The pandemic and the coronavirus have made us value much more some things that we did not value before. One of these is a simple action that generates affection, such as hugging. This gesture brings many health benefits, both emotional and physical, because hugging is universal, meaningful and provides security, causing the body to enter a sense of calm and well-being by secreting some hormones such as serotonin or oxytocin. In this opportunity, Antonella Galli, psychologist at Clinica Ricardo Palma, mentions 5 benefits of giving a hug.
Hugging generates the following benefits:
- Reduce stress: When a hug is given, oxytocin is released, a hormone related to pleasure that reduces stress and decreases the production of cortisol, which is produced in high concentrations when under stressful situations. On the other hand, dopamine is activated, generating a feeling of well-being and energy and, finally, serotonin, which gives a good mood.
- Improves the immune system: Studies show that people who receive more hugs have a better immune system, thus reducing the likelihood of getting sick or, if they do, having milder symptoms.
- Decreases heart rate: long hugs are beneficial for the heart, as they lower blood pressure and heart rate, especially in people who suffer from panic attacks.
- Provides security: Hugging is related to the opposite sensation of danger. When there is danger, the nervous system is activated, but with a hug a protective situation is generated.
- Meets affective needs: People naturally need affection and hugs with loved ones help to meet that need for affection.
Psychologist at Clínica Ricardo Palma