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Having a bad day? Feeling stressed out from work or school? Here’s an easy solution: hug someone! According to studies, hugging is a great way to not only bond with someone but also boost your physical and emotional health. Hugging increases levels of oxytocin, a naturally occurring hormone in your body that has powerful health benefits including reducing stress, fighting fatigue, boosting the immune system, and lowering blood pressure.

 Hugging is a great way to reduce stress and fight infections.

Image Source: Camilla Bandeira

There’s no doubt that hugging has its benefits, yet so many people are hug-deprived. One study found that one-third of people don’t receive hugs on a daily basis, and 75% said they wanted more hugs. Perhaps you’re wondering, “Are you saying that I should hug strangers?” Well, maybe not. The verdict is still unclear on whether or not hugging a stranger has the same impact as hugging someone you know. While hugging friends has been proven to make you feel better, research from the University of Vienna suggests that hugs are only beneficial if you trust the person you’re hugging.

Can I only hug a person to reap the benefits of oxytocin? Of course not! Cuddling with your pet, holding hands, kissing, getting a massage, and doing yoga are all ways to increase oxytocin levels. The feeling of touch is so important because it has near-immediate health impacts, such as decreasing feelings of loneliness, increasing self-esteem, and reducing tension. So, the next time you give a two-second hug, don’t take its benefits for granted.

Featured Image Source: Paulina Kim Joo

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