Skip to main content

5 Reasons Hugging is Good For You

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures for more info. 


This past weekend was the start of the Three Rivers Arts Fest. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh for 11 years and until this past Sunday, I had never gone to this annual two-week festival of art, music, and culture run by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. This year, I promised myself I would go, and I had a great reason to: I wanted to support my friend’s daughter, Lily Harvey, who was performing on Sunday.

Pittsburgh Pride coincided with the festival this past weekend, so there were a lot of people attending both events. While there, I saw several people wearing T-shirts that said things like “FREE MOM HUGS” or “FREE DAD HUGS.”

I thought that was a great idea! I know that some in the LGBTQ+ community have been rejected and disowned by their families for being who they are. Getting a hug from someone who seems like a “mom” or a “dad” may just give them the comfort and strength they need.

Indeed, there was a viral post about this very topic, and if you haven’t seen it yet, please stop reading this for a moment and go read this account, where the writer details moving stories about the people who asked for a hug during Pride. Go ahead—I’ll wait.

๐Ÿงก   ๐Ÿ’›   ๐Ÿ’š   ๐Ÿ’™   ๐Ÿ’œ

Okay, back now? Wasn’t that really touching?

I can’t imagine being rejected by my parents. I’m pretty positive mine would always love me no matter what. But many people aren’t as lucky, and they need our help. Being cared for, loved, and hugged are basic human rights, as far as I’m concerned. (And are awesome ways to disrupt negativity.)

So this got me thinking about hugs in general. I’m a pretty huggy person, so I wondered WHY do hugs help, and HOW do they help us?

I did a little reading on the topic!



Here is my summary of five reasons hugging is good for you:

1. Hugging releases brain chemicals that make you feel good.

When you are hugged by someone, your brain releases oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. These rewarding brain chemicals help cement emotionally positive experiences and help reduce stress levels.

2. Hugging reduces your heart rate and blood pressure.

Studies have been done that show both blood pressure and heart rate are reduced after the act of hugging. Having these two biometric stats lowered also contributes to the reduction of stress mentioned above, as well as less anxiety and a pervasive feeling of calm.

3. Hugging may help fight infection.

With the reduction in stress, your body becomes more immune to infection. A study was done that showed a correlation between perceived social support and the effects of illness, showing reduced symptoms for those who felt they had good social support. And what is a hug if not a physical manifestation of social support?

4. Hugging creates stronger relationships.

It’s said that children who are hugged regularly grow up more secure, confident, and sure of their place in their family. It’s also said that couples who hug and cuddle each other have stronger relationships. Once again, those rewarding brain chemicals help cement a relationship through physical touch. Neurobiologist Mary Carlson studied orphans in Romania in the 60s and 70s and discovered there were negative effects to those who were not hugged or who did not have positive social interactions regularly; these effects included elevated stress hormones like cortisol.

5. Hugging may help reduce pain.

A study was done in which people were exposed to a moderately painful stimulus with and without someone they love touching them. In the former scenario, being touched by a loved one had an analgesic effect. Additionally, another study done on people who suffer from chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia showed a reduction in symptoms when they sought six forms of therapeutic touch. Hugging is a form of therapeutic touch, is it not? Okay, I know this one is stretching a bit, but hear me out. For instance, just this morning my husband hugged me, and I’m in a full-blown fibro flare, so if he used too much pressure, it would hurt a little bit. But emotionally, I felt much better for having gotten that hug, and indeed, I often turn to him for a hug in times of increased pain. A hug from Fred is my favorite medicine! Those positive brain chemicals and reward circuits are doing their jobs! So while this is anecdotal evidence, at best, I’m going to call it a a legit win.

Conclusion

So with all that science to back it up, I think hugging is an EXCELLENT way to combat negativity! It’s simple, it costs nothing, and it can put a smile on someone’s face again. Why not offer someone a hug today? Not only would you help someone feel better, I bet it would help you, too.

As for those people at Pride who were willing to offer comfort to complete strangers with a hug, once again I am SUPER proud of my city for showing such compassion. You have my mad respect, Pittsburgh!

Until next time, be happy! ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ









 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Sources:
Brainfodder.org
Time
Healthline
Science
Gottman Institute
Elite Daily
The Telegraph


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fortune Cookie Friday: The Means of Happiness

This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures & Policies on my About page.

Ok, so, as I mentioned in this post here, Fortune Cookie Friday will be an occasional feature here at positively b.e.e. I get a lot of these every time I order Chinese food or go out, plus I sometimes buy a package of them (you can get a big box here), because I like them a lot.

I find the sayings inside often start a train of thought, for me, so I may as well share those trains here and see what you have to say about it, and I invite you to share your fortune cookie fortunes with me as well!

So without further adieu, the first fortune cookie fortune on this site:


"We cannot be happy unless we think we are the means of good to others."
What do you guys think of that?

My first, knee-jerk reaction to this was: "Nah."

But that was my brain trying to get in the way of my heart. When I tell my brain to pipe down, I get so much more out of thi…

Fortune Cookie Friday: Bide Your Time

This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures.

Hello fortune lovers! I hope you have had a most excellent week!

Here is today's fortune:


Bide your time, for success is near.
This one has me scratching my head a tiny bit. Is it saying to just cool my heels and wait for success to show up? I mean, to bide your time means to wait, but I've never been good at that. :) Let's explore this concept a little more.

Imagine the following scenario:

You really want to launch a new business. You develop a product, and then put it up on the internet to sell it. Do you then sit back and wait to see if it'll sell?

NOPE!
You're going to market it, right? You're going to place ads, tell everyone you know, maybe hold an open house or pass out flyers or business cards.

That said, there is value in patiently following the steps you need in order to be successful, and not shortcutting on any of the stages or materials.

I've read …

Fortune Cookie Friday: The Roving Bee

This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclaimers & Policies on my About page.

Hello, and happy Friday! I hope you've all had a great week. It is Fortune Cookie Friday, so let's see what today holds:
It's the roving bee ๐Ÿ that gathers honey. ๐Ÿฏ
First of all, I'd like to start with a side note: I love how my house is a virtual scavenger hunt when it comes to fortunes. It's fun for me when I find them. I have these things tucked away in all kinds of tiny little places, and it never ceases to amaze me when I come upon one that seems to speak exactly to what I'm thinking at the time. This one was tucked away in a drawer, with a rusty old paperclip on it. I have no idea what it used to be clipped to, by the way, but I took the clip off to take the photo, and it left those imprints on the paper. I don't even know how long I've had this one, but it has probably traveled with me through several moves over sever…