I need a hug! At the risk of sounding despondent, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need more hugs on a daily basis. As a child, hugs were always a way of connecting with loved ones. Whether I admitted it or not, it felt good to get a big bear hug from my grandparents, or link arms with a best friend. But as an adult in the year 2020, hugs have become rare.
If we’re honest, COVID-19 has impacted us in more ways than one. Most of us are currently unable to hug a family member or visit a long-distance friend due to travel restrictions and social-distancing regulations. Something as easy as hugging family is now a luxury, and unfortunately, COVID-19 limits contact with those we love.
Slow, painful months of mask-wearing and social distancing have passed, and I’ve felt more isolated than ever. On a Saturday night, it’s easy to choose staying at home because I have no other choice. With limited options, my mood has changed, and I find myself hugging my pets a little tighter.
Although these feelings reflect isolation, I believe it’s also related to the fact that I’m unable to hug family and friends. Even though my days vary, I find myself less cheery with a pang of loneliness more present than ever. I’ve concluded that a lack of hugs from loved ones plays a huge role. After further research, I came across a few scientific facts related to how hugs benefit us:
- Hugging Relieves Pain – According to Scientists, studies show that hugs from a loved one reduce physical pain. Although this particular fact puzzled me, it makes sense that physical touch from a loved one eases your pain levels. This proves that hugs/physical contact is extremely powerful!
- Hugging Increases Serotonin Levels – Serotonin is a “happy” hormone that helps us relax and feel good. When our serotonin levels are low, we can become depressed or feel isolated. It also affects our appetite, moods, and may increase other unhealthy issues. Studies show that hugging increases our serotonin levels, therefore, balancing our moods. This can help normalize our eating habits, create a feeling of relaxation, and give us a sense of purpose.
- Hugs Boost Our Immune System – Hugs are good for both our mental and physical health. Receiving hugs can also help reduce stress. Studies show that “When we receive a hug, the body releases oxytocin, making us feel calmer and more relaxed, and stress levels reduce.” When I was a college student, I can attest to this. I would ask my friends for hugs daily to help reduce my stress levels, and it worked! Hugging boosts our immune system and keeps us healthy and happy.
As life takes many unexpected turns, always appreciate and cherish moments you have with family and friends. If COVID-19 has taught me anything, it’s that a simple moment involving a hug can be the most meaningful.
Amid the chaos, I’m even more thankful for a Heavenly Father who promises to come back. When Christ returns, I will never be without a hug. How amazing will it be to be wrapped up in God’s loving arms forever? Despite the unexpected, it’s incredible to know when Christ comes back, He’ll never let us go. We’ll be wrapped in an eternal hug, and I cannot wait for such a day!
Madeleine Lowe writes from Indiana.
Source: generationnet.com.au/2017/05/20-amazing-benefits-hugging-according-science© 2002 - 2020, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.