The Benefits of Hugging
It might sound simple, but hug is more powerful than you think.
But other than making you feel warm inside, what does hugging do to us?
From curbing anxiety to fostering feelings of security, see our roundup of the mental health benefits of hugging below.
1. It reduces feelings of loneliness
Hugging releases oxytocin in the brain, which is the hormone also known as "the bonding molecule" given that it can elevate feelings of intimacy and helps stimulate social bonding between two people.
High levels of oxytocin can boost romantic attachment but they can also reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Cognitive neuroscience professor Brian Hare told The Washington Post that even hugging a dog can offer these benefits.
"Dogs have somehow hijacked this oxytocin bonding pathway, so that just by making eye contact, or by playing and hugging our dog, the oxytocin in both us and our dog goes up," he said.
2. It can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
In addition to oxytocin, research shows that hugging someone releases dopamine in the brain,
which is known as the pleasure hormone given that is often associated with prompting feelings of happiness.
People with mood disorders, such as depression, typically have low levels of dopamine, so hugging might help rectify this a bit.
3. It can help protect against stress
A study of 404 healthy adults conducted in 2014 by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found that frequent hugs reduced people's susceptibility to stress.
This was due to participants feeling greater levels of social support as a result of regular hugging, which the study's authors also found protected them from infection.
匹兹堡卡内基梅隆大学（Carnegie Mellon University）的研究人员2014年对404名健康成年人进行的一项研究发现，经常拥抱会降低人们对压力的敏感度。