Sunday, January 21st is National Hugging Day, which got us thinking – if we want to improve our mind & body health, what impact does human touch have? What does a hug mean to the way we approach our day…or the way we finish it? Read on to see how the human touch and a warm bear hug could be just what you need to lift your mood and ease illness this winter season.
According to Psychology Today, touch is what separates humans from other animals, and the lack of it can retard social & developmental capabilities. This can include tendencies towards violence, our feelings of safety and trustworthiness, feelings of comfort and more.
One example of mental benefit is presented by American development psychologist James W. Prescott, who argues that the lack of a child-mother bond and physical affection can be blamed for the origin of physical violence in our society. Trust & teambuilding can also be directly related to physical contact. For example, according to neuroscientist Edmund Ross, “physical touch activates the brain’s orbitfrontal cortex, which is linked to feelings of reward and compassion”, ultimately releasing what some term “the love hormone.”
Although physical touch is clearly powerful, that doesn’t mean a high-five from a coworker is going to meet all your needs. When researchers examined physical touch, they realized that hugging specifically has its own benefits. For instance, in addition to the mental benefits mentioned above, hugging has been directly linked to reducing stress, lowering cortisol levels and increasing a sense of trust and security.
Stress & cortisol levels aren’t the only physical benefits you receive from hugging – many argue that your immune system also benefits. According to these researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, people who received greater social support, including the receipt of hugs, were less likely to come down with a cold. Those who received more frequent hugs, who did end up with colds anyway, still ended up having less severe symptoms. Ultimately, researchers theorize that hugging and human touch lead to lowered stress levels, generating the feeling that others are there to help in the face of adversity and thus reducing the effects of colds and other illness.
Whatever your tendency towards human touch, there’s no denying its potential power to keep your spirits up this season. But when a hug doesn’t do the trick, head on over to our products page and cheer up with our newest Sample Kits, now available for eye shadow, lipstick, powder blush, cream blush & foundation samples.