When you give, you get something back in return. Even the smallest gifts acknowledge that you have thought of someone; that you care. In turn, gratitude fills your heart, too. Even a simple act of kindness— like a hug —can lift the spirit with surprising benefits to your (and the recipient’s) whole health.
Here are 5 reasons to hug someone— right now.
1. Spread Happiness
When you hug someone, you and the receiver get a flood of happy chemicals in your brains. It’s an immediate feeling of friendliness, interconnectedness, support, safety and comfort for both the hugger and huggee.
2. Connect With Others
Human beings need physical and emotional connections with others. This need starts from birth. When premature infants are born, they need a lot of physical touch or a condition called “failure to thrive” can happen from which they can potentially die. Without physical closeness from other humans, infants can stop eating and lose the will to live.
While it might not be as severe, no matter your age, you need physical closeness and bonding with others to thrive. Hugging is a great way to stay physically and emotionally connected to those you care about.
3. Relieve Stress
After a stressful day, a hug can be the best medicine to turn it around. If you see someone struggling, stop and give them a hug. You’re going to immediately see a relief of stress, even if just for that single moment in time. In fact, hugging has been shown to even lower blood pressure.
4. Show Support
We all need emotional support at different times in our lives. The passing of a loved one, a disappointment, a break-up, a health crisis; life can be challenging. A hug extends your empathy to another person experiencing something difficult. Without words, a hug tells someone that you care about them and that you are there to offer your help.
5. Acknowledge Positive Events
We’ve talked about how hugs can help during times of hardship, but what about times of happiness? Hugs are a great way to congratulate someone on an accomplishment, acknowledge their birthday, thank them for working hard, or show excitement for a life event like a marriage or a new baby. Don’t be shy about sharing a hug with someone experiencing something amazing.
Some people are just not huggers, for cultural or other reasons. It’s important to be courteous to those who may not be as hug-friendly. If you go in for a hug and someone backs away, respect that and translate your good intentions into some positive words.
Check out this blog for more information about AdventHealth’s whole-person care philosophy.