How cuddling can improve your health
There’s nothing worse than sleeping alone. This is truer than you think. As it turns out, cuddling is basically a miracle drug. Indeed, research has shown that cuddling offers amazing health and emotional benefits. Here are just ten of them.
1. Oxytocin release
“Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland, a pea-sized structure at the base of the brain,” LiveScience reports. The flush of it that comes with cuddling increases overall happiness. What’s more, cuddling releases endorphins, which also contribute to feeling great.
2. Self-esteem boost
“The most obvious benefit to cuddling is getting close to your partner in the physical sense,” Shape reports. “Cuddling can lead to fun sexy time or relaxing and loving time post sexual intercourse, but there’s also a chemical plus.” It releases dopamine, an excitatory hormone that increases sexual desire. And the better your sex life is, the better your overall physical and mental health will be.
3. Stress reduction
Cuddling, kissing, and hugging all release bonding hormones in your body that reduce your blood pressure. These same hormones also help to reduce stress and anxiety as well as the risk of heart disease.
It’s healthy to want to be close to another. You should reflect on and explore your own personal comfort zone. Doing so will enable you to say how much feels good and how much more doesn’t. Your goal with cuddling should be to find the right balance that also takes into account your partner’s needs.
5. Better communication
Many couples improve emotional and physical intimacy through cuddling. Cuddling is a form of non-erotic physical touch (depending on the context), which helps people to feel understood and safe. Cuddling also nonverbally conveys to your partner that you love him and are there for him. Cuddling enables you to convey messages that are often difficult to say.
6. Improved immunity
Cuddling stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, which releases serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. All of these feel-good hormones boost your immune system to help fight off sickness. Bonus: Cuddling is way more appealing than taking vitamin C.
7. Pain relief
The oxytocin released during cuddling also decreases your pain levels. In fact, the simple act of touching yourself releases enough oxytocin to make you feel better. Cuddling magnifies this effect way more.
8. Deeper intimacy
We all know that communication is key when it comes to relationships, especially if you’re experiencing a lot of stress. The act of cuddling allows you to escape from all the stress in your life, and to connect with your partner on a very deep level. Plus, you’ll be taking time to focus solely on your partner and what you feel for him.
9. Reduced social anxiety
Oxytocin, the hormone which is released through cuddling, can help you have a more optimistic view of the world. Rather than stepping into a party feeling stressed and nervous, you’ll feel happier and more social going in.
10. Reduced risk of heart disease and other diseases
Cuddling decreases cortisol, which is the main stress hormone, and increases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone. This translates into less stress, less anxiety, lower blood pressure, and a lower risk of heart disease as well as other diseases. As a result, you’ll live a longer, healthier life.
Embrace the possibilities
Remember that cuddling defies definition. Humans are inherently social creatures, and we love hanging out with each other and connecting through touch. Even the simplest form of human touch — like hand-holding releases a cocktail of hormones in our brains … all of which make us feel good.
But cuddling doesn’t have to be just between you and your romantic partner, and it doesn’t even have to be with another person. You can actually cuddle yourself by rubbing your own shoulders, for instance. You can also cuddle with your friends or play with your pets by embracing them.
If you don’t like touching other people or animals, that’s okay. A warm bath or a massage also feels good and offers lots of emotional and physical benefits. In fact, just feeling warm and connected through some form of touch is enough to release oxytocin in your system, which helps you to feel great.