Hugs are good for you

Cute tabby kittens sleeping and hugging in a basket

Hugs are one of those things that you often know makes you feel better, but did you know that there are actual reasons why this is the case?

Cute tabby kittens sleeping and hugging in a basketA hormone called oxytocin is released in response to touch. Touch such as holding hands, hugs and massage. Oxytocin is a chemical in the brain that can help to lessen anxiety and decrease stress, its known as the ‘love or cuddle hormone’.

Touch stimulates oxytocin to be released via nerve pathways and the oxytocin lowers cortisol levels, heart rate and blood pressure. Studies have also found that oxytocin can encourage positive thinking and optimism.

Hugs can make you more relaxed and can enhance your immune system by changing the way your body handles stress.

So what’s not to like about a hug? Even a 10 second hug has been shown to be beneficial in raising the levels of oxytocin.

It’s the season of good will – give a hug, it will be beneficial for both of you!

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About Marion Foreman

I fall neatly into the ‘women who weren’t born yesterday’ category. I grew up in a turmoil of Guardian fuelled feminism. I went from ‘little woman’ to independent person in a decade. I began my nurse training in the early 70s in the midst of a male dominated university town. I convinced myself that my views must be wrong as the ultra clever men didn’t agree with me. It wasn’t until I did my degree with the OU that I realised that I had a voice – and a legitimate voice at that. Four children and three husbands later I have found my place in the world. A place that simply says that I am who I am, that I can choose my own path in life and choose those who walk with me. I have learnt that equality means making and taking opportunities, not feeling compelled to ‘do it all’.