It’s all in the hold
Many mental health experts encourage their clients to ask for hugs from loved ones. According to some studies, around 40% of adults report that they often feel lonely. A friendly hug, or simply placing your hand on someone’s shoulder, can help them to feel supported. Scientists suggest that a 20-second hug is enough to release oxytocin, with immediate health-boosting benefits. One of the most powerful hugs is a long, deep hug, where two peoples’ hearts are pressing together. Children in particular benefit from lots of hugs. Studies show that premature babies that are given daily massages grow faster than those that are not. Loving physical contact can boost children’s language skills, IQ and helps with bonding and socialisation. Find any excuse to cuddle your kids! Elderly people are often deprived of contact, especially if they have lost their spouse. Holding an older person’s hand is a wonderful way to make them feel loved. Cuddling your pet can have the same emotional and physical benefits, releasing oxytocin and raising levels of serotonin.