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We all know how important it is to relax and de-stress at the end of a long day.
One simple way to relax is to give yourself a hug. That’s right, a simple hug!
Hugging yourself has many benefits, including reducing stress hormones, improving your mood.
Why you should hug yourself
Why is it important to hug yourself at the end of the day? Self-hugging can be an incredibly powerful way to show yourself love and kindness. Studies have found that hugging oneself can increase levels of the “love hormone” oxytocin, leading to a host of positive effects. It can reduce physical stress, fight infections, ease depression, and lessen fatigue.
Self-hugging is a free and easy way to practice self-care, helping you to feel safe, secure, and loved. By taking a few seconds each day to hug yourself, you can make a positive impact on your own well-being and overall happiness.
How to hug yourself
How to Hug Yourself: The Step-by-Step Instructions and Example
- Wrap your arms around yourself. Bring your left arm across your chest and place your left hand on your right shoulder or upper arm. Bring your right arm across your chest, placing your hand on your left shoulder or upper arm. You can reverse the order, just find a position that’s most comfortable for you. If you prefer, you can also wrap your arms more around your midsection. Experiment with arm and hand placement until you find a position that’s most comforting.
- Give yourself a nice big squeeze. Press both arms into your body. Mimic the pressure that you feel when you get a reassuring bear hug. Don’t squeeze so hard that it’s painful, but just enough so that you feel secure. If you’re in any sort of physical pain, hugging yourself can actually reduce it. Crossing your arms in a self-hug can confuse the brain, minimizing the sensation of pain.
- Hold for as long as necessary. Sometimes a quick hug is all you need, while other times you might want a lingering, gentle hug. The great thing about hugging yourself is controlling exactly how long the hug lasts. Nothing is awkward when you’re hugging yourself! Physical touch releases oxytocin (the “cuddle hormone”), which is a hormone associated with forming bonds. Hugging yourself can actually release oxytocin and help calm and soothe you during stressful times. Keep squeezing until you feel a sense of calmness. Repeat as necessary.
Benefits of hugging yourself
1. Hugging Yourself Can Reduce Stress and Increase Well-Being
Hugging yourself can reduce stress and increase well-being by causing a release of the hormone oxytocin, which positively affects physical health. This can be seen in the reduction of harmful physical effects of stress, such as its impact on blood pressure and heart rate.
A 10-second hug a day has been found to fight infections, boost the immune system, ease depression, and lessen fatigue. Self-hugging is also a quick and free act of self-care that sends a strong message to your body and your brain: “I’ve got you, I love you, and you are okay.”
Self-hugging can be used as a self-soothing technique, which helps connect you positively to your body and encourages positive self-esteem. The science is promising, and it’s a great tool to add to your arsenal for fighting depression and anxiety.
2. Hugging Yourself Can Improve Your Mood and Help You Thrive
Hugging yourself can help improve your mood and promote thriving in several ways. Physical affection increases levels of the “love hormone” oxytocin, which has been linked to positive effects on health. Hugs also reduce the harmful physical effects of stress, including their impact on your blood pressure and heart rate.
When you hug yourself for 30 seconds, it sends a strong message to your body and your brain, telling them “I’ve got you, I love you, and you are okay.” It is a quick and free act of self-care that reminds you that you are worthy of love and should be cared for.
3. Hugging Yourself Can Help You Get in Touch With Your Emotions and Face Your Fears
By hugging yourself, you can get in touch with your emotions and face your fears. Self-hugging can help relieve feelings of anxiety and soothe the nervous system by making you feel safe, secure, and loved. Clinical psychologists add that hugs release a cascade of hormones that contribute to wellbeing, and that self-hugging is an “important life skill” we often learn in infancy.
Havening, which is a form of self-soothing, has also been shown to reduce anxiety and depression by reining in and retraining the emotional part of the brain. All these factors combined make self-hugging an effective and powerful way to promote positive self-esteem and wellbeing.
4. Hugging Yourself Can Help You Develop Self-Compassion and Self-Love
Hugging yourself is a powerful way to develop self-compassion and self-love. Research has shown that self-compassion can increase happiness, resilience, and optimism. By engaging in this mindful practice, our bodies release hormons, which helps us to feel trust, calmness, safety, generosity, connectedness, warmth and compassion for ourselves.
Self-hugging allows us to tap into our body’s natural self-healing system, and it reinforces the idea that we are worthy of love and compassion. This can help to increase self-love, and it can also help to reduce stress and anxiety.
5. Hugging Yourself Can Help You Stay Grounded and Keep Things in Perspective
Hugging yourself can help you stay grounded and keep things in perspective by providing a source of comfort and security. The act of hugging oneself can help to boost the immune system and act as a reminder of self-love, sending a message to your body and brain that you are safe, secure, and loved.
Is self hugging similar to using a weighted blanket?
Self-hugging and using a weighted blanket are both methods of self-care used to help relieve stress, anxiety, and improve wellbeing. Both are beneficial in providing comfort and soothing.
Self-hugging is an act of physical affection towards oneself and can be done anywhere, anytime. It involves wrapping your arms around yourself, and can be accompanied by positive affirmations.
Using a weighted blanket involves lying under a blanket that has extra weight added to it (usually 5-25 pounds). The added weight is thought to stimulate the release of serotonin, a “feel good” hormone, in addition to providing a calming and calming effect.
Overall, both self-hugging and weighted blankets can be beneficial in promoting relaxation, but the technique and use of each differs. Self-hugging can be done anytime, anywhere, while weighted blankets are more commonly used for relaxing or sleeping.
How does hugging yourself reduce stress?
Hugging yourself can reduce stress in many ways. By wrapping your arms around yourself, you are sending a signal to your brain that you are safe and secure and that you are loved. This helps to calm your nervous system and reduce feelings of anxiety. Hugging yourself also releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain relievers, and increases production of dopamine, which helps to regulate mood, relieve depression, and provide a sense of well-being. The method is very similar to usage of weighted blankets.
Hugging yourself lowers your blood pressure and strengthens your immune system by stimulating the thymus gland, which regulates the body’s production of white blood cells. All of these benefits of self-hugging can help to reduce stress and create a sense of comfort and relaxation.
Does hugging yourself increase cortisol levels?
Evidence suggests that self-soothing touch and receiving hugs from another person reduce cortisol responses to psychosocial stress. Studies have shown that the benefits from receiving hugs are independent of social identification, suggesting that self-soothing touch may reduce stress-responses even in times of limited social resources.
Therefore, when done regularly and in a mindful manner, hugging oneself can act as a means of self-care, helping to reduce cortisol levels, elevate oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine, and strengthen the immune system.
How does self-compassion affect stress levels?
Self-compassion can have a significant effect on stress levels. Self-compassion involves forgiving yourself, recognizing that you are part of the common human experience, and being mindful of the present. Through these practices, cortisol levels can be lowered, which can lead to a reduction in stress.
Research has also shown that self-compassion can help ward off negative stress, channel positive stress, and reduce a whole host of related clinical issues. By engaging in self-compassion, individuals can create a contagion effect such that team members will “catch” the self-compassion bug and spread it to others, thereby promoting compassion and reducing overall levels of stress.
Uvnäs-Moberg K, Handlin L, Petersson M. Self-soothing behaviors with particular reference to oxytocin release induced by non-noxious sensory stimulation. Front Psychol. 2015 Jan 12;5:1529. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01529. PMID: 25628581; PMCID: PMC4290532.
What is the “heart hug” technique?
The heart hug technique is a self-care practice that helps to bring a sense of calm and relaxation. It involves taking a deep breath and then crossing your arms over your chest and rubbing your arms from shoulder to elbow in a gentle, repetitive motion. This technique releases a cascade of hormones that aid in relaxation and promotes a feeling of happiness and belonging. It can also be used to soothe anxiety and stress. The practice encourages us to open our hearts and reach the crown of our heads to the sky, while letting go of our shoulders and embracing ourselves. To do this, you can either sit or stand up straight, wrap your arms around yourself from side to side, and give yourself a full hug. Afterward, open your arms wide on your next big breath and start again.
What is the Butterfly Hug?
The Butterfly Hug is an easy relaxation technique that can be used anywhere, at any time. It was originally created to be used with EMDR Therapy, but it can also be a great self-soothing tool. This technique involves crossing your hands and placing them on your chest so that each middle finger rests right below the opposite collarbone, fanning the fingers out on your chest, and then alternating tapping your hands on your chest slowly and rhythmically for at least 8 rounds. This type of bilateral stimulation crosses the midline of the body and helps to stimulate both the left and right brain. It helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and can improve overall wellbeing.
Do weighted blankets make you feel hugged?
The power of hugging has been well established in scientific studies, with research showing that hugs can reduce stress and anxiety, boost the immune system, and even combat depression. But what about weighted blankets? Can they offer the same positive effects as hugging a loved one?
Weighted blankets are designed to provide a therapeutic level of pressure to the body. This pressure triggers the release of serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that can help reduce stress and improve sleep.
A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that weighted blankets reduce anxiety levels in adults. Participants in the study reported feeling a decrease in physiological arousal and felt more relaxed. Additionally, participants reported feeling hugged and comforted while using the weighted blanket.
After all, both provide gentle pressure and a sense of security and comfort. However, further research is needed to determine the extent of the benefits of weighted blankets and whether or not they can provide the same level of calming effects as hugging oneself.