Hugging stimulates our brain to release oxytocin into our blood, a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and anxiety, and can improve memory. Oxytocin is known to increase bonding and closeness between parents, children, and couples.
Hugging also stimulates our brain to release dopamine, the pleasure hormone. Dopamine is released as a result of rewarding experiences. And long hugs increase serotonin levels, which elevate mood and create happiness.
There are even more benefits to hugging those we care about. Our self esteem is boosted because a good hug shows us that we’re loved and special. Hugs relax muscles and release tension. And hugs enrich relationships.
And by the way, those same benefits apply to hugging your pet.
Have you had your hugs today?