Hugging Leads To Oxytocin And Improved Health
Written by: Joanne Beccarelli
I need a hug! How many times have you said or thought that? Sounds like your body knows what you might not have realized: that hugging is a great way to add stability, comfort and even better health to your life.
So, a hug a day keeps the doctor away, right? Actually, it’s at least 8 hugs a day that you really need and more for growth.
“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” ~ Virginia Satir
Are you getting what you need?
Hugging And What It Does For You
It has been observed, studied and documented that the average length of a hug is a mere 3 seconds. That’s pretty brief and a short hug is better than no hug at all, but if you hold that hug for 20 seconds then your body will reward you with a big dose of oxytocin.
Casually called the “love hormone,” oxytocin is a hormone made in the hypothalamus part of the brain and secreted by the pituitary gland. Oxytocin influences emotions and social behavior, but also plays a role in sex, childbirth, anxiety supression and trust. When oxytocin is released, you receive a natural form of therapy, all for free, with the benefit to strengthen relationships, moods and ultimately behaviors.
Yet there are even more reasons to begin to embrace (pun) hugging! Studies have shown that along with stress reduction, hugging can increase your immunity, improve healing, decrease blood pressure, assist muscle regeneration and improve overall cardiovascular health. What better reasons do you need for becoming a hugger?
Try These Ways To Get & Give More Hugs Today
While it seems easy to get and give hugs, most people actually forget to hug. Use this list as a reminder of some ways you can amp up your oxytocin through hugging.
Add in hugs for:
1. Everyday hellos and goodbyes.
2. When you are feeling protective.
3. As a contagious way to show joy.
4. To share forgiveness and agreement.
5. In groups – not all hugs have to be one-on-one acts.
6. With your pet – this counts!
7. Cyber-hugging! Even sharing your hugging intention in the virtual world helps the giver and receiver.
8. As a silent way to say, ’I love you!’
“You can’t give a hug without getting a hug” (Jacques-Benigne Bossuet), so remember that each time you reach out to give a hug. Let’s see if today can be the first day of getting all the hugs you need to grow and thrive.
Share your thoughts and ideas for ways to increase your hugging quotient in the comments below.
Joanne Beccarelli is a holistic health coach, juicing junkie, writer, soon to be cookbook author and recovered emotional eater. Inspired by many great voices in the health-thru-food revolution, Joanne found her way out of hiding in shame (losing almost 100 lbs in the process) and stepped away from the corporate world. She now dedicates every day to helping others who are overwhelmed, overworked, and overstressed, find awareness, fulfilment and better health.
Joanne has a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell/T. Colin Campbell Foundation, and became a Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is also a member of American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP), and the International Association of Health Coaches (IAHC).
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