5-Minute Health Tip: Hug Someone!

Do you get your share of good hugs on a daily basis? If so, you’re one of the lucky ones. One study found that 1/3 of people don’t get a hug every day, and that 75% of people wish they were hugged more. Hugs don’t just strengthen emotional bonds and feel good…they actually help boost your immune system, protect your heart health, and reduce stress and depression. So hug someone today!

The special love between a mother and daughterThe Health Benefits of Hugs

When you hug, your body responds with a surge of the “love” hormone oxytocin, which has a beneficial influence on stress levels and cardiovascular health.

  • A 2003 study published in Behavioral Medicine showed that a 20-second hug could help mitigate the deleterious health effects of stress, such as lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels in the blood.
  • A 2012 study published in Comprehensive Psychology showed that a 10-second hug helped to alleviate depression, strengthen the immune system, fight infections, and alleviate fatigue.
  • A 2005 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine showed that women who engaged in a brief exchange of warm physical contact with their partner enjoyed lowered blood pressure.

Neurologist Shekar Raman, MD, explained to the Huffington Post: “A hug, pat on the back, and even a friendly handshake are processed by the reward center in the central nervous system, which is why they can have a powerful impact on the human psyche, making us feel happiness and joy… And it doesn’t matter if you’re the toucher or touchee. The more you connect with others—on even the smallest physical level—the happier you’ll be.”

So hug someone today…just make sure you have their permission.