Mental Health Stress

Touch Me, Hold Me, and Hug Me as the Stress Comes!

College can be a stressful and sometimes overwhelming time in life. In the moments of darkness found among midterms and college papers, some health benefits can be found from the simple act of hugging.
Hugging is the act of putting your arms around another person usually their back, waist, or neck. It is usually a sign of closeness and trust between two individuals and has health benefits if it comes from a person you trust. However, these benefits may be voided if a hug comes from a person that you do not trust.

Positive Benefits of Hugging

  • Reduction of Stress: Hugging is a good way to reduce stress. It is made possible by the hormone oxytocin released during physical contact with other individuals. This hormone increases emotional bonds between individuals. Its release can reduce fear and anxiety by promoting safety and trust in others.
  • Reduction in Blood Pressure: The reduction of stress promoted by a hug can lead to a decrease in blood pressure. This is because high blood pressure is generally associated with stress.
  • Improvement in Memory: A recent study has shown that hugging can also improve memory. The type of memory improvement is thought to have to do with the increase in oxytocin levels.

Negative Effects of Hugging

  • Hugs between strangers or people who do not desire to be hugged do not necessarily produce the same effects. In fact, hugging strangers can produce stress, or at least not produce any physical health benefit.
  • The idea is to be selective with those that you give hugs to, because it may not make you feel better. However, hugging can have immediate gratifying effects and can make you feel better and improve your health.

The Lesson Learned

Next time you’re stressed out, go out and find someone you trust. Hug them for an extended period of time.


Article by Marissa Jauregui

Feature Image Source: Huffington Post