Hugs provide many benefits in physical and psychological health. This affective gesture releases oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine, which strengthens our interpersonal relationships, generating a feeling of well-being and happiness.
We all feel their immediate comforting effects, but we are not aware of how positive they are for leading a balanced and healthy life. With the simple fact of hugging others we obtain and transmit several benefits.
Hugging is a therapeutic act that contributes to our well-being in various ways, both physically and psychologically. The hug is a very common gesture, in which we often repair ourselves without having to go to therapy.
It is considered a way of expressing our affections, but how important can this act be? Several experimental studies support the positive consequences that hugs have on humans.
Research carried out by Carnegie Mellon University in the United States shows that hugging is medicine against chronic stress, which generates a continuous state of alertness and inflammation at the cellular level, which weakens our immune system, leaving us exposed to infections, autoimmune diseases and even cancer.
When we hug we release dopamine, a neurotransmitter related to feeling good, which also improves our memory, attention, sleep and behavior motivated by rewards, as confirmed by the clinical trial.
Another of the virtues of the hug is that it secretes oxytocin and endorphins that reduce cortisol and adrenaline levels, and help us feel more relaxed. It also improves self-esteem, since it increases our good mood.
At the same time we are releasing serotonin and dopamine that contribute to the well-being and calm of our interior. Since hugs help us relax our muscles, we are instantly positively recharged.
In turn, it activates our limbic system, in charge of emotional regulation, which manages to reinforce interpersonal relationships based on trust and love.
20 second hug
Another clinical trial showed that a hug stimulates the release of oxytocin, and that in 20 seconds of physical contact it activates, which is equivalent to a month of therapy.
The estimated duration of a hug is five seconds, but research on its effects on our body found that in about 20 seconds there is a therapeutic effect on the body and mind, produced by this hormone that manages to reduce emotional pain.
International Hugging Day is remembered every January 21. This commemoration was installed in 1986 by the American Kevin Zaborney. Celebrating this symbol of affection was born as an excuse to do something that we all like, but that we don’t dare so much: give and receive hugs.