Feeling stressed out or just plain angry just give someone a hug it might surprise you how much it will help you. Turns out Ari from HBO’s Entourage was on to something with his now-famous “Let’s Hug it Out” catch-phrase. The truth is that the health benefits of hugs are more powerful than we ever knew. Just a few minutes of close, comforting contact with another human being can be enough to turn your mood and mental outlook right around.
Studies have shown that men who engage in hugging for at least 30 seconds demonstrate slower breathing rates, lower blood pressures, and better verbal communication skills afterwards. The study results also proved that interpersonal touch can boost oxytocin hormone levels and help your immune systems fight off illness. Individuals that felt loved and supported and had regular hugs or contact had a less agressive immune response to stressful situations. Inturn lowering the extreme “fight or flight” hormonal response to stress.
Now, before you start thinking we’re asking you to start walking around hugging random strangers, it’s important to note that results were enhanced when there was a pre-existing relationship with the other person. This underscores the impact strong personal relationships can have on your health. For the price of a little bit of emotional vulnerability, men can expect to deal with stress in a more healthy manner, report feeling generally more content or at ease with life. In many cases they can even extend their life span by several years when compared to men without close friends or relatives in their lives.
So next time you see your wife, girlfriend, partner, sister, best friend, etc. Go ahead and give them a squeeze, and hold on for a few seconds. You won’t just boost their mood, you’ll be helping yourself too. Science even backs it up so you don’t have to worry about looking like a total mush.
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