For those fortunate enough to have loved ones nearby, hugging could have substantial health benefits. Sadly, people who have been deprived of availing of physical touch during the pandemic that led to social isolation and lockdowns have felt the detrimental health impacts that a lack of physical touch could impose. Video calls are useful strategies to feel close to others when face-to-face interactions are not feasible, but nothing comes closer to being with loved ones in person.
Shivani says in simple words you can put hugging that can be described as a handshake from the heart. The simple act of embracing forms feel-good energy for both the giver and recipient. Science has been looking into its positive impacts, and several studies related to hugging, cuddling, and touching have been seeing the same conclusion—hugging is a vital part of human development.
Human touch or hugging is equally vital for both babies and adults opines Shivani Sadhoo.
India’s top psychologist and couples therapist Shivani Misri Sadhoo shares some of the amazing benefits of the ever so magical “Hug”.
Hugging is heart-friendly
Embracing triggers the hormone oxytocin, which makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. In one experiment at the University of North Carolina, participants who did not have any contact with their partners formed a quickened heart rate of 10 beats per minute, compared to the 5 beats per minute among those who got to hug their partners during the experiment.
Reduces stress naturally
If you are feeling a little drained or pressured, get someone you care about and provide them an all-enveloping hug. Research has seen that embracing lowers the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) in human bodies, freeing tension and sending calming messages to the brain.
It could minimize fears
A study conducted on fears and self-esteem checked into the link between human touch and lowering the fear of mortality. Participants were more likely to have less anxiety about death when being lightly touched or hugging an inanimate thing such as a teddy bear.
Giving hugs to babies help them become a well-prepared adult
Touch is vital to infants, particularly in their early stages of life as it assists them to bond with others while they get older. A study was done that compared a group of adopted kids whose first years were spent in orphanages where they did not receive physical contact, to kids who were raised by an affectionate family. It found that the adopted children had significantly lesser levels of vasopressin—a hormone that has a role in familial recognition and bonding —compared to others.
It is vital for adults too
Physical touch and hugging could counter feelings of loneliness that grow as people get older. A retirement home in New York did a study in which they conducted a program called “Embraceable You.” The logic was to encourage cross-generational contact and touch amongst residents and staff members in an attempt to improve the residents’ well-being. The outcomes were conclusive, with residents who were touched or given hugs 3 or more times a day had more energy, felt less depressed, were better capable to concentrate, and got more restful sleep compared to their less-hugged counterparts.