A video popped up on my Facebook feed this week that told me that women should be hugged once a day for their health.  While I’m not an overly touchy-feely person, I’ll be the first to admit that a good hug should never be underestimated or taken for granted. Physical touch is a necessary and vital part of life and can contribute greatly towards an individual’s sense of wellbeing. Whether you classify yourself as a hugger or not, here are a few reason why you should embrace physical touch.

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” – Virginia Satir

It makes you feel connected

We live in an increasingly virtual age. Many of our relationships function via Whatsapp, email and social media. While this form of connection has its benefits, you can still feel incredibly alone if all your interactions take place online. Touch plays an important part of communicating feelings and building non-sexual intimacy between people. A hug can speak of solidarity, of wanting to provide comfort or can just be a way of saying ‘I’m here’.  There are occasions when emotions may be hard to express in words  but a hug can say everything that is required.

Sense of security

My daughter tells me that when she hugs me she feels safe. If I’m worried about something, hugging my husband may not solve my problem but it definitely makes me feel better. Studies have shown that hugging can reduce blood pressure, slow the heart rate and have an overall calming effect. Physical touch also reminds us that we’re not alone and that someone cares.

Good for your health

Medical experts tell us that hugs release a chemical called Oxytocin, also known as the bonding hormone. In some circles it is thought that oxytocin is one of the reasons hugs are good for reducing stress. Higher levels of this hormone are also associated with a lower risk of heart problems and stroke cases. Hugs also are credited for stimulating the thymus glad which regulates the production of white blood cells, who’s job it is to keep you healthy and fight off diseases. And let’s face it, when you have a cold or feel unwell, a hug can make all the difference.

Feels wonderful

Whether you are the hugger or the huggee, a hug feels great.   They make you feel warm and fuzzy which is always a good thing. They encourage us to trust others and build stronger bonds. Hugs release feel-good hormones like serotonin that make you happier and can boost your self-confidence.  They are also associated with celebrating or a way of congratulating. Have you ever noticed how after a footballer scores a goal, how many of his team mates run after him for a hug? Hugs are joyous things and should be shared.

We often think that to fix our problems and make ourselves feel better we need a complex solution or hard to find answer, but sometimes all we need is something simple, like a hug.