Most of us really enjoy a good cuddle every now and then. Whether that’s with your significant other, your dog or cat, or that stuffed animal you’ve had since you were little, there’s just something about cuddling that makes us feel good. In fact, there’s this girl who is allowing people to buy cuddle time with her, a completely innocent way for her to help others feel better. But does it actually really help us? Well, as it turns out there are some really great health benefits of cuddling.
The most important health benefit is cuddling releases oxytocin. In fact, oxytocin has some pretty clever nicknames: hug hormone, cuddle chemical and moral molecule. Basically, when released, this chemical not only creates a happy blissful feeling, but can reduce stress and help us strengthen our bonds with whomever the cuddling is with.
But oxytocin doesn’t work alone. Just simply being touched by someone else, whether that’s holding hands, a touch on the back or a full fledged cuddle session, will make you happier because dopamine and serotonin are also released. When you’re happy, your relationship blossoms, and when your relationship blossoms, your work life can too.
And, as if just feeling happy wasn’t enough, oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin all help boost your immune system. In a study done last year, researchers gathered together 404 adults, exposed them to a cold virus, and then made them cuddle. What they found is while it did not cure the common cold, cuddling did help the cold sufferer feel less severe symptoms.
The other great benefits to cuddling include its ability to reduce our anxiety and stress, lower our blood pressure and lower our heart rate. What this basically means is that if you ever catching yourself when you are down saying, “I just need a hug…” It’s not just a figure of speech. It really could be your body crying out for a little bit of the hug hormone.
So, the next time you feel like you’re feeling a little down, grab a cuddle buddy. Sit on the couch, watch your favorite TV show and bask in the moment, because it really will make you feel better.