Whether you’re a hugger by nature or prefer not to be touched, your physical and mental health benefit when you celebrate National Hug Day, held annually on January 21. Give a few hugs this day and every day as you improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Increase Oxygen Flow
Touch increases your body’s hemoglobin, and it carries oxygen to all your body’s organs. With oxygen, your body’s able to fight diseases as it recovers from illness.
Reduce Physical Pain
UCLA Pain Control unit’s Dr. David Bresler see the need for physical touch. He prescribes bear hugs four times a day as part of his patients’ pain management treatment plan. To give and receive a bear hug and reduce your physical pain, he suggests you face your partner and use both of your arms to fully embrace him or her.
Improve Mental Health
Hugging releases oxytocin, an important hormone that affects your mental health and wellbeing. With it, you feel happier and less anxious.
A study performed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researched the responses of 50 people after a stressful event. Part of the group held hands and hugged for 20 seconds while the rest of the participants sat quietly and did not touch. When asked to recall a recent stressful event, the cuddlers experienced lower heart rates and blood pressure readings then the non-cuddlers. You, too, will enjoy reduced stress when you hug.
Instead of fighting insomnia or relying on sleeping pills, participate in a few hugs every day. They relax your body and your emotions so that you can enjoy a better night’s sleep.
Hugging stimulates your skin’s nerve endings, which allows them to signal your brain to slow cortisol release. It’s a hormone that fights stress, builds your immune system, reduces inflammation and assists you in living longer.
Hugs do more than show affection. They also improve your physical and mental health. Implement them into your daily routine on National Hug Day, and talk to your doctor about additional ways you can be healthy and whole.