Happy National Hugging Day from Promise Community Health Center to you! Have you ever thought about the benefits of hugging? Let’s take a look at some of the things that happen when we receive and give hugs (of at least 10-20 seconds) to a consenting friend or loved one.
- Our parasympathetic system (aka the “rest and digest” system that helps relax the body after a state of arousal) is activated which allow our bodies to restore our energy
- Our c-tactile sensory afferents (the nerve receptors in our skin that respond to touch) are also activated which can help decelerate our heart rate, feel calmer and more secure
- We bond on a deeper level with the person we are hugging, which can help open communication and decrease levels of isolation or loneliness
- Lowers cortisol levels (the stress hormone)
- It can bring you into the present moment and create a more mindful and present you
- Hugs are essential to brain growth
- Hugging increases the levels of oxytocin (aka the cuddle hormone), which improves the parent-child bond
- Hugging brings down the heart rate and blood pressure to healthy level
Of course, keep in mind that some people are not ready to be in such close proximity to others for a plethora of reasons – so consent is key. Happy hugging, friends!