It's official: hugs are good for you, physically and emotionally. Recent scientific research has found that getting your full cuddle quota every day has significant benefits, including a healthy heart rate, a sense of calm, better sleep and more energy.
Here are the scientific reasons that hugs benefit early childhood development:
The human body does a very interesting thing in response to a hug. It releases a hormone called oxytocin, which lonely nerds and scientists have christened the "love hormone."
Oxytocin is the neuropeptide that promotes feelings of well-being, connectedness, calm and security in all sorts of animals. It's particularly effective when humans are in the presence of a person they love. Research shows oxytocin reduces stress. Findings also show it promotes healing by reducing inflammation. So basically, you should be mainlining hugs for your health.
And, even though your kid isn't a stressed out mess like many adults, an oxytocin dump from a good hug will promote their sense of well-being and safety around you.
One sad but eye opening study showed that children in orphanages without human contact had worse outcomes than children who had regular affectionate contact. In fact, the absence of touch was enough to stunt growth and slow development.
On the other hand, touch promotes the ability to thrive. When otherwise isolated children (like premature babies in incubators) are given the chance to be touched by parents, they have a much higher likelihood of survival.
The Cold Front
You know by now any place that little kids frequent is basically a germ factory. These places expose your kid to nasty stuff that will probably lay them out with a cough and a snotty nose.
Happily, research has shown that people who feel like horrific from viral infections get a benefit from hugging it out. Not only did people who received more hugs have less severe symptoms from stuff like the common cold, they were even less likely to get the cold in the first place. Which seems counterintuitive considering how close your get to a person when you hug. But, as long as you're not hugging their whole snotty face, turns out you might be alright.
Finally, there's something in it for you: hugging your kid regularly will lower your blood pressure. That's thanks again to your old friend oxytocin that also triggers the release of other hormones like dopamine.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or paternity action, keep your children at the forefront should be a priority.
Contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.