Hugs and cuddles are a big deal.
In fact, you may have heard that professional cuddlers have sprung up, making a living from cuddling others because the benefits are so huge.
As we move into the season of Love feng shui (isn’t it always the season of Love?!) we are getting into habits that are key to keeping your life full of feel-great vibes!
Hugs and cuddles are on the top of that list!
I literally can’t help but cuddle up with Bob all day, every day. I mean… it’s impossible not to!
Hugging more has a biological component that I found, most interestingly and succinctly explained in The Daily Mail:
“The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped pressure centers called Pacinian corpuscles that can sense touch and which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve winds its way through the body and is connected to a number of organs, including the heart.
It is also connected to oxytocin receptors. One theory is that stimulation of the vagus triggers an increase in oxytocin, which in turn leads to the cascade of health benefits.”
Oxytocin is a hormone that acts on the area of the brain associated with emotions, and elevated levels of this hormone reduce anxiety, stress, blood pressure and can improve circulation. As oxytocin is released into our bodies, via the pituitary gland, the bodies’ heart rate and coritsol levels (the hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease) decrease.
How is Oxytocin Naturally Produced?
This hormone is integral to all life. Oxytocin is produced during pregnancy and is largely responsible for uterine contractions and dilation. It fosters the mother’s maternal behavior for the first hour post delivery, and if breastfed, mom and baby will both produce oxytocin after birth. (more on this is HERE)
The “Love Hormone” or “Cuddle Hormone” as it has been nicknamed, is also released during sex; especially during orgasm. The resulting elevated levels of oxytocin lower our defenses, and raise our empathy, greatly contributing to the bonding that occurs with a partner.
Hugs are the easiest, and most accessible way to stimulate the release of oxytocin from the pituitary gland. Aside from the well-known benefits, such as comforting a person in fear, displaying affection, and showing appreciation, hugging a person or a furry friend has a host of benefits to both the hugger and the person being hugged.
Lowers Blood Pressure and Heart Rate:
In the study, “Warm partner contact is related to lower cardiovascular reactivity.” It was found that subjects that held hands for 10 minutes while watching a romantic video and then received a 20 second hug prior to a stressful situation, (in this study public speaking), had lower systolic BP (blood pressure), diastolic BP, and heart rate increases compared with the no contact group. The conclusion lay clear, “…affectionate relationships with a supportive partner may contribute to lower reactivity to stressful life events and may partially mediate the benefit of marital support on better cardiovascular health.” (the full study is HERE)
In a randomized, double-blind study conducted on 100 college students, “Acute intranasal oxytocin improves positive self-perceptions of personality”, subjects received intranasal oxytocin or a placebo and were then assessed using a Personality Inventory questionnaire. “The administration of oxytocin improved participants’ self-perceptions of their personality, at least for certain traits important for social affiliation.” (the full study is HERE)
Boosts Immune System:
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon studied the effects of social support/hugs and the probability of getting sick. To test this, subjects completed questionnaires to access their perceived level of social support. Also, each night, for two weeks researchers called participants to gauge the level of stress that was occurring in their daily lives. Next, subjects were purposely exposed to the common cold and placed in quarantine so symptoms could be observed.
Big Think details the findings: “The results showed that social support did dictate how bad the symptoms progressed. Those that had a daily helping of hugs had less severe symptoms. Overall, it helped if participants had a great perception of social support and hugs whether or not they were under a great deal of stress.”
Happier, healthier, more confident and more overall amazing. This is big stuff from hugs!
Hug your friends, hug your pets, you can even wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a hug! It’s these simple habits that create more joy, and you know, more joy and love ignite everything that’s amazing about life!
A big P.S. today: The Love Camp is coming (!!!) to transform life with so much more love! Attracting more love and living with more love in every day!
It’s over two years in the making, so I’m beyond-thrilled to share this with you!!! The FREE 3-Video series kicks things off right HERE!!! This hour of feng shui videos for love starts soon and it’s only up for 21 days a year…so if you’re ready for a lighter, brighter, more love-filled life, you won’t want to miss it!
Welcome to Creating Genius!
I spent the last year creating this e-guide to balancing and unblocking life by pulling together the best of a decade of space-changing and life-shifting feng shui! It’s 50 days and 50 ways to use feng shui to shift your space and your routines to move from “stuck” to creatively inspired and alive.
Gather up your magic & make gorgeous dreams come true!