Touch, and hugs, are important parts of normal living. Hugging spreads feelings of warmth from heart to heart, but it also affects the body through many chemical processes that all act together to create these feelings. Simple touch goes a long way to help one understand their own emotions and become more opening towards others.
- What Hugging Does For The Body
Reduces The Fear Of Death: Studies show that hugging and touching – whether an actual person, or an inanimate object – helps people lessen their fear of dying. Interpersonal touch is so powerful, and so needed, that people benefit as much from hugging and touching objects as they do people.
- Produces Less Stressed Adults:
Hugging babies not only makes adults feel good, but goes a long way to reduce stress in the babies themselves. Studies show links between touch and stress relief, especially early in life. Infants who are touched and hugged learn how to cope with stress. This knowledge follows them throughout life.
- Lowers The Heart Rate:
One study placed people in a large room. Some couples were allowed to remain together, while other couples were separated and put in different rooms. Those couples that remained spent the time hugging – as they were told to. Heart rates were measured after the hugging session and the huggers had a heart rate that was five beats a minute slower than the non-huggers.
- Parasympathetic Balance:
Hugging has the remarkable ability to calm and balance the nervous system. The skin is loaded with pressure points that feel touch; this feeling then travels to the brain where it calms the whole nervous system. There are actual skin reactions from a simple hug: the combination of moisture and electricity helps bring more balance to the whole parasympathetic nervous system.
- Stimulates Dopamine:
Dopamine is the feel good hormone. PET scans and MRIs show that when people hug someone or something, or listen to their favorite music, dopamine is released within the brain in anticipation of both. Some dopamine receptors are sensation seekers; these may include those areas that mind-altering drugs target.
- Stimulates Oxytocin:
Oxytocin, a neurotransmitter in the emotional center of the brain, reduces stress and anxiety, produces feelings of contentment, and makes most mammals remain monogamous. It is also the same hormone that makes mothers forget about the painful childbirth they just experienced and love the little being that we once were. High levels of oxytocin lower the heart rate and blood pressure, lead to better social bonding, and promote feelings of love, trust, devotion and total bonding to another. Hugging releases so much oxytocin in our systems that we want to keep hugging just because it feels so good.
- Stimulates Serotonin:
Hugging releases serotonin and endorphins directly into our blood vessels. This gives us immediate pleasure while lessening our sadness and pain. High levels of serotonin make people feel important and worthy; low serotonin levels can lead to loneliness and depression. Serotonin may also help some fight weight issues, avoid heart problems and prolong their life. Go ahead, hug your stuffie, your pet, or some dear person – your health is counting on it.
- Helps The Immune System:
All of these hug hormones help fight off diseases and disorders thanks to them working in conjunction with our immune system. Hugging stimulates a relaxation reflex which helps the body fight physical, emotional, and social stressers – a natural boost to the immune system. What more could you want from a hug?
Source: The Mind Unleashed
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