Ever wonder why we hug? Some believe that hugging is a way for mothers to bond with their offspring. It's not only good for you emotionally, but hugging can contribute to your physiological well-being, too. According to a BuzzFeed video, “Why Do We Hug,” there are a number of benefits to embracing someone you love or even like.
1. To Connect With Others
When we hug or touch in any way such as kissing or handholding, it releases a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone from the pituitary gland that plays a crucial role in intimacy and sexual reproduction. It also contributes to trust, bonding, and connecting with other people. Hugging has also been proven to fight loneliness. "Oxytocin is a neuropeptide, which basically promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding," said psychologist Matt Hertenstein from DePauw University to NPR. "It really lays the biological foundation and structure for connecting to other people."
2. To Feel Safe
Touch and hugs also have the ability to help people who suffer from low self-esteem. Embracing inanimate objects such as stuffed animals or pillows can help to alleviate fear. “Even fleeting and seemingly trivial instances of interpersonal touch may help people to deal more effectively with existential concern," according to Sander Koole, who published a study in the Association for Psychological Science. "Interpersonal touch is such a powerful mechanism that even objects that simulate touch by another person may help to instill in people a sense of existential significance."
3. To Stay Healthy
Oxytocin also helps to decrease the risk of heart disease. It also helps to reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol that is in our bodies. "Having this friendly touch, just somebody simply touching our arm and holding it, buffers the physiological consequences of this stressful response," Hertenstein said.