By Ariel Kruemcke, M.Ed., LPC
National Hug Day – Whether you are someone who really enjoys hugs or cringes at the thought, there is actual science to prove how hugs lead to happiness. The hormone oxytocin is behind all of it. When we hug someone, this hormone is released and that leads to positive feelings such as happiness.
Now if you move away from the science behind it, hugs are a great way to build connection. Our whole goal is to find connection; it is a basic need of human beings. If you can remember the last time you hugged someone, how did that action affect the relationship between you and that person? Not everyone is comfortable with physical touch, but the more hugs a person receives, the more comfortable they are with them and typically the more connected they feel to others.
Back to oxytocin, there are also physical benefits that our body receives from having this hormone released. When we hug someone, there can be an impact on our heart rate and the feeling of physical tension being reduced. Stress can lead to heart problems and other health issues over time. Basically, hugs can be good medicine for stress.
Giving hugs to yourself can also be a good practice to reduce stress and create self-love. If you are someone who shies away from hugs, then try giving self-hugs and work your way up to hugs with others. You may start to see the positive impact that hugs can have on you if you take the time to notice it.
Go and give as many hugs as you can today!