“The health benefits of giving and receiving hugs are impressive. Hugs have a therapeutic effect on people “, explains psychologist Joe Rock, in a recent article published by the renowned Cleveland Clinic (USA). He says hugs are a great way to show someone that you are interested in them. They are also good for your health.
The isolation and lack of human contact is part of what makes quarantine so difficult. The desire for human touch is as fundamental as any human need, and there is strong evidence that hugs do not just make you feel good. Researchers have found that giving loving pressure to your loved ones can be good for your health.
During the coronavirus pandemic, it seems that hugging others is a thing of the past. Hugging someone is high on the list of things that many people yearn for during this difficult time. This lack of physical closeness can not only affect the psyche: scientific studies show that hugs have real health benefits.
Why hugs are good for your health
“Studies show that hugs can be healthy,” says Dr. Rock. “Hugs lead to a reduction in the release of cortisol, a stress hormone, and other studies show that in stressful situations, hugs lower blood pressure and heart rate,” the expert adds. Another study published in the journal “Psychological Science” found that giving and receiving hugs can strengthen the immune system.
As the psychologist explains, it seems that hugging has a therapeutic effect. “We can detach ourselves from people and lock ourselves up in our own world,” says Dr. Rock. “The physical act of hugging someone really connects us to them and reduces our defensive posture.” Hugging means that you are safe, loved and not alone – a much needed message that you need right now.
Circumstances have changed dramatically during the Corona pandemic. Those who want to protect themselves and others from infection with the corona virus SARS-CoV-2 follow the guidelines for social distance and wear a mouth-nose cover. Many people are currently afraid of physical contact or hugging. But is there a way to find a balance between carefully distanced and also connected?
Scientifically proven advantages
Considering the fact that, according to one study, hugging can actually increase oxytocin levels, or the level of the “feel-good hormone”, hugs – however they may take place – may be just the right thing at the moment. While it is safest to avoid hugs, there are currently some safe ways to give and receive affection, Dr. Rock explains.
Hug a loved one in your household: you already share germs with the people in your household. Now may be the perfect time to hug members of your household more often.
Hug a pet: Numerous studies have shown therapeutic relationships between people and pets.
Invest in a body pillow: It may not be exactly the same as lying with a loved one, but hugging a pillow can be reassuring. And some research shows that body pillows can be good for relieving back pain, helping pregnant women find a comfortable sleeping position and even reducing snoring.
The corona virus has definitely changed the way we give and receive affection. But it is important for our mental health to stay connected to those we love. With a little creativity and planning, we can do this safely and share affection with those we care about. (ad)
Mask up and go out: If you long for the closeness of friends, play it safe. Wash your hands well, put on your favorite mask and meet others, for example in an outdoor café. Or order something to take away and have an outdoor picnic (still masked and two meters apart, of course).
Self-care during quarantine: Use the extra time to indulge yourself or start a new self-care routine. Facials, bubble baths and online training programs offer many ways to take care of yourself and be safe at the same time.
Get in touch with your loved ones online: The technology has definitely helped many to survive the first coronavirus storm. With FaceTime, Zoom and other video conferencing apps, you can feel connected while remaining safely socially aloof.
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.