Hugging can be a beautiful interaction between two people, although often I encounter clients who claim to reject hugging with most people. As our society has become more dangerous in so many ways and relationships have become more complex, it seems that allowing ourselves to relax into hugs may feel a little exposing for some. Hugging can make us feel vulnerable with another and often we tend to protect ourselves from such exposure. But hugging can have enormous benefits both for our health and our happiness.
Hugs increase oxytocin: Oxytocin is commonly known as the love hormone and is often released, particularly during sex, orgasm and other close physical contact. Some of the benefits of oxytocin are increased optimism, higher self-esteem and elevated feelings of trust. Add to this the fact that oxytocin relieves pain and promotes wound healing, it seems important that we get our daily dose of physical contact with others. Oxytocin also relieves stress and alleviates depression while making us feel more generous towards others. Get close to your loved ones to experience these benefits and see for yourself what the impact may be on your mental health and wellbeing.
Hugs lower blood pressure: research has shown that hugs lower blood pressure. Lowered blood pressure is important for stress and anxiety as well as heart health. Lowered blood pressure results in a lower heart rate, which in turn relieves stress on the whole body. Many people who experience high blood pressure feel contstantly anxious and can even feel out of breath. Hugging more can slightly alleviate this and create a deeper sense of relaxation within the body. Have a hug and see if you can feel the slow release of tension in your body.
Hugs lower cortisol: Cortisol is the stress hormone. During times of stress or danger, the first hormone released into the body is cortisol. Lowering cortisol can induce both relaxation and sleep. High cortisol levels are also found in those who suffer from depression and low sexual desire. Reducing cortisol could improve your mood and create more spaciousness in your life to enjoy and relax when necessary. Also, what better way to while away time than in a luxurious lovemaking session with your partner.
Start hugging more and see what other benefits you might gain. Notice what difference it makes in your life and within your relationships. Perhaps hugging is the small thing which can be done today that will make a big difference in your life. Have a long hug with your partner or loved one and feel the stress melt away into deep and pleasurable relaxation.
NOTE: This is not medical advice, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms please contact your health practitioner.