Do you crave hugs? If so, why do you think that is?
Hugs have been around since the dawn of human history. All people and all cultures around the world give each other hugs.
Some hugs are short, some hugs are bear hugs!
But exactly why do we crave hugs?
This blog post will explain the top 4 reasons why you want to hug someone or get hugged yourself!
1 – Physical Touch Is Your Love Language
Have you ever been sitting in a room and someone walks up to you, wraps their arms around your waist, and leans their head on your shoulder?
If so, what did that feel like for you?
It probably felt good. It might have made you feel better about yourself or the situation in general. You may even have had an urge to hug them back. That’s because hugs are one of the most common ways people show love for each other.
Hugs can be short or long. They can be bear hugs or gentle embraces. But no matter how different they can be from person-to-person, all hugs serve the same purpose:
Making two people closer to each other than before.
Hugs are also the universal sign of love. They convey a range of emotions from deep caring to intense grief and they can last for just a second or 30 seconds or more, depending on the type of hug.
The power of hugs is that you can’t fake them. You can’t fake physical touch. This makes it an important part in any relationship where two people need to communicate their feelings without words.
Hugs are one of five different types of love language: quality time, acts of service, gifts, words or affirmation and physical touch.
It’s important that all five types be represented in your relationships because if you’re only using one type but not the others, then you’ll have trouble communicating with each other about your deepest emotional needs.
2 – You Need Human Touch To Survive (As A Baby)
It’s not just human adults who crave hugs. Human babies also need them to survive.
Babies are born with an instinctive drive to connect with people. They get satisfaction from touch, especially skin-to-skin contact that mimics the womb experience.
In fact, without enough of these skin-to-skin touches and other loving gestures during their first weeks of life, some newborns can die.
There is a famous story about an ancient king who wanted to learn the ‘original’ language of Europe. He instructed nurses to raise three babies without speaking a single word or touching these babies.
The nurses were to only feed the babies using dairy milk (not breastfeeding, to prevent human contact). They were never to speak a word to the babies.
The king thought the babies would all grow up and speak either German, English or French. Then the king would know the original language of Europe.
But the babies all died. Without human touch, even though they had enough nutrition, the babies stopped breathing.
And while we humans may not ‘technically’ need hugs to live when we are adults, you get the point. Hugs are important and help us stay alive.
Fortunately for us all, human beings have developed a strong sense of survival since the beginning of time. This means our brains naturally know how important it is for new babies to receive love and affection in order to thrive.
This is why we naturally hug babies, unless prevented in doing so by an evil king!
Is It Normal To Crave A Hug?
Yes! Craving hugs is definitely normal.
Many people in many different countries and cultures all want to give and receive hugs.
And why wouldn’t they? There are so many reasons why we want hugs!
- Hugs make us feel good because they release endorphins.
- Hugs can also be a way to show love for someone else, or just an expression of affection on its own.
Or maybe you’re feeling sad and need some physical contact (we all have our ‘down’ moments).
Maybe something exciting happened and you want another person close, to share in that excitement with you.
Maybe it has just been too long since you hugged your best friend!
Whatever the reason is though, the point is simple. There are many reasons to want hugs and so wanting hugs is normal.
3 – Hugs & Physical Contact Are Healthy
Did you know hugs are actually good for your health?
Hugs are a natural way to release endorphins which make you feel good and can even lower your blood pressure.
Endorphins are also those ‘feel good’ chemicals that get released into your body and brain during and after exercise!
Endorphins have also been linked with better sleep, improved moods and reduced stress levels. For more information about endorphins, including why endorphins are a type of hormone, read this Good Therapy article here.
One study has shown that men who hugged more had fewer cold symptoms than those who didn’t hug as often! There are other health benefits like reducing heart disease, boosting immune systems and relieving pain from arthritis.
Another cool thing about hugs? They help regulate our body’s internal clock. So they could be why we crave them in the morning after waking up.
4 – Human Affection
As a society, we have learned to be more and more self-reliant.
We think we are independent people who don’t need anyone else for anything.
But that’s not really true. We do need people, which is why it’s so hard when someone in our life passes away or leaves us, because we feel like we can no longer count on them for anything. And even worse if that person was the only one in our lives that provided love and affection to us!
This is often felt as abandonment by those left behind. It feels like they are not worth any love anymore now that their loved one has gone from this earth.
But even if someone doesn’t feel worthy of love, in reality all humans need love and affection from others around them (even if they’re busy doing something).
Simply, affection from others makes us feel good like we belong!
- You feel like you belong to a community when others show affection for you
- Being ignored or not noticed can lead to feelings of abandonment, isolation, and depression
- When someone shows their love for us we feel more confident in ourselves
Is It Normal To Crave Physical Affection
Physical affection is normal and healthy. In fact, it’s often a sign of love and bonding with other people– even if you’ve never met them before.
But what physical touch means varies from person to person depending on their culture or background. For example, in some cultures patting someone on the shoulder might be seen as an insult while in others it would not be at all strange.
But whatever culture you are from, I guarantee one simple thing: there are gestures of physical affection!
For example: In many families around the world both parents will hug their children when they get home from school. Why? Because they’re happy to see them again!
This isn’t seen as weird or inappropriate behavior. This kind of hugging is called “affection” and there’s nothing wrong with that!
Don’t Feel Guilty About Wanting To Meet Your Emotional Needs
Many people feel guilty about wanting a hug.
It’s often because they’ve been taught that physical affection is only for the young. Or that hugs should be saved for special occasions like birthdays and holidays.
But when you think about it logically– who doesn’t crave hugs? Some of our fondest memories are of sitting on grandpa’s lap and feeling his big warm arms around us. Or snuggling up to momma with her arms around us while we watch TV together.
Everybody needs love and affection from others! And hugging is one way to show your love for other people in your life.
There’s nothing wrong with meeting your emotional needs by getting a hug.
When Your Physical Needs Become A Burden
Overall, hugs are good for you. It’s natural and normal to want hugs.
However, sometimes people become too desperate to get hugs. They may ask you at inappropriate moments for a hug. This is why sometimes people go to google and search ‘why do I crave hugs?’
This is when the hug becomes a burden. When this happens it’s important not to give in because then you’re only enabling their bad behavior.
The best thing to do is offer support without hugging. They can hopefully move on from this stage of life and learn how to keep healthy boundaries with their friends and acquaintances.
Hugs Can Be Tricky (But Still Overall Very Good!)
If you give people hugs too much than read this …
Hugs can be tricky because a basic hug goes a long way in helping to comfort another. One hug can instantly make a family member (or even a random stranger) feel like they matter and that they’re not alone with whatever difficulties life throws at them.
Yet despite the physical boundaries we maintain, it’s often difficult for people to say “no” to an urge from their body or mind.
Acknowledge your emotional hunger to give someone across the room a hug and tell them “No.” This won’t happen overnight. But it’s important you resist any urges when tempting situations arise.
You can also find other ways to meet your relationship needs through healthy boundaries.
For example: You can give someone a hug that you’re comfortable with and know is acceptable.
This could be hugging your spouse when they get home from work or giving yourself an occasional pat on the back.
If you’re still craving hugs despite these steps then consider finding a professional counselor near you. It’s important not to intrude on people’s personal space to ‘give them a hug’ because you can come off like a creep!
Final “Why Do I Crave Hugs” Thoughts
The reasons why we crave hugs can be complex, but one thing is for sure – human touch is important.
It’s a basic need that babies have from the beginning. This need doesn’t go away when you grow up either. In fact, studies show that adults are healthier when they get more physical contact with others.
Hugs release oxytocin into the bloodstream. And this helps to reduce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Hugs also release dopamine which makes us feel happy!
So if you’re feeling down or stressed out, just reach out to give somebody a hug (or two).
For more info about meeting food deficiencies causing emotional eating, read my other blog post here!