With Valentine’s Day fast approaching it can seem like love is everywhere you look for it – chocolate, flowers, those little heart-shaped candies that seem to only be available in February (the month’s version of Halloween candy corn).
Love, of course, is not just limited to presents, junk food and tchotchkes. Valentine’s Day can be physical, too, including the simple act of enveloping your loved one in a warm embrace. Research shows that when you give someone a hug your brain produces oxytocin — the love hormone. This substance has many benefits, including some we listed below:
When you wrap your arm around someone you care for your cortisol levels – which measures what is referred to as the “stress hormone” – take a nosedive. Secreted in high amounts during the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response to stress, the security that comes along with a comforting hug from a loved one helps keep this hormone in check.
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Research from University of North Carolina showed that a good hug can help ease blood flow lower a person’s heart rate.
One 10-second hug per day can lead to biochemical and physiological reactions in your body that can significantly improve your stamina and energy levels.
Boost Immune Function
Hugging creates pressure on the sternum which activates the Solar Plexus chakra, stimulating the thymus gland. This gland is responsible for regulating white blood cell production, which helps keep our bodies disease-free.
So-called “happy hormones” such as serotonin, endorphins and dopamine, AKA the pleasure hormone, are released when we hug. Keeping these hormones elevated can help fight depression and Parkinson’s disease.
Now for the fun part: go hug it out!