The Science Behind The Hug
Start writing a post

Chuck from one my favorite shows, "Pushing Daisies," claims that a proper hug is like an emotional heimlich.

"Someone puts their arms around you and they give you a squeeze and all your fear and anxiety comes shooting out of your mouth in a big wet wad and you can breathe again."

This has probably been one of the most accurate descriptions I've personally ever encountered about what it truly feels like to receive a hug. Every worry, fear and trace of anxiety seems to dissipate in the comforting, warm embrace.

That fuzzy feeling of protection and love can do wonders for our sense of well-being. Whether it's a significant other, parent, sibling or friend, a hug can turn someone's entire day around (at least for me, anyway).

Hugs have been scientifically proven to not only make us feel good, but lower blood pressure, reduce stress and limit fear. Therefore, we should definitely be embracing the embrace as much as we can in our everyday lives.

When we hug someone, the "cuddle" hormone oxytocin is released. As a result, we tend to feel all warm and fuzzy inside. According to psychologist Matt Hertenstein, this hormone produces feelings of devotion, trust and bonding.

In addition, hugs reduce our worries and fears. Even if it's just a teddy bear, hugging someone or something soothes our anxieties and keeps us grounded.

So these warm and fuzzy feelings that we experience after an emotional heimlich are really more than just emotional; they are also physical.

The sensation of touch activates skin receptors called Pacinian corpuscles, which send signals to a part of the brain called the vagus nerve. Although this area of the brain has several different functions, one of them is lowering blood pressure.

Plus, hugs immediately reduce the high amounts of cortisol that our bodies produce as a result of stress. Our bodies release tons of tension and negativity with each embrace, sending positive messages to the brain instead.

Old or young, emotional heimlichs are great for people of all ages. As our bodies increase in fragility from old age, the physical contact of a hug becomes increasingly important. On the flip side, physical contact is extremely important in the early stages of human life.

A baby's development and how he or she copes with stress as an adult is heavily dependent on the amount of physical touch the baby receives in its young stages. Therefore, hugs really are crucial when it comes to us humans.

If you haven't hugged someone today, I strongly encourage you to. Whether it's a friend, family member or stranger, you just never know how the emotional heimlich might brighten someone's day.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Today is Bisexuality Day and I'm more than ready to give all the bisexuals some love by breaking the stigma. I see you, I hear you, I appreciate you.

Bisexuliaty is a sexual orientation where people can form attraction and/or relationships to more than one gender. More than half of the LGBTQ+ community identifies as bisexual but it comes with a ton of bias, discrimination, and violence. And, honestly, bisexuals tend to be forgotten becuase bi-erasure wants to hold onto biphobia to question the existence and legitimacy of bisexuality.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

5 Couples Get Real About Canceling Their Dream Weddings Because Of COVID-19

"It definitely reinforced that as long as we have each other, we can make it through anything together."

634
Courtesy of Georgia & Mike Bernstein

There isn't one person the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hasn't affected. While COVID-19 is risking everyone's physical health, it's also destroying the world's economy and personal finances, weakening mental health, wreaking havoc on education... and, well, the list goes on.

Among the many things being impacted is love.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

A Couple's Wedding In Peru Was Postponed By COVID-19, But A Lifetime Of Love Is Worth The Wait

"We'd prefer to wait and have the wedding that both of us have always thought of."

371
Courtesy of Rory Semple

During their first semester at Instituto de Empresa (IE Business School) while working on graduate degrees in Madrid, Spain, soon-to-be-newlyweds Rory and Gigi met when they were placed in a workgroup together — and the rest was history. Now, four years after their relationship began, the couple's fall plans to get married in Perú, where Gigi is originally from, have since been postponed by COVID-19.

Though things haven't always been easy for the pair because of immigration, starting a skincare business together, and now, canceling their dream wedding because of the pandemic, they have always worked together as a team (maybe we should all be in a workgroup with our future spouses).

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

A Bumble Couple's Wedding Was Canceled By COVID-19, But Nothing Could Come Between This Perfect Match

"The whole purpose of all the stress and time and tears was that we love each other and that was all that mattered."

452
Courtesy of Shanna and Kaihla

Shortly after Kaihla's sister made her a dating profile on Bumble (despite her fear of being catfished), she matched with Shanna, and their chemistry was quickly undeniable. So much so that only a month and a half into dating, Shanna told her best friend "I think I'm going to marry her," and eventually, the nonprofit worker and elementary PE teacher duo proved this to be true.

In the fourth episode of a new docuseries called "Pandemic Weddings" by SoulPancake, the couple opens up about how they met, the difficulties of canceling a non-refundable wedding of their dreams (that took a year and a half to plan), as well as the pain of having family members who didn't support their marriage use the pandemic as a convenient excuse not to come.

Keep Reading... Show less
Bobbie Hall

This fall was my boyfriend and I's two-year anniversary! In the past for special occasions, we've typically gone out for a movie and dinner or just did something fun in general. However, in the year of COVID, we didn't really feel safe doing something like that.

Instead, we wanted to try something new that kept us significantly more socially distanced. Luckily, I found a TikTok trend a few months ago that gave me the perfect idea! The Target TikTok trend blew up all over for couples and friends alike. It seemed like a fun activity for us but also a good way to get each other gifts that we might not have thought about.

Keep Reading... Show less

If there's one thing everyone's talking about right now, it's voting — in real life, on social media, and yes, even on dating apps.

And rightfully so! Because is there really anything sexier than someone who cares about using their voice to be the change they want to see? In my opinion, no... not much, honestly.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tai Adaya

Any medium- to dark-skinned woman knows how difficult it can be to find the right SPF. Most mass-market SPF products are catered to lighter skin tones, and the potent UV-blocking titanium dioxide and zinc oxide have a way of leaving an unflattering white or grey cast on the skin.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

10 Fall Fashion Trends Every Stylish Closet Needs This 2020 — Here Are Options For EVERY Budget

Whether you're on a budget or willing to splurge, you can attain the perfect fall wardrobe with these pieces!

319

Even if the only time you're leaving the house is to go to the grocery store, I'm a firm believer in getting dressed up to make yourself feel better. With these trends, your Insta feed (and followers) will be thanking you.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Florida Residents, Here Is Your Step-By-Step Guide For Registering To Vote

Every state is different, so get familiar with your county's regulations early!

896

The 2020 presidential election is coming up fast and it's important now more than ever to know the resources available to voters. With COVID-19, this election looks a bit different this year — mail will be slower, and polls will have longer lines and more health and safety regulations. Because of this, knowing where to register if you haven't already, checking your registration status, and requesting a vote-by-mail ballot is crucial information to be aware of.

Each state has different links and different websites, so this information primarily pertains to Florida residents.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments