We all know a cuddle makes us feel good. Whether it's snuggling your new little baby, getting a hug from a friend or being on the receiving end of a squeeze from your main squeeze, it's an instant mood boost.
Why do hugs make us feel so good? It's all about the hormones, those pesky things that can make us sad or snappy or sensitive can also create feelings of calm and happiness and well-being.
Here's the science bit...
Skin to skin touch increases oxytocin which is good for our hearts and helps us feel connected to one another. It decreases cortisol and this leads to us feeling less stressed and less anxious. Positive touch triggers the release of dopamine, the pleasure hormone which creates feelings of contentedness and cheerfulness.
These happy hormones boost our immune system, lower blood pressure and help to fight infection and ease pain. If your arm hurts you automatically rub it to make it feel better so it makes sense that if you're feeling tired or sad or sore a big bear hug is sometimes the best medicine.
Research has shown that premature babies gain weight quicker and get to go home from hospital sooner if they can be touched and held. We know that holding our babies close helps to relax them and us and helps us strengthen our bond but remember all the benefits it can bring to the rest of your family. Give those bigger children an even bigger cuddle, hug your parents, squeeze your friends and snuggle into your other half. Even if you're too tired to have a proper conversation with your love just hold them and be held and feel your spirits lift.
Touch is the first sense we develop inside the womb and usually the last to diminish as we age. However young or old we are we have the ability to make someone feel better just by reaching out our arms.
Cuddle, hug, clinch, cwtch. Whatever you call them they are a powerful force. Go give someone a snuggle and feel the love. xx