There’s nothing like a good hug to lower your blood pressure and relieve your stress. Growing up, my mom called them “power packs” and she’d count how many we (her kids) gave her each day to ensure we had at least 10. To no one’s surprise, mom wasn’t wrong.
According to Science, people need 8-12 hugs every day. And this does not just apply to humans, animals and pets also hugely benefit from human touch. Studies show that snuggling, petting, and playing with your furbabies (or any animal) for just 3 minutes increases oxytocin levels, the “love hormone” in the blood stream of both humans and animals!
Skin is our largest organ and connects to a myriad of nerves and receptors that send signals to our brain when it’s welcomely touched. Cuddling stimulates the production of white blood cells which keep us healthy, stimulates the brain’s release of dopamine which reduces depression and activates pleasure, and releases endorphins and serotonin which also promotes pleasure and reduces pain.
Other benefits of hugging include:
Pets are also great for exercise- playing and walking with them each day are also hugely beneficial for our mental and physical well-being. As a pug owner, my pugs are constantly making me laugh, which is another healthful perk. As the sensitive intuitive animals they are, it’s no surprise dogs are often touted as man’s best friend (I know my pugs are)!
If you don’t have a pug, human, or other animal at your disposal for endless amounts of “power packs”, don’t fret. Book yourself a massage or visit an animal rescue or shelter, pet sit for a friend, or find a local farm that offers cow hugging (sign me up) for the same benefits!
Here are some other free things you can do right now to improve your health.