What could be so simple yet so magically divine?
The benefits go far beyond that warm, cosy feeling you get when someone wraps you in their arms.
When we hug, our bodies release feel-good hormones — oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin — and we instantly feel happier, more relaxed, and less depressed.
In short, our brains know this and yearn for it. That’s why sometimes you just go, “I feel I could do with a hug.” Especially after a long, tiring day or moments of deep sadness and loss.
As simple as they may seem, hugs are a magic potion in any relationship.
Here’s how hugging can help you and your partner, and even any stranger you come across.
Oxytocin is called the “love hormone” and hug hormone” because it’s known to help you bond with people.
Interestingly, it is released when we hug. So the more you hug your partner, the more love and trust are built between you.
But hugs don’t only work for people you know. Hugs between strangers create the same sense of warmth, compassion, love, and happiness.
When your partner, family member, friend, or even a total stranger is going through something unpleasant, hug them.
Studies show that hugging someone as a form of support can reduce stress in both parties — the giver and receiver. This simple touch lowers blood pressure, thus decreasing your stress levels.
Have you ever been furious and immediately felt calmer the moment you were given a gentle hug?
That’s one of the magical effects of this simple touch. A gentle hug can change a bad mood to a better one and help you perceive your situation in a new and more positive light.
One study shows that hugging can promote heart health. In the study, couples who held hands and hugged for 20 seconds had lower blood pressure and heart rate than those who didn’t.
If your partner’s health is a priority to you, hugging them more often and for longer is one way to go.
Here’s how to hug your partner for maximum benefits:
Go slowly. Feel the tempo as the two of you become one even before you touch.
Smile and stare into their eyes with love and compassion.
Draw in slowly as you wrap your hands around them. You can caress their back with gentle strokes. Remember, the hug should neither be too tight nor too loose.
Do not pull away quickly. Instead, let it go on for at least 30 seconds to maximally induce the feel-good hormones. When you hug, 30 seconds can feel like an eternity — like you’ve got all the time in the world — unlike when you’re struggling to find time for all the items on your to-do list.
Relish the feeling of being so close to your partner. Feel their breath and breathe in sync. Feel their heart beating against yours, bonding strongly.
Finally, you may end with a simple kiss and a word of affirmation. Then, look into your partner’s eyes as you draw apart again.