There are two types of people in the world: the huggers and the non-huggers. I fall squarely within the first category: I am a hugger. A big, tight, squishy hugger!
You may not have been aware that today is National Hugging Day. A whole day dedicated to what is possibly my favourite thing in the world: hugs. I could literally spend 90% of my day hugging people (and cats) and I would be completely fine with this, if a little bit unproductive! So in order to share my love of hugs with you all, I thought I would give you 10 reasons why hugs are the best thing ever (and why you should probably be giving hugs more frequently!)
1. Hugs can help you relax
It's been scientifically proven that hugging helps our muscles to relax and releases tension from our body. It can lower our body's reactions to stressful events by increasing our levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin, reducing the stress hormone cortisol and lowering our blood pressure. There's no denying that receiving a big warm hug from someone you trust can really help you to relax.
2. Hugs can improve your mood
Ever noticed how hugging someone can give you an instant boost of happiness? Hugging increases our level of the hormone serotonin which can boost your mood and self-esteem. In fact, people with low levels of serotonin in their body are likely to experience depression, anger and loneliness. It can also boost your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.
3. Hugs can strengthen your immune system
Researchers have found that those who receive hugs from their loved ones more frequently are less likely to catch a cold - which is especially great news at this time of year! This is because hugging decreases our stress hormones which are known to inhibit the immune system. Therefore, hugs = less stress hormones = better immune system!
4. Hugs can enhance your relationships
A big, squishy hug can help you bond better with someone, and increases your sense of trust, safety, security and belonging - all of which are the foundations of a healthy relationship. Research has found that relationships in which hugging is present tend to be stronger and longer-lasting too.
5. Hugs can communicate what words can't
Ever noticed how sometimes, a hug can say more than words can say? A hug allows you to really empathise with the other person and builds trust in a way that nothing else can.