Today is National Hugging Day.
The last couple years have looked a little different in terms of hugging our loved ones. Today, thanks to science and vaccines, we can feel safe to hug again! Did you know there are many benefits to hugging?
Hugging releases oxytocin, also called the cuddle hormone, which causes a reduction of the stress hormone, norepinephrine. No one likes to feel stress, and we all feel stress in different ways. You never know what another person is going through, and they may just need a hug to relieve their momentary stress.
Strengthens Immune System
Hugging can help to stimulate the thymus gland which regulates the body’s white cell blood count which fight off disease. A strong immune system goes a long way especially in the long term care setting where it is hard to isolate completely if there is a breakout due to staffing.
Builds Trust and Feeling of Safety
Hugging is essentially another form of communication that we use to bond with our loved ones. It makes us feel closer to the person. In long term care, bonds and trust are essential. Our residents must feel safe as we are in their home and they must trust their caregivers to give them the best care. Hugs can help build this feeling.
A hug on one of our “bad” days can boost ourselves up and make us feel happier and better about ourselves. Seeing someone smile after a warm embrace can instantly put you in a better mood as well.
Reduces Fears and Combats Loneliness
Many studies have found that impact of a slow, affectionate touch against a fast, neutral touch following social rejection. This factor is huge in the long term care community as residents feel more isolated now than ever due to the pandemic which makes hugging even more important than ever as well.