How hugs help our mental health

21st January is National Hug day, and we think hugs are magic.  Here is why.

Hugs create togetherness and can help anxiety

This is because a hug releases the hormone Oxytocin, sometimes known as the love hormone. Oxytocin is known to calm and relax and create a sense of togetherness.  This calming effect can help with anxiety.

Hugs release Dopamine.

Dopamine transmits pleasure and thereby makes us happy.

Conveys emotion and communicates

We often hug when we are happy to see someone or want to let them know that we are there, and they have our support. It’s a physically way to say, “I care about you and I’m here”. Hugs are a strong display of love and support.

Hugs balance our nervous system.

Signals are sent via our Vagus nerve to our brain which senses that we are being touched. These signals correlate our physical and psychological selves, and this helps to create balance.

Hugs reduce stress

Cortisol is linked with stress and a hug instantly reduces our levels of Cortisol and thereby reducing our stress. This in turn can make us more patient.

Hugs are one of the most incredible gifts we can give another person. Research has shown that to really benefit from a hug and to achieve all the wonderful things it can give you, it should be 20 seconds long.

For some that can feel too long, but if you have a friend who you can hug for 20 seconds then give it a go. A great big solid hug. See how you feel after, don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself crying, it’s not uncommon to feel a sudden sense of release.

Hugging has such powerful therapeutic effects that you can even hire a professional hugger or snuggler to come and literally cuddle with you for a little while. The professional hugger helps to create that sense of togetherness this type of contact can create. For people who are lonely having someone to just cuddle provides such a sense of connection and support that it can have tremendous physically and psychological benefits.

So on our National Hug Day, see if you can hug a few more people and try a 20 second hug, for some it’s too long, for others it’s essential.

Let us know how you got on with your 20 second hug below, we would love to hear from you.  

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