It might be because I come from a culture where personal space is a foreign a concept, where greeting your friends with hugs and kisses is customary, and touching their arm while you talk is part of the conversation, but I always knew that there was something to hugging. It’s instinctive, something you do automatically when a friend is struggling or your kid takes a tumble and scrapes his knee.
On my way to work this morning I found out why, scientifically speaking. According to an article published a few days ago in the Huffington Post, a researcher at the Medical University of Vienna pointed out that hugging someone you care about can ease stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure and even boost memory.
Experts believe it all comes back to the hormone oxytocin. A simple embrace seems to increase levels of the “love hormone,” which has been linked to social bonding. In one study, the stress-reducing effects of a brief hug in the morning carried throughout a tough work day, USA Today reported.
So, although we all know that a hug won’t get your brother his girlfriend back or magically cure your daughter’s owie, it has been proven that it will definitely make them feel better.
Now, as far as flu protection goes, I better get myself an appointment at the local Walgreens.
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