From the moment we were born, we’ve been feeling tactile sensations through others’ affections. These instances naturally connect us to others, hence making us feel better as people. As we grow old, hugging can be a great way for us to feel those sensations again and even bring us more benefits. So go out and get a hug! Remember though, in Singapore, “hugging without permission” has fines!
Hugging helps reduce the tension in our muscles, helping us become calmer and more relaxed. It also reduces the amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol, that the body produces. If someone you know is in a stressful situation, give them a hug. Not only will they feel better, it will also reduce the stress that you have, even as the one who is doing the comforting.
Strengthens our immune system
Hugs have been found to enhance the immune system through the maintenance and control of our white blood cells. Enough increase of white blood cells in our system can give us better immunity, therefore keeping us healthy overall. Lower levels of cortisol also contribute to a strong immune system, all the while, serving as an aid to keep us generally healthy.
Hugging can promote more trust and help solidify your bond with your family, partner, and even friends. Hugging induces oxytocin, sometimes considered the “love hormone”, which also governs our social interactions and our compassion towards others. Additionally, we come in contact with whoever we are hugging and make a physical connection strongly felt by both parties.
Hugs have also been found to help ease pain through the emotional bonds we get through the sense of touch. This might also be because hugging increases the production of serotonin, which improves our mood and the circulation of blood around our body’s tissues. Of course, it can’t easily replace painkillers, but hugging can definitely help you feel a lot better.
Aside from serotonin and oxytocin, both of which improve our mood, hugging can also induce dopamine. Dopamine triggers our brain’s reward and pleasure centers. This means that we feel happier because of the pleasure we get emotionally and physically when hugging. Even with those three “happiness hormones”, the simple notion of touching and coming in contact with others can make us feel more positive.
Ever since we were young, we were already marked with the feeling of love, expressed through acts like cuddling, hugging, and kissing by our parents. So, as we grow older, we naturally desire a constant feeling of touch. When we hug, we can establish our self-image in connection to those sensations that we crave for. It also helps us recognize and mitigate the fear of death.