#Hug A Human

I recently read this article about how hugs act as a natural medicine, both mentally and physically. Yes, there is actual science behind it! Hugs have this unusual ability to elicit happiness, reduce stress, and even enhance the functioning of our immune system.

Personally, I’m not much of a hugger, but when someone does hug me, whether it’s my dad or best friend, I get that warm, tingling sensation inside – I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about.

So what are the positive biological effects of this seemingly superficial phenomenon? It pretty much stems down to neurotransmitters! Ah yes, those wonderful chemicals produced by our nervous system. Hugging stimulates three different kinds of neurotransmitters: oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin.

Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter involved in the limbic system, which is the part of the brain known to control our emotions. Oxytocin is notorious for enhancing social bonds among all kinds of mammals. When we hug, oxytocin is released, lowering our cortisol levels, thus relieving us of stress and anxiety.

Dopamine, on the other hand, is akin to the pleasure hormone. That feel-good sensation you get when you eat a giant-ass piece of chocolate cake? Yup, that’s dopamine. When we hug others, the brain releases dopamine, and we instantly feel more satisfied and motivated.

Lastly, when we hug, the brain also releases serotonin. It’s super interesting: serotonin flow increases when we feel important and loved. I’m sure many of you know that depression is caused by a lack of serotonin. Hugs elevate our serotonin levels, and relieve us of feelings of sadness, emptiness, and loneliness.

All of these feelings of contentment, in turn, promote overall well-being. Hugs, by decreasing negative emotions and enhancing positive ones, help with the functioning of our immune system and lead to a decline in heart rate and blood pressure.

I don’t know how much truth there is to this statement, but apparently, you need at least eight hugs a day in order to thrive. I’m pretty sure most of us don’t receive or give that many hugs daily; I know I don’t.

So next time, you see your friend, parent, or even dog, give them a hug, because, as they say, you can’t give a hug without getting one back! I would even say give any random person who seems sad a hug, but that might be a little strange. But then again, who am I to talk: when I’m feeling lonely, I hug my giant stuffed animal Olaf.

Be like Olaf, guys, and be generous with your warm hugs! I definitely need to follow this!

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