A hug a day keeps stress away

This morning, one of my little lads came in and gave me a very BIG hug, holding on for ages.  When he finally let go, I looked and him and asked ” what was that for?”. He just shrugged his shoulders and said “dunno…I just needed a hug” and scooted off. It really made me wonder what it actually is about a hug that makes us feel so much better. So I did a little digging and it turns out that a simple hug is far from simple, there is actually so much that happens when we hug someone –  and pretty much all of it is good!
cats hugging

What’s in a hug?

So here is my summary of the 10 amazing things that happen when you hug someone.
  1. Holding a hug for an extended time lifts your serotonin levels, lifting your mood and making you both feel happy – hence the BIG hug!
  2. Hugs instantly boost oxytocin levels which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation and anger. So helping you feel better!
  3. Hugging boosts self-esteem. From the moment we are born, our family’s use touch and hugging to show us that we are valued and loved, that we are very special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our infant years are still embedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles  we received from our parents whilst growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, so hugs remind us at a subconscious level of that feeling. Therefore, cuddles connect us to our ability to self-love.
  4. The lovely touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety.
  5. Hugging helps you relax. It releases tension in the body and helps take away any pain as it increases circulation into the soft tissues. nothing like a bear hug
  6. Hugs are very much like hypnosis, meditation and laughing they teach us to let go and be present in the moment.
  7. Hugs encourage empathy and understanding, and the energy exchange between two people embracing is an investment in the relationship.
  8. Hugging is like therapy. Research shows that hugging (and also laughter) is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress.
  9. A hug can actually strengthen your immune system! The warm gentle pressure on the sternum stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.
  10. A hug stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which is the opposite to the flight or fight system so helping you feel safe, relaxed and
    calm.group hug

So what are you waiting for? Go give someone a big hug!!

Relaxation and stress managementTo help keep your stress at a healthy level check out my Relaxation and Stress Management track

Find out more about my work at www.natalhypnotherapy.co.uk