Friday, October 5, 2007

Have You Been Hugged Today?

I've made a pact to myself to hug more.

Not just because the time I get to spend with friends and family is few and far between nowadays, but because now I've also learned that hugging actually has health benefits. Who woulda thunk it?

A study by University of North Carolina researchers found that hugs increase the "bonding" hormone oxytocin (essentially the hormone of love) and decrease the risk of heart disease.

In fact, it was found that when couples hugged for 20 seconds, their levels of oxytocin increased. Those in loving relationships had the highest increases. Meanwhile, levels of the stress hormone cortisol decreased in women, as did their blood pressure.

Another study indicated that hugging and handholding reduce the effect of stress. Two groups of couples were asked to talk about an angry event, but one group had previously held hands and hugged, while the others sat alone.

It was found that:
- Blood pressure increased significantly more among the no-contact group as compared to the huggers.
- Heart rate among those without contact increased 10 beats a minute, compared to five beats a minute for huggers.

What's more, it's suggested that contact such as hugs and hand-holding before the start of a rough day "could carry over and protect you throughout the day." Isn't that pleasant sounding?

Read the stats and article referenced here. They're pretty amazing! And remember: a hug is free and the benefits are priceless, so hug away your day!

1 comment:

Estrella10 said...

What a fun pic! I love that we love each other xoxo :)