people they like or love. Well, they also happen to have health benefits. So if you think your friends or family are a little down, give them a hug. You're not just making them happier. You may just be making them healthier as well.