Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

The Remarkable Things A Hug Can Do

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Hugging causes the brain to release oxytocin, the hormone that increases human bonding. Here’s why it’s so important.


The oxytocin released by hugging increases trust, loyalty and feelings of closeness, which is why physical contact in relationships is so important. 

Oxytocin induces a calm happy feeling, enhances feelings of optimism and self-esteem, and reduces stress by decreasing cortisol, the stress hormone. As if that wasn’t enough, a rise in oxytocin levels can also relieve aches and cramps. It’s no wonder then, that when someone we love is going through it – partners, kids, family, friends – our instinct is to wrap our arms around them.

Oxytocin has a remarkable effect on the brain, quieting background noise and allowing people to tune in to each other, boosting bonding and feelings of attraction between partners. 

Now, nobody is suggesting a hug-fest with strangers to love up the world but when it comes to the people you love, hold them close … and then release because, you know, life with a hugger attached may or may not get a bit knotty.

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