Fun facts about hugging


I love hugging.  I wish I was an octopus, so I could hug ten people at a time.  Drew Barrymore

In celebration of National Hugging Day on Monday, 21 January 2012 – Happiness Weekly is looking at some fun facts about hugging and all the benefits that come with it. Don’t forget you can celebrate National Hugging Day, a day dedicated to expressing your emotions in public, by giving someone a hug.

The benefits of hugging
– More upbeat moods
– Reduce heart rates
– Lower blood pressure
– Increase nerve activity
– Reduce levels of cortisol (stress hormone) if they are over 20 seconds long
– Increase levels of oxytocin (bonding hormone)
– Boosts the immune system
– Builds self esteem
– Alleviates tension and releases endorphins
– It’s portable and it doesn’t cost a thing!

hug-loveHugging facts
* Cuddling increases feelings of safety, security, trust, strength, healing, self worth, belonging, happiness and appreciation
* A hug encourages bonding by increasing the levels of oxytocin in the body
* Studies show that IQ development is delayed in children who don’t receive hugs. Those that lack hugs start walking, talking and reading later
* According to a survey taken in America, marriages where hugging or touching are present, last longer than those without
* A brief hug with a romantic partner is equivalent to 10 minutes of handholding and greatly reduces stress
* Psychologist Karen Grewen found that both males and females gain higher levels of oxytocin (bonding hormone) after a hug
* People crave 13 hugs a day – but most don’t receive this many 😦
* A hug normally lasts 9.5 seconds
* On average, people spend an hour a month, hugging
* As hugging increases oxytocin and reduces cortisol – it leads us to a healthy heart and lower blood pressure (good for those with hypertension)
* Hugs also lower our heart rate, promoting a calming effect
* Full body hugs stimulate the nervous system
* It decreases the feeling of loneliness, helps up combat fear, increases self-esteem, affirms relationships, defuses tension and shows appreciation.

How does hugging make you feel? How often do you hug someone? How often does someone hug you?


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17 responses to “Fun facts about hugging”

  1. Nalliah Thayabharan says :

    Hugging and laughter are extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress, but healthy and wholesome habits of hugging and laughter are endangered by the bustle of modern life. The more typical ways of greeting people like handshakes are designed to keep us apart rather than bring us together. Hugging is very similar to meditation and laughter, teaches to let go and be present in the moment. Hugging encourages to flow with the energy of life. Hugging helps to get out of circular thinking patterns and connect with the heart, feelings and the breath. Reaching out and hugging releases Endorphins and serotonin into the blood vessels and the released Endorphins and serotonin cause pleasure and negate pain and sadness, lower blood pressure, decrease the chances of getting heart problems, helps fight excess weight and prolongs life. Even the cuddling of pets has a soothing effect that reduces the stress levels. But teddy bears, whose use has been increasing in the recent decades, are a poor substitute for the real hugging. The nurturing touch of hugging will make us healthier, younger, thinner, more relaxed, live longer, fight depression and make us age slower. A proper deep hug, where the hearts are pressing together not only improves both psychological and physical development, but also helps to build a good immune system, decrease the risk of heart disease, and decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol in women. Hugging instantly boost the pair bonding hormone neurotransmitter oxytocin levels which stimulates and sharpens the senses, contributes to our sense of connectedness, causes to feel calm and happier; and heal loneliness, isolation, and anger. During lactation huge amounts of oxytocin are released from the brain to the breast tissue allowing milk to flow. Breastfeeding mothers have lower blood pressure. Oxytocin receptors have in other tissues, including the heart, kidney, thymus, and pancreas. Oxytocin plays a powerful role in protecting heart. By touching another person, oxytocin is produced in heart and travels throughout blood stream dilating them through a mechanism of increased nitric oxide leading to a decrease in blood pressure, less inflammation and less plaque build-up. Excess chronic inflammation is the key player in plaque buildup in arteries, known as atherosclerosis. Oxytocin reduces free radical formation and other inflammatory markers decreasing the risk for heart attack. Hugging strengthen the immune system. Love is a miracle drug. Hugging teaches us how to give and receive. There is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. Hugging educates how love flows both ways. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free. Hugging for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness. A couple who hugs for 20 seconds has higher levels of oxytocin, and that those who were in a loving relationship exhibited a highest increase. 15 minutes of holding hands with a romantic partner can help reduce stress, and its harmful physical effects. Adults who have no contact with people had higher blood pressure and heart rate. Hugging therapy is definitely a powerful way of healing. The energy exchange between the two people hugging is an investment in the relationship. Hugging encourages empathy and understanding. Hugging is synergistic, which means the whole is more than the sum of its parts. This synergy results in win-win outcomes. Hugging also builds trust and a sense of safety, helps with open and honest communication and boosts self-esteem. In the mother’s womb, each part of the fetus’ body is touched by the amniotic fluid, which is the origin of the yearning for touch. Holding a baby offers physiological and emotional benefits. The tactile sense is very important in infants. During our early childhood our family’s touch showed us that we’re loved and special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early childhood are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our parents, grandparents and relatives while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that and connects us to our ability to self love. Hug relaxes muscles; releases tension in the body, take away pain and soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues. Hugging helps to stretch the facial muscles, erase age lines and slow the aging process. Hugs balances out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system – parasympathetic.

  2. Sarah says :

    My last hug lasted about three seconds and was two months ago. :-/ hmm.
    Hey Sarah, you look similar to Jennifer Lawrence in your profile picture.

    • happinessweekly says :

      Haha! I’m flattered – thank you.

      The key is not to wait for someone to hug you. Don’t wait to get a partner… Just don’t wait. Hug those you love and always tell them you appreciate them.

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