It isn’t just a Valentine’s Day activity. Do you know that hugging can also be the best of health prescriptions?
Besides being a sign of closeness, hugging goes beyond the manifestation of connectedness. Hugging is effective at healing illnesses such as loneliness, depression, stress and anxiety.
To hug or to be hugged doesn’t require any conversation between two people. And yet, what it can do for the person encompasses body, mind and spirit.
Hugging conveys a feeling of joy, comfort and happiness. When one is hugged, oftentimes both the hugger and the hugged experience an uplifting feeling, as though a burden has been removed, a pain eased.
Scientifically, hugging stimulates the brain to release oxytocin, the love hormone. The result is bonding between two people. Tensions are released and muscles tend to relax. What’s more, endorphins, the feel-good hormones, take action by reducing and even blocking pain. The heart is stimulated, too, through its energy field when there is an exchange of feelings.
Here’s an effective experiment: If you want to increase trust with another person, then hug him or her. This will open up their heart. A mood enhancer, that’s what a hug is. The brain takes on an important role when it releases dopamine and serotonin into the blood. The immediate effect is pleasure. The best stressbuster of all is hugging. It causes the troubled and beleaguered mind to calm down.
Nerve-soother that it is, a hug can immediately create balance from within. The warmth of human touch can boost the immune system. The stress hormone cortisol decreases, while the body’s ability to combat disease increases when a person is hugged, as oppose to someone who isn’t hugged.
It is said that in order to stay healthy, one must do the following: give and receive a 20-second hug daily, followed by 10 minutes of hand-holding. This can significantly improve your health by lowering the risk of heart disease and fighting fatigue and loneliness, resulting in a stronger immune system to fight disease.
Experts recommend giving or receiving a hug every day, even if it is under 10 seconds. This is also the reason why couples tend to live longer than singles, according to study (www.mercola.com).
The interesting results of studies is that hugging may also reduce the craving for addictions like drugs, alcohol and even sugar. Other ways to enhance closeness or connectedness is through kissing, giving and receiving a massage, and practice mind-body exercises like yoga, tai chi, qi-gong.
Good news for the chaste and celibate—you don’t need another human being to enjoy the benefits of hugging: You can hug your pet. Better still, share some love with those in need, like the abandoned and the underprivileged. By giving your time and affection to the needy, you are helping others heal (as you heal yourself through the act of giving and nurturing).
Silly as it may sound, it has been proven by science. In his book “Blinded by Science,” Matthew Silverstone confirms that there’s evidence of the health benefits of hugging a tree. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, especially in children), depression and headaches are alleviated when holding or being near a tree.
It was noted that access to greenery and nature help ease the psychological imbalances of people who feel a sense of disconnectedness (www.treeactivist.com).
Remember, if you cannot hug a person, find a pet. In the absence of both, a stuffed teddy bear might help remove your feelings of loneliness. Would you believe that your imagination can be so powerful? All you have to do is think about that special person, and that loving feeling can be evoked.
This week’s affirmation: “I’ve got that loving feeling.”