Hugs not only make us feel good but according to scientists they are also good for the mental and physical health.
A warm embrace of our loved one, can speed up the brain to produce, the hormone of gratification, dopamine. Dopamine can affect us both psychologically and physically. Low levels of dopamine may lead to depression or other mental diseases. Also people that have Parkinson usually show low levels of dopamine.
On the other hand the release of this hormone in high levels can stimulate our senses as much as certain drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine. Hugs can help the levels of dopamine release rise and can give us motivation for life and inner excitement. Psychologically people that have received a lot of intense hugs in their lifetime have less existential fears and feel more secure and content. For more details, read the following article.
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Hugs make you feel good for a reason and it’s not just the loving embrace that gives us that warm feeling in our hearts. It’s much more. It affects the entire body to such an extent that many scientists claim it is equivalent to the effect of many different drugs operating on the body simultaneously. Even seemingly trivial instances of interpersonal touch can help people deal with their emotions with clarity and more effectively.
1. REDUCE WORRY OF MORTALITY
In a study on fears and self-esteem, research published in the journalPsychological Science revealed that hugs and touch significantly reduce worry of mortality. The studies found that hugging — even if it was just an inanimate object like a teddy bear — helps soothe individuals’ existential fears. “Interpersonal touch is such a powerful mechanism that even objects that simulate touch by another person may help to instill in people a sense of existential significance,” lead researcher Sander Koole wrote in the study.
2. STIMULATES OXYTOCIN
Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts on the limbic system, the brain’s emotional centre, promoting feelings of contentment, reducing anxiety and stress, and even making mammals monogamous. It is the hormone responsible for us all being here today. You see this little gem is released during childbirth, making our mothers forget about all of the excruciating pain they endured expelling us from their bodies and making them want to still love and spend time with us. New research from the University of California suggests that it has a similarly civilizing effect on human males, making them more affectionate and better at forming relationships and social bonding. And it dramatically increased the libido and sexual performance of test subjects. More frequent partner hugs and higher oxytocin levels are linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate. The chemical has also been linked to social bonding. “Oxytocin is a neuropeptide, which basically promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding,” DePauw University psychologist Matt Hertenstein told NPR. “It really lays the biological foundation and structure for connecting to other people.” When we hug someone, oxytocin is released into our bodies by our pituitary gland, lowering both our heart rates and our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
3. LOWERS HEART RATE
Embracing someone may warm your heart, but according to one study a hug can be good medicine for it too: In an experiment at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill , participants who didn’t have any contact with their partners developed a quickened heart rate of 10 beats per minute compared to the five beats per minute among those who got to hug their partners during the experiment.
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