Hawk Talk

The Health Benefits of Hugging

(C) Gale 2010 Hugging the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, President Obama stimulates the oxytocin neurotransmitter in their brains.

(C) Gale 2010
Hugging the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, President Obama stimulates the oxytocin neurotransmitter in their brains.

By Lauren Walker

Have you been looking for a way to boost your immune system, reduce your stress and even possibly cure depression? Well, it turns out hugging just might be the solution. Recent studies uncover the health benefits of hugging your loved ones on a daily basis. Hugging is absolutely side effect and cost free; hugs might just be the ideal cure.

Would you have guessed that hugging boosts your immune system? Increased hugging and other aspects of affection have been shown to greatly reduce stress, which in turn, strengthens your immune system and helps to fight off disease. Did you also know that seventy percent of all communication is non verbal? A hug can be an excellent way to communicate with another person. According to Viera High School junior, Delaney Smith, “Hugs always help any situation; they allow me to feel connected with the other person.” A hug can allow you to express your feelings and how much you care without saying a single word (www.ThoughtPursuits.com).

Frequent hugging may also boost self esteem, especially in young children. Hugging a child shows them they are loved by allowing them to feel secure. This is true for adults too. When asked how often Senior Jacqui Schilling, hugs her loved ones she responded, “Everyday.”  As you know, when you sincerely hug someone, a bond is felt. In the chaos of today, where people rarely take the time to slow down, giving a hug can build patience and make for better overall relationships.

The emotional connection made when hugging stimulates the oxytocin neurotransmitter in the brain and increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine produced. The oxytocin neurotransmitter is the brain’s emotional center that promotes feelings of contentment, reduces stress and lowers anxiety levels. When someone is hugged, the oxytocin is released into the body which helps to lower heart rates, usually resulting in a calm, relaxed behavior. Viera High student, Kai Washington, feels, “Hugging is a positive thing. It helps somebody show that they care.” Hugging also releases the pleasure hormone known as serotonin, which increases your mood and elevates happiness. Another benefit of hugging is an increase in dopamine production. Dopamine is known as the feel good hormone that gives you that feel good feeling and motivates you, making you feel on top of the world (www.ThoughtPursuits.com).

As you can see, hugging costs nothing and the benefits for you and the people you hug are tremendous. Therefore you should always make it a point to hug someone at least once a day.  Today, people all over the world are missing out on the benefits of other human touch. So, go give someone a hug and improve the well being of yourself and those around you.

Sources Consulted:

http://www.thoughtpursuits.com/9-great-reasons-hug-hugged-every-day/#

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