My son is a hugger. He literally runs up to every kid he sees and hugs them, or at least tries to. This completely warms my heart, but it usually freaks the other kids out. A few weeks ago he tried to hug a four year old who forcefully kicked my son off of him. But my little guy is resilient, and on this past Wednesday at Zumbini, he was ready for more hugs. He and a classmate found each other and embraced for a solid 30 seconds. It was absolutely adorable, and when they finished, the teacher mentioned she recently heard about some studies indicating the act of hugging releases endorphins.
At the time I smiled at her bit of knowledge and carried on with the class, but I found myself thinking about it more and more when I got home. So, I turned to my good friend Google for some answers. Turns out, she was right. There were multiple articles supporting her beliefs about hugging.
Apparently hugging someone for at least 20 seconds can release oxytocin, reduce your stress level and even increase your sex drive. Sounds simple enough right? Have you ever tried to hug someone for 20 seconds? It is much longer than you think…but hey, if one hug is capable of doing all of those things, then I am in.
According to a CNN News article, “the act of embracing floods our bodies with oxytocin, a “bonding hormone” that makes people feel secure and trusting toward each other, lowers cortisol levels, and reduces stress.”
From another article on WebMD: “The gentle pressure of a hug can stimulate nerve endings under the skin that send calming messages to the brain and slow the release of cortisol,” explains Tiffany Field, Ph.D., director of the University of Miami Medical School’s Touch Research Institute.”
So moms, I know we are all stressed, tired and pressed for time. But I also know we all have 20 seconds to spare. Let’s take a lesson from my son and hug it out – see if it makes a difference in your day!