By Samantha McKenzie
I feel a little silly admitting it, but I still love being hugged and cuddled and embraced. I enjoy the feeling of being touched and held closely too, especially by the people I care about the most. I can literally feel the transfer of energy during these moments. It connects me, in a slightly different way than words do.
I’m not ashamed to say that I still hold my children’s hands when we are out shopping. I like the feeling of my lover’s hand caressing mine while we’re watching a movie. And I have to mention the soothing feel I get from just petting my dog. These touches gives me all the feels.
So it wasn’t the least bit surprising to learn how healthy it is for humans to embrace each other. There’s a scientific reason why most people like to be hugged, touched and cuddled. Nestled in the base of our brain lies the posterior pituitary gland which produces a hormone called oxytocin. Known more commonly as the “cuddle hormone,” this miracle peptide is released when people come in contact with doses of warm hugs, loving gazes, or hand holding.
The hormone is also released in women during and after pregnancy, extends to nursing mothers and is credited for increasing the bond between moms and their newborns. This miracle drug is responsible for making us feel incredibly affectionate in our new or existing relationships. It’s no surprise that when the skin is caressed, massaged or simply glided over, we get goose bumps, chills and ultimately experience bursts of joy.
Experts recommend couples cuddle for at least 10 minutes after they get home from work. No talking, no looking at your cell phones. Put aside dinner and just hold each other. Hold on to each other. The practice, they say, releases surges of the hormone that helps reduce stress, deepens your relationship and increases your bond.
Unlike your other senses, touch is the one of the five that doesn’t diminish as you age.
The hormone is said to boost your immune system, lower your risk of heart disease, relieve pain and reduce social anxiety. People who are greeted at the door with a hug when they arrive at a party tend to have a more optimistic and pleasant experience. That hug induces the proverbial exhale and lessens nervousness.
Hug your family multiple times a day. Snuggle up with your significant others as much as possible. Go ahead cuddle up for the most important reason of all…because it just feels good and it’s healthy for you.