Get By With A Little Help From A Hug

November 23, 2015

Children require them. Grandparents live for them. Parents savor each and every one of them. Of course, teens abhor them. At least that’s what they want us to believe. So just what is it about a nice nuzzle, a sincere squeeze, a cozy cuddle or heartfelt hug that seems to cure all of life’s ails?

As it turns out, hugging is a powerful form of healing! It not only sooths the soul, but is extremely effective at healing sickness and disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress, and so much more!

It releases oxytocin and serotonin, which, among other things, improve mood, fight depression and help wounds heal faster. Additionally, the act stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, further strengthening the immune system and helping keep you healthy and disease free.

A 2014 study from Carnegie Melon University seems to support these findings by suggesting that those who regularly receive hugs are more protected from infection and illness-related symptoms than those who do not.

Additionally, hugging fosters trust, security and empathy, and boosts self-esteem and self-worth. It also teaches us about reciprocity, sharing and love.

What is better than a hug? Such a small physical act can be so meaningful, and yet so routine as well. We do it for so many reasons: to comfort, to congratulate, to welcome and to depart. But do we really ever get tired of a hug? You could say a day without a hug is like a day without sunshine, because even the gloomiest of days can be brightened up by a nice squeeze.