The psychological benefits of hugs

The psychological benefits of hugs

Embracing is a therapeutic act which benefits us in various ways, both physically and psychologically. The hug is a very common gesture in which we often do not usually repair. We all feel the immediate comforting effects that hugs have, but we are not usually aware of the positive fruits that we can obtain and transmit with the simple gesture of hugging others.

This is not only a popular belief, but different experimental studies They support the positive consequences that hugs have on our health. Here we explain many of the beneficial benefits that hugs have on our physical and mental well-being.


  • 1 The physiological benefits of hugs
  • 2 The psychological benefits of hugs
  • 3 The social benefits of hugging others

The physiological benefits of hugs

Hugs get increase oxytocin levels, also known as the "happiness hormone", a hormone whose effects on the nervous system are related to feelings of happiness and calm. In addition, this hormone contributes to the decrease of the stress hormone, cortisol, getting lower blood pressure and helping to better regulate our circulatory system.

In addition, hugs get raise serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter very involved in our mood. Low levels of serotonin are, for example, associated with states of depression and other psychological disorders; the strength of a simple hug can help raise your levels and keep us in a better emotional state.

We can strengthen our immune system Thanks to the hugs. In a study carried out in 2015 by the Carnegie Mellon University On the benefits of hugs, it was found that, among 404 healthy adults, those who were more hugged and felt more positive feelings because of it, tended to be less susceptible to getting a common cold than those who were not hugged. Some experts attribute this consequence to the positive benefits that hugs have when it comes to decreasing stress, which contributes to the improvement of the immune system.

Embracing is also a good way to relax our muscles and relieve tension. This helps to soothe the body aches that we may suffer as they improve circulation in soft tissues.

The psychological benefits of hugs

The hugs increase our sense of confidence and security; they get us to feel supported and protected for others and make us see the world as a more pleasant and less hostile place, reducing feelings of loneliness and emotional distress.

As we mentioned above, oxytocin or serotonin levels tend to rise, getting a feeling of more relaxation and less stress. In addition, they contribute to improve our mood when we have had a bad day or when we feel that our problems surpass us.

With the help of a hug, we can boost our self-esteem, since this makes us feel special and loved by our loved ones from very early stages of our lives. Also, the more cuddled we are, the more feeling of love for ourselves We usually develop.

The social benefits of hugging others

Socially, hugs are a symbol of friendship, love and love. It is a sample of closeness and trust that connects us more to the people around us and that serves as a way of strengthen our relationships and even as a way of sealing past stages, also being a symbol of reconciliation. In the same study we talked about earlier, it was found that those adults who were hugged more frequently felt less isolated and more socially supported.

The importance of hugging babies It is decisive for its development. According to some studies, babies who have hardly any physical contact can suffer serious consequences on their health, while touching and hugging our babies from the earliest stages promotes their physical and emotional well-being.

In today's societies, we tend to avoid physical contact more and more. The expression of our emotions is something that is not reinforced today and as we leave childhood behind and become adults, we stop hugging or even touching others so much. Physical contact with other people can be uncomfortable or even a symbol of weakness. Perhaps it is time to break these barriers and end these prejudices, extend our arms and hug our loved ones stronger and stronger.