Who doesn't love getting a hug from someone they love? Everyone can agree, hugs feel great. But did you know that hugs are also good for? It's true! There are a number of ways in which getting a hug can improve your health. Here are 10 surprising health benefits of hugs:
1. Hugs boost oxytocin levels. Elevated oxytocin levels lead to lessening of feelings of anger, loneliness, and isolation.
2. Hugs raise serotonin levels. Elevated Serotonin levels improve your mood, create happiness, and help to regulate your sleep cycle.
3. Hugs release endorphins. Endorphins are the body's natural pain relievers, so getting a hug will actually soothe your aches and pains!
4. Hugs increase production of dopamine. Dopamine is produced in the reward center of the brain and makes you happy, relieves depression, and just makes you feel good all over.
5. Hugs reduce levels of circulating cortisol in the blood. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. By reducing the amount of cortisol circulating in the blood, hugs can alleviate stress and calm the mind.
6. Hugs lower blood pressure. Hugs activate pressure receptors in the skin called pacinian corpuscles, which send signals to the part of your brain responsible for lowering blood pressure.
7. Hugs strengthen your immune system. Hugs can help stimulate the thymus gland which regulates the body's production of white blood cells, which fight off disease.
8. Hugs relax your muscles. Hugs relieve tension in the body and soothe pain. As a result, they increase circulation to the soft tissue and relax the muscles.
9. Hugs balance the nervous system. The same pacinian corpuscles which help to lower blood pressure also help balance out the nervous system. The longer the hug, the more balanced the nervous system becomes.
10. Hugs are awesome! You didn't need to read about the physiology behind hugs to know that they are awesome! Hugs help us connect with the loved ones in our lives and they feel great. They have a similar effect on the body as laughter and meditation by detaching you from stress and connecting you with mindfulness and happiness. So give someone you love a hug today. The bigger the better and the more the merrier!