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The 20 second hug....Why do hugs feel SO good?

Updated: May 15, 2023

Think about the last hug that you received.

How did it feel? What kind of energy did it leave you with?

Was it a quick squeeze and run? OR Did you take your time in that embrace?

(Consensual) Human touch is the social glue that binds us together. We require touch to optimally thrive in our environment, internally and externally. Babies need touch to thrive... and so do adults. Safe touch is a vital tool when it comes to our health, safety and embodiment.

'Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is first language and the last and it always tells the truth.' - Margaret Atwood. It is thought, that at even 8 weeks in utero, touch becomes a functional sense.

Touch can remind us that something is real. Touch is fundamentally important.

So, what is so amazing about a long hug?

A 20 second hug, think 3-5 breaths, with a supportive partner is shown to naturally lower cortisol (stress) hormone levels in the body.

Hugging, and interpersonal touch begins to stimulate oxytocin hormone production. The increased level of oxytocin helps to facilitate bonding between partners.

The 'cuddle hormone' guides a person's system into more relaxation and calmness, which can be carried throughout the day. When we feel better and our bodies feel safer, then the parasympathetic nervous system can find greater balance to heal and repair where it is needed the most.

Studies are even finding that the quality of the hug is more considerable than the quantity.

If you can stick in for a hug, for at least 10 seconds, you begin to reap the benefits which can consist of:

  1. They can actually keep you looking and feeling young.

  2. They may even dull pain for people with chronic conditions.

  3. More frequent hugs can boost your immune system.

  4. Hugging can defuse fights between a couple.

  5. Touch (including hugs) can communicate emotions.

  6. They can also generally improve psychological well-being.

  7. Hugs can lower stress.

  8. Hugging can improve romantic relationships, specifically.

  9. Hugging promotes bonding in all our relationships.

  10. Hugging can be good for your cardiovascular health.

Click here to read more about these benefits

Say that you don't have a supportive partner to share a hug with, well grab yourself a cushion. A hard squeeze, even alone, has shown to reap the benefits of hugging your favorite pillow.

Think about the act of hugging. First you are required to drop your defenses and open your arms wide. This is creating space and the opportunity to give/receive. The hug then initiates a positive feedback loop because when you give love, you receive love.

That feedback loop then makes you want to keep giving the love.

How amazing is that! All from a freely given hug. It's incredible how powerful touch is for our human experience.

Get out there and make your next hug count!

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