In the dictionary, the word "hug" is defined, "to grasp someone else as a means of expression or demonstration of affection." Recent studies have shown that hugging and being hugged 4 to 12 times a day brings great health benefits. A good hug lasts longer than 20 seconds and must be given and received by people who trust each other. A renowned family therapist and expert on the subject said: "We need four hugs a day to survive. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth."
Why should you embrace members of your family more often? Here I share 10 very good reasons:
1. Hugs make you feel secure
Being embraced gives you a feeling of companionship, helps you emotionally release and relieves loneliness and insecurity. Studies say children who receive more hugs relate to other people more easily and have fewer behavioral problems.
2. Hugs make you feel happy
Undoubtedly, receiving a hug makes you smile instantly and see things more positively. Being hugged creates a hormonal reaction in your body: Oxytocin is released, providing a sense of wellbeing and strengthening family ties. This is the same hormone that supports maternal love and infatuation.
3. Hugs raise your self-esteem
No one can deny that receiving a tight hug from the heart makes you feel loved, valued and special.
4. Hugs strengthen family bonds
A united family is accustomed to giving and receiving loving physical contact with one another: hugging, kissing, shaking hands or leaning on someone else unites and promotes empathy and understanding.
5. Hugs help you relax
Hugs relax your muscles and body tension and can reduce physical pain. Hugs also boost your immune system, making you stronger and less prone to getting sick.
6. Hugs are antidepressants
Hugs promote a positive attitude towards life and take us out of solitude and isolation. They also trigger the production of serotonin and dopamine, the hormones responsible for happiness.
Receiving hugs often reduces anxiety, which, in turn, reduces appetite (caused by anxiety) and causes people to stay more calm and cheerful. Hugs also combat insomnia and aging.
8. Hugs reduce stress and stabilize blood pressure
Receiving hugs regularly causes blood pressure to stabilize, and cortisol (the hormone which produces feelings of stress) decreases. The reduction of cortisol also decreases your chances of getting sicknesses and diseases.
9. Hugs teach you to give and to receive
While improving your ability to relate to others socially, hugs teach you how to give and receive. A hug stimulates gratitude because, after all, the act of giving a hug is like giving a gift. You give a little of yourself and your warmth as you bring the other person into your heart.
10. Hugs join you emotionally to your partner
In relationships, body language is almost as important as verbal communication. You can tell if a couple is happy, confident and not emotionally distanced by their physical proximity to one another. Hugs literally and figuratively make you closer to one another.
So, don't be afraid to hug, and don't miss a single opportunity to hug or be hugged. Remember that even if you don't need a hug right now, that doesn't mean your son or your husband doesn't. Why not start right now? Surprise someone in your family with a bear hug.
Miriam Aguirre nació en México D.F. y actualmente vive en Argentina. Tiene un título en Educación Infantil. En su tiempo libre disfruta de leer novelas románticas, caminatas con su esposo y jugar con sus dos hermosas hijas.