Most people love to cuddle because it feels good, helps them relax, and can even increase their outlook on life. It’s hard to find any reason NOT to cuddle with someone every day, because cuddling offers so many benefits. However, you don’t have to be in a relationship to experience the positive effects of cuddling; even hugging friends and family or showing love to your pet releases oxytocin, which is also known as the “feel-good hormone.”
So, what else can cuddling do for you?
It helps boost your immune system
Cuddling, or even hugging, someone at least four times a day is necessary for survival, according to psychotherapist Virginia Satir. Interestingly, science clearly connects better health with more cuddling in many different studies. The human touch has the power to drop a person’s levels of cortisol, a hormone released as a result of stress. As Roberta Lee of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York explains, “Cortisol suppresses the immune response. Anything that increases the relaxation response triggers the restoration of your immune response.”
In turn, cuddling can increase the effectiveness of your immune system while making you feel happier and loved. If that’s not enough reason to cuddle, here are some more reasons to consider.
It can alleviate social anxiety.
Cuddling is just another way to exchange energy, whether that be between two humans or a human and another animal. When people cuddle, it releases oxytocin, a powerful chemical in the brain known for its ability to relieve anxieties of all kinds. Given its ability to breakdown social barriers, oxytocin is progressively being viewed as an incredible natural remedy to overcoming social inhibitions. Studies have shown that oxytocin could be effective in treating debilitating shyness, or to help people with social anxieties and mood disorders.
If you have been suffering from social anxiety for quite some time, cuddling could indeed ease your symptoms and help change your mindset about social situations.
It relieves pain.
Again, a major contributor to why cuddling feels so good is oxytocin. If you have a headache or joint pain, cuddling can help alleviate your pain and even increase your pain tolerance. A small study with nine patients revealed that seven out of nine of them who took doses of oxytocin reported less chronic pain and improvement in the intensity of pain flare-ups over time.
You don’t even need pills to experience pain relief – you can just go right to the source and cuddle with your significant other or even your pet to get the same result!
It makes you happier. Cuddling with someone helps you feel bonded with them, which promotes feelings of safety and contentment. According to Women’s Health Magazine, “touching someone releases [dopamine and serotonin], both of which can boost your mood and curb depression.”
According to Paul Zak, a well-known expert on the oxytocin hormone and self-proclaimed “Dr. Love,” oxytocin is the “moral molecule behind all human virtue, trust, affection and love, a ‘social glue’ that keeps society together.”
Any sort of physical contact can release this hormone, which means cuddling can greatly improve your mood and promote lasting feelings of happiness!
It helps to get rid of stress.
As aforementioned, the hormone cortisol gets released into your system when you have high levels of stress. Cuddling immediately lowers your stress levels because of the famous love hormone, oxytocin, being released automatically into your body. High levels of stress promote numerous unhealthy reactions, from weight gain to high blood pressure, headaches, heart disease, and other serious problems. If you feel stressed, skip the medications and head for a relaxing place in your home where you can enjoy some cuddle time with your loved ones.