Why is it that we feel so good when someone has given us a hug and will hugging someone help our wellbeing?
Science tells us that the positive effects of a hug are similar to that of smiling including the release of dopamine and serotonin, it enhances our immune system and balances our nervous system, as well as reducing our heart rate. Oxytocin is also produced which is our social bonding chemical and gives us that ‘wow’ feeling.
Psychology indicates that hugging reduces the worry around mortality, provides us with feelings of safety and security, improves honest communications, lifts self-esteem, teaches us how to give and to receive, and encourages empathy and understanding.
Research reveals that a hug may improve our immune system, a well-hugged baby will have less stress levels as an adult, it decreases feelings of loneliness, and provides similar effects to that of meditation.
A note of caution, both science and research indicates that there are far greater benefits from hugging someone you love than from hugging a stranger. By all means hug a stranger, just know that the benefits may only be in a one-way direction.