Cuddle parties are a phenomenon sweeping the world based purely upon the emotional and psychological benefits of a good hug. At these events, people in need of a cuddle wear pajamas and get hugs from strangers, in an atmosphere similar to those childhood forts built in the living room we all remember too well. If we needed proof that hugs are a basic human need, the existence of cuddle parties goes a long way there! But could it be more than that? Can hugs actually bring us benefits in body rather than just spirit?
Science backs up the hunch we all have that hugs are basically good for us, a bit like eating our fruits and veggies. Hugs release oxytocin and the effect of this is a lowered heart rate and reduced stress- we relax and feel our burdens lifted. Not only that, but hugs get our endorphins going and and feel good hormones flowing in the same way that a good natter with friends or a brisk walk can leave you feeling rosy. Hugs are linked to serotonin, the same hormone that gives you that happy feeling you get from eating chocolate.
If ‘make hugs not war’ had been the slogan on everyone’s lips, we can only speculate how the movements of the 60s might have fared. Children who are nurtured and given affection at a young age are known to develop faster and pick up skills easier. It’s your all in one medicine to build trust, lower anxiety and fight off depression- and it’s free.
You might be thinking it’s better to keep your distance from others in this cold and flu season, but be aware that hugs are like vitamin C for your immune system- they provide us with a proven boost! It’s not all in the mind, but chemicals truly are available to support your immune system.
Given all this, it’s pretty clear that a hug a day could keep the doctor away. Here at Hugs For Change, we’ve been touting the benefits of hugs for a while- so give us a Like over at our Facebook page and see how you could get involved!
Written by Danni Lawson @ Livein10countries – travel blog