When it comes to relationships, physical touch is at the forefront of how we say ‘I love you’ without actually speaking.
So it’s no surprise that the one act all couples, married or otherwise, should do every single day is to hug each other. Hugging is an absolute must and doing this daily practice can bring a myriad of benefits not just for your relationship but for yourself too.
Just like exercise and meditation, hugging your partner should be a routine but not become a chore; you need to be present when embracing your partner and make it last for at least ten seconds to be effective.
You might be picturing you and your partner getting ready for work in the morning and the rush to get out the door can be so overwhelming you forget to have your hug, but your daily hug is what you make it.
Ten seconds isn’t a long time out of your day, so finding time whether it be in the morning before the day starts or hugging it out when you see each other in the evening, having this ritual connects you in more ways than one.
Our bodies release this chemical called oxytocin which is what makes us feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. This chemical is often released when we have a physical bond or connection with someone, and it is especially potent when we hug our loved ones.
It is a nurturing act that seems to make all of our problems melt away, with long hugs and cuddling being particularly good for our health.
Part of any romantic relationship involves being vulnerable and open with each other, and part of that process of letting someone in is creating intimate bonds driven by physical touch.
As one of the key factors of expressing intimacy, hugging promotes sexual desire for that person and naturally increases testosterone levels. By hugging your partner not only are you literally bringing each other closer together, your connection becomes emotional as much as it is physical.
The last thing you feel like doing is hugging your partner after being cross with them or having an argument, but there are studies that prove hugging after conflict can help resolve it faster.
Our pride can get the better of us sometimes and in relationships we are bound to have the “I’m always right” cap on during a row. By hugging each other, you put pride aside and connect, bringing you back to reality and being grateful for having someone to argue with in the first place.
We often hug our partner if they’ve had a bad day at work, get physically injured or when they are experiencing emotional hardship, and there’s a reason for that! Hugging can help alleviate pain in many ways, whether it be physical, mental or emotional pain they are suffering.
Embracing someone who is hurting—in their heart, mind or body—promotes circulation which helps remove pain peptides while increasing oxytocin which combats stress. Hugging is also a great distraction when it comes to being in pain as the comfort and touch of your partner can allow solitude, so you are concentrating on the hug itself.
Speaking of stress levels and oxytocin, it can help fight infections and certain illnesses that we are more susceptible to due to increased cortisol. By decreasing your stress levels with regular hugging, you’re also more likely to perform better during performance such as playing sports, performing for an audience, and public speaking.
While hugs help lower our heart rates and cortisol levels, they can also be helpful if you’re experiencing mental illness or existential discomfort. Embracing your partner can offer a sense of physical security that is happening in real time, which can help bring you back to reality and decrease anxiety.