nb_cid nb_clickOther -tt-nb this.style.behavior='url(#default#homepage)';this.setHomePage('http://www.aol.com/?mtmhp=acm50ieupgradebanner_112313 network-banner-empty upgradeBanner
Search AOL Mail
AOL Mail
AOL Favorites

Why do we hug?

Why Do We Hug?

We hug people all the time, but have you ever wondered why? Apparently, there's many reasons we're programmed to embrace each other.
  • To connect to others: When you hug someone it releases oxytocin, also known as 'the cuddle hormone.' That's what makes you feel warm inside. Psychologists also say that oxytocin promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding. This allows us to connect to other people. These connections become even more valuable as you age. The loneliness that comes with years can increase stress and overall health. Hugging has been proven to directly fight feelings of loneliness.
  • To feel safe: A study published in Psychological Science found that touch and hugging has the ability to comfort people who suffer from low self-esteem. A hug can provide existential security to someone who is drifting. Even embracing inanimate objects, like stuffed animals, can help alleviate fear.
  • To stay healthy: Oxytocin has also been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease. When you hug receptors in your skin send signals to the vagus nerve. This nerve has the power to slow down your heart and decrease blood pressure, which calms you. A study from Harvard Medical School discovered that children who were not hugged had stunted growth and poor behavior.

More on AOL:
Pennsylvania couple teams up to slim down
Preview Pregnant runner Alysia Montano finishes 800
Navy brother surprises little sister after three years

Join the discussion

1000|Characters 1000  Characters
janieturnage June 30 2014 at 12:43 PM

You know what? A smile has a very good effect too. There was a time I was walking on the street and was being directly approached by the "thuggiest" looking person I had ever seen. I smiled the tiniest little smile and looked at him with a little bit of a glint in my eye, and he suddenly changed his direction and walked on. I got away from that situation unharmed and with my purse still on my arm.

My friends all call me the hugger, so I am all for this article. Makes you feel so good!!!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
socraticknight janieturnage June 30 2014 at 1:04 PM

why didn't you hug the thug? lol don't you know that making eye contact probably made the potential thief or assaulter change his plans with you? criminals don't want to be able to be recognized.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
WildMtHoney888 June 30 2014 at 12:49 PM

So those that lean left will need a hug to boast oxytocin levels. After the rulings of the supreme court.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
socraticknight June 30 2014 at 1:11 PM

this is scientific b.s.! isn't hugging something that is ingrained in our psyche just after birth to console or be consoled, especially when a level of trust is established? sheesh. "educated" people make things too complicated at times

Flag Reply 0 rate up
adika3z June 30 2014 at 1:23 PM

dont know why america law is a ILLEGAL HUG policy ???...

check this ==


Flag Reply 0 rate up
bmitche June 30 2014 at 1:27 PM

A person who is a good hugger has a priceless gift.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jcbstz June 30 2014 at 1:34 PM

MAJOR DISCOVERY---> Science figured out what God had intended all the time. I am apalled

Flag Reply 0 rate up
liondog96 June 30 2014 at 6:11 PM

I only hug women though...explain that.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
aol~~ 1209600



World Series

More From Our Partners