The power of hugging: How it affects our health
In the 21st century, with the domination of technology, human contact has reduced dramatically. As a result, the social distancing has increased in parallel with the need for hugs.
In particular, the will for hugs increased during COVID – 19 pandemic, which has been a challenging period, especially for the biggest percentage of people who were lonely. During these years, physical hugs were replaced by virtual ones.
The word “hug” is believed to have originated from the ancient Scandinavian word “hugga” meaning “hippy,” which translated to “to be tender of” or “to be comfort”.
In 2004, Juan Mann, an Australian native, begins the Free Hugs Campaign, because he believes that life is more enjoyable with physical contact.
For history, hugging was first used in warfare to communicate to their adversary that they didn’t intent to harm them. This was a sign that they had no visible weapons in their hands or on their body.
We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.
..Virginia Satir, a world-renowned family therapist, said.
Hugging is a universal language. We hug to express our emotions whether we are happy or sad. However, the benefits of hugging go beyond that warm feeling we get, when we hug someone.
What are the benefits of hugging?
- Hugs increase the feelings of mattering.
Extended hugging boosts your serotonin levels, causing you to feel happy and more positive emotions overall.
- Hugs reduce stress by showing your support.
According to scientists, giving another person support through a hug can reduce the stress levels of the person being comforted. Results from research found that parts of human’s brain associated with stress showed reduce activity while those parts associated with the rewards of maternal behavior showed more activity.
- Hugs help you communicate with others.
For many people, hugging is a language. Scientists have found that a stranger could express a wide range of emotions to another person by touching different parts of their body.
Hugging is not only limited to people but also to animals. It is one of the reasons why pet therapy is so powerful.
- Leads to More Self-Compassion
According to a study, oxytocin may help to be more compassionate towards ourselves.
- Hugs may boost your heart
Findings from research, showed that people who had romantic partners and have for 20 second hug with each other, have greater reductions in blood pressure levels and heart rate than the people who was in silence.
According to scientists, the power of hugging affects the mental health of people. Especially for seafarers who live extent periods of loneliness, away from their families, hugging is something very important.
Seafarers are being physically and mentally challenged. Many of them enjoy their work on board, but they find themselves significantly less happy on board than when they are at home. In maritime industry, the most challenging thing that seafarers have to face, is the “risky occupation” in terms of both physical and mental health.
For this reason, seafarers may feel low sometimes. Low mood can include sadness, worry and feeling anxious. The medicine for these situations is a hug.
When the right person hugs you, it’s like medicine. I’m so grateful for those few people in my life who are good for my soul.
…Steve Maraboli has said.
In conclusion, hugs are a powerful way to improve our mental health and wellbeing. Always remember that, in a world where words aren’t enough to express your feelings, there is the hug, which speaks volumes.