I’ve always been a hugger. I love giving and getting hugs and have sought them with willing individuals over the years.
Research has shown my instincts are bang on. There are profound health benefits to those hugs after all.
It turns out that oxytocin, also known as the “love drug,” which is very familiar to those of us who are mothers because it is at much higher levels during childbirth and breastfeeding, is released within 20 seconds of a sustained hug.
Oxytocin is the bonding hormone that allows you to establish a deep connection with others; it’s the glue of society.
In short, slow down, take your time and breathe while you hug. The little quickies are okay though to get the most bang for your buck, stay connected for the full 20 seconds until that oxytocin begins to flow through your system.
The end results are astounding and obvious. Simply put, you feel better. Your entire nervous system relaxes.
You feel less stressed, your heart rate could go down (or up depending on who you are hugging), blood pressure drops, breathing slows, there is a sense of calmness, ease and peace that we all deeply long for.
If you don’t have anyone to nearby to hug, there is still an option.
Place your hand over your heart, close your eyes and breathe for at least 20 seconds. Even placing your hand over your heart will be enough to get the oxytocin flowing. Enjoy connecting with yourself and feel the love flow through your body, mind and soul.
Spread the love with a hug.