There are countless books, websites and seminars all written with the aim of helping us to get more from life and to be more happy, successful and healthy. Many of us will spend a large amount of money and even more time to follow these ‘steps to happiness’ or new training routines and will find that we end up no happier or fitter as a result – just a bit more tired and strapped for cash.
What makes all this so unfortunate though is the fact that there are so many simple ways you can make life better without spending a dime or really lifting a finger. The simple act of hugging your partner more regularly for instance can help to make the world a better place and improve almost every aspect of your life – and that’s something that doesn’t require a book or seminar to benefit from.
Health Benefits of Hugging
Scientific studies have demonstrated many ways that hugging can be beneficial for our health in a whole plethora of ways. Across countless studies researchers have identified links with decreased heart rates, lower blood pressure, better sleep, increased nerve activity and better moods. Just like laughing, kissing and sex, hugging can trigger the release of chemicals that help to strengthen your immune system (such as oxytocin) which can in turn help you to fight off disease and even recover from existing conditions. Meanwhile, hugging or holding hands have also been shown to decrease the stress hormone cortisol which is known to make our immune systems weaker. In other words, hugging regularly could improve your lifespan – who needs phony herbal remedies?
Hugging can also help to improve your mood, and particularly if you enjoy a good hug in the morning this will help you to go through the rest of the day with a spring in your step. In one study it was found that those of us who hugged regularly are 50% more likely to describe our mental health as top notch.
Being in a good mood apart from anything else is nice for us, but it can also have a number of positive knock on effects. If you’re in a good mood for instance then you’re more likely to put others in a good mood and you’re more likely to find that your various daily interactions go well with others. You will find you’re more likely to try more things, to be more confident and to give off more charisma. In short, hugging in the morning could lead to a promotion. It sounds far-fetched, but it certainly could factor in.
Hugging anyone will have the effects described above, but hugging your partner has an added bonus – it will also help you to strengthen your relationship. In one study it was found that regular and affectionate cuddles were more effective at improving relationships than even sex. Regular hugging has been shown to increase feelings of intimacy and partnership, which may also be explained by the production of oxytocin (the ‘love hormone’).
It costs nothing, it takes two minutes and it will improve both your lives… so hug the one you love!