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Hugging has become more popular than kissing in recent years, especially when greeting or comforting friends and family - and with good reason because hugging comes with lots of health benefits too.
Top ten reasons to hug someone!
- It is universally comforting and accepted by most cultures.
- It leaves you with a warm feeling when you give a hug or are hugged in return.
- Hugs help to reduce the stress someone is feeling when you show your support. In addition, it can even reduce the stress of the person doing the comforting.
- Hugging may protect against illness. In one study of over four hundred adults, researchers found that the participants with a greater support system were less likely to get sick. And even those who did get sick had less severe symptoms than those with little or no support system.
- Hugs are also healthier than kissing because you are much less likely to pass on any lingering germs or viruses.
- They can be good for boosting your heart health, with researchers finding greater reductions in blood pressure levels and heart rate in those who regularly hug. Having an affectionate relationship with plenty of hugs could mean a healthier heart.
- Hugs make you happier. There is a chemical in our bodies known as oxytocin (sometimes called the "cuddle hormone") and the levels of oxytocin will rise when we hug, touch or even just sit close to someone. The chemical is associated with happiness and less stress - especially in women.
- Hugs help to reduce fear and anxiety especially in those with low self-esteem. Even if someone is alone but fearful, just hugging something like a teddy bear can be helpful. Obviously, having a pet to hug is even better!
- Hugging has been found to help reduce pain. Researchers gave patients suffering with fibromyalgia six therapeutic touch treatments. Each treatment involved light touching on the skin. The participants reported an increase in quality of life - and reduced pain.
- Hugs are helpful in communicating with others, being an important way in which to send messages especially of comfort.
But how much hugging is necessary?
Probably more than you think.
Family therapist Virginia Satir once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
Isn't it time for you to get into the habit of hugging - and giving away hugs - as often as you can ?
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