This week’s Mental Sunshine is all about hugs.

When was the last time you hugged someone?

If you’re a parent of a small child, it might have been fairly recently…

For others, it may have been a bit longer.

It might be the case that we only give or receive hugs when someone is feeling sad or upset – or perhaps when we meet a friend or relative we’ve not seen for a long time.

Hugging is actually good for us though – and I think we should all do more of it!

When we hug our brains release soothing chemicals which can help to lower our stress levels, making us feel safer and more at ease throughout the day.

Hugging someone can actually lower our stress levels.

And theirs!

Because hugging helps to lower our stress response, that can have a knock-on effect on things like our immune system, heart rate and even blood pressure.

Perhaps most importantly, engaging in more hugs can help to improve your mood.

A hug a day…

Of course, some people are not “hug people” and I’m not suggesting you should go around grabbing people at bus stops!

But it has to be worth a try, right?

Next time you meet a friend, co-worker or relative why not see if they are open to a hug and improve both of your days!