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Did you know that getting a hug not only gives you a warm and fuzzy sense of well-being but it can also be good for your health?
That’s right--hugging for just 10 seconds can increase feel-good hormones like oxytocin, which causes stress chemicals like cortisol to drop and that helps lower your blood pressure. A study by Dr. Jan Astrom showed that giving or getting a hug is a good thing!Here are just a few more reasons why it may be a good idea to give and receive more hugs:Hugs can help soothe your fearsA study on fears and self-esteem, showed that hugs and touching greatly lower fears of death. The study found that hugging--even a stuffed teddy bear--helps soothe a person’s fears. Well-hugged babies lead to well-adjusted adults Don’t think twice about giving your baby an extra hug. Just go ahead and do it! Research shows that babies who receive a lot of physical affection will develop better coping mechanisms as they grow up.
Hugs are good for your heartNot only does a hug feel good, but it’s good for a heart healthy lifestyle. In an experiment at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, participants who didn't have any contact with their partners developed a faster heart rate than those who got a hug. It’s not just another idea, it’s a heart healthy idea! Hugs are calmingBecause hugging can raise your level of oxytocin, a good hug can leave you feeling calmer and less anxious.Hugs make you happyNot only does hugging release oxytocin, but it can also lead to the release of other hormones such as serotonin and dopamine which help lift your mood. There is no downside to huggingSeriously, how good are hugs? They’re just awesome!
Originally published August 6, 2015; Revised 2019
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