When you’re feeling gloomy and someone comes up to you to give you a hug, it could really lift your spirit. But did you know that there are also health benefits to hugging? Studies have shown that it causes the release of a hormone called oxytocin. That hormone has been proven to help lower levels of stress and anxiety, reduce blood pressure, boost the immune system, increase tolerance to pain and perhaps even speed up the healing of wounds.
Hugging also just feels good and helps boost your mood. When you really need it, it could help alleviate feelings of loneliness. That is exactly what happened in 2004, to an Australian man only known by the pseudonym of “Juan Mann”. For a few months, Juan Mann was feeling lonely and depressed, suffering a great amount of personal problems. One day, he went to a party and someone randomly gave him a hug. That hug made him feel so much better that he began thinking that there might be other people, like him, in desperate need of human contact.
He came up with the idea of going in public places to give free hugs. He prepared a sign and headed to his neighborhood mall. The first time he did it, he waited fifteen minutes before an older lady finally came up to him and hugged him. From that moment on, a worldwide campaign was launched. Now, all over the world, people stand in public places and give free hugs. What a wonderful initiative.
Hugging and touching is accessible to all. It serves as a powerful way to express our appreciation and our love to the people around us. So, why not do it more often? If we do so, not only will we be improving the quality of our health, but also our happiness, the happiness of those around us, and our overall feeling of wellbeing!
Here is a video of free hugs given in Italy:
This is a guest post by Alina Boutros who writes 500 Days to Happiness