National Hugging Day - The Benefits of Hugs Written by Charlee Waldrop Jan 17, 2019 0 Have you hugged someone today? If you haven’t, you might want to make sure you give out a hug or two; not only because it is National Hugging Day, but because hugs have some pretty beneficial physical and emotional properties. Here a just a few reasons to share the love today: Alleviate StressHugs help reduce the amount of the stress hormone, cortisol, that the body makes. No one likes being stressed and chances are, when you have felt stressed and someone has given you a hug, or even shoulder squeeze, you’ve felt much better.  That is because hugs relieve stress from the nervous system and aid in the relaxation of tension in the nervous system; therefore, reducing the amount of cortisol.  Reduces Worry of MortalityYou have most likely have heard that hugs and other forms of physical touch can help someone who is suffering from a panic or anxiety attack. Hugging and other forms of touching can help ground a person and boost self-esteem.  Boosts the Immune SystemHugs cause a light pressure to be applied to the sternum and helps stimulate the thymus gland. The thymus is responsible for the body’s production of white blood cells, so a good hug can give your body a little more cold-fighting power.  Also, stress can play a big part in how your immune system functions and hugs can be a powerful weapon against stress. Instead of trying a vitamin C booster, try a hug! Increases OxytocinOxytocin is commonly referred to as the “love” or “cuddle” hormone, as it is most often released when someone experiences love or physical touch from someone they trust. Oxytocin helps the body repair muscles, stabilize blood sugar, and reduce pain.  Increases SerotoninSerotonin is a powerful neurotransmitter best known as a “feel good” hormone, as it floods the body with feelings of happiness and overall wellbeing. It also works as an appetite controller and aids in regulating mood.  Hugs are a wonderful, yet simple, way to take care of your body that won't cause too much strain. Hugs have few side effects and can be given, or received, at any time. Of course, you should always make sure someone wants to be hugged before doing so, but most of the time hug invitations are met with open arms. So, in order to celebrate National Hugging Day, make sure you give out and receive as many hugs as you can!