How Important Hugging is for Our Mental and Physical Health

擁抱對我們的身心健康至關重要

David Fryburg, MD, Founder of Envision Kindness

29/02/2020

At the times in my life when I have been angry or upset, a good hug has usually been a very quick remedy for whatever was ailing me. After receiving a warm and genuine embrace from a loved one or friend, the tension in my body would melt away almost immediately—and while the problem itself may not have changed, my reaction to it had.

在一生之中,每當我感到生氣或沮喪的時候,一個美好的擁抱總是能緩解困擾我的事情。在和親人或朋友熱情而真誠的擁抱之後,我體內的緊張情緒便立刻消失了,雖然這並不能改變問題,但卻改變了我面對問題時的反應。

I have witnessed the same reaction in other people as well—and I’m guessing that you have too; but how does a hug deliver such a remarkable effect so quickly?

我曾見過其他人有同樣的反應,想必你也有。但為甚麼擁抱能有如此迅速且顯著的效果呢?

Touch is a powerful means of communication. By making physical connection with each other, people’s intentions are readily discernible—whetherthey are comforting and helpful or antagonistic and potentially harmful. In the positive, pro-social mode, hugs are one type of touch that relays the message: “I care about you. You matter.”

觸碰是一個強而有力的溝通方式。通過與彼此肢體接觸,更容易辨認出對方的意圖,無論是安慰、幫助、敵對還是可能有害。在積極、利社會的模式下,擁抱是傳達「我在乎你,你很重要」的一種方式。

We require touch with other living beings in order to flourish. The importance of physical contact was painfully observed in the orphanages of Romania: children who were provided food—but not held or hugged—had significant developmental and socio-emotional delay accompanied by smaller brains.

我們需要與他人接觸才能有良好的發展。在羅馬尼亞的孤兒院中,很令人不捨地, 我們觀察到了身體接觸的重要性:那些提供食物但沒有被握手或擁抱的孩子,有嚴重的發育和社會情感遲緩,且大腦較小。

This means that physical contact is not only critical for how these children behaved, but for the development of the brain itself, something which has also been observed in animals subjected to social isolation.

這意味著,肢體接觸不僅對這些孩子的行為舉止至關重要,而且對於大腦本身的發育也非常重要,我們在受到社會隔離的動物身上也觀察到了這一點。

In people subjected to less extreme circumstances, touch affects our response to everyday conflict. This group of researchers interviewed 404 adults daily for 14 days regarding their health, conflicts, how they felt emotionally (positive or negative), and whether or not they received a hug.

在處於不太極端情況下的人們中,觸摸會影響我們對日常衝突的反應。這組研究人員持續14天每天採訪404名成年人,內容涉及他們的健康狀況、衝突、他們的正負面情緒,以及是否接受了擁抱。

People who had received a hug and had an interpersonal conflict reported feeling more positive with less severe negative reactions on that day. They also showed evidence that hugging may favorably influence the rate of infection from a cold as well as symptoms.

受到擁抱而當天有發生人際衝突的人,消極反應會減輕,反而會感到更積極。他們也證明了擁抱可能對於感冒的感染率和症狀會有正面影響。

Since hugs are a great way to relieve stress, it is not surprising that the number of hugs that a woman receives from her partner is highly related to lower blood pressure as well as higher levels of hormone known as oxytocin, colloquially labeled the “love hormone”.

由於擁抱是緩解壓力的好方法,因此,女性從伴侶那裡得到的擁抱數量與血壓降低以及稱為催產素的激素(俗稱“愛情荷爾蒙”)上升有高度相關也就不足為奇了 。

Hugs, of course, are a form of touch that share the same elements as other types of physical connection, like massage and gentle, light touch.

擁抱,想當然耳,是一種與其他類型的肢體接觸有相同要素的接觸形式,例如按摩和輕柔的觸摸。

Massage has been shown to decrease pain in a variety of conditions, especially pain associated with cancer, back pain, migraines, etc. It affects the biochemistry that mediates pain or sadness and can also lower blood pressure, reduce cortisol, improve immune responses, stimulate the vagus nerve, and change EEG (brain wave) patterns.

按摩已被證明可以減輕各種情況下的疼痛,尤其是與癌症、背痛、偏頭痛等有關的疼痛。它影響調節疼痛或悲傷的生物化學,還可以降低血壓、減少皮質醇、改善免疫反應、刺激腦神經,並改變腦電圖(腦波)模式。

In pre-term (premature) babies, light massage for 15 minutes over the course of one week caused significant increase in weight gain. Complementary to the studies of Romanian orphans, it is remarkable that massage helps babies grow, perhaps by changing their metabolism.

對於早產嬰兒,在一周的時間內輕按摩15分鐘會讓嬰兒的體重明顯增加。作為對羅馬尼亞孤兒研究的補充,值得注意的是,按摩可以幫助嬰兒成長,也許這是通過改變其新陳代謝來達成的。

Taken together, it is clear that being touched in a loving and caring way can not only decrease stress, but also help nourish the recipient and help them heal, recover, and grow. Physiologically, we observe activation of specific neuronal and hormonal mechanisms that decrease pain, lower blood pressure (and other markers of stress), and improve physical and mental health.

綜上所述,很明顯地,以一種充滿愛和關懷的方式被撫摸,不僅可以減輕壓力,而且還可以幫助接受觸摸的人康復和成長。在生理上,我們觀察到啟動特定神經元和激素機制可減輕疼痛、降低血壓(和其他壓力指標)並改善身心健康。

Nature gave us this remarkable ability to help and heal one another. The challenge is that social custom and fear of inappropriate contact may have decreased our interaction through touching. In a 1999 study of preschool children from Miami and Paris, Field noted that French parents affectionately touched their children much more than American parents. Associated with this tactile difference, American children showed more aggressive behavior than the French.

大自然賦予我們這種非凡的能力來治癒彼此。我們面臨的挑戰在於,社會習俗和對不適當接觸的恐懼,可能會降低我們透過接觸而產生的互動。在1999年邁阿密和巴黎對於學齡前兒童的一項研究中,菲爾德指出,法國父母比美國父母更深情地撫摸他們的孩子。與此觸覺差異相關的是,美國兒童比法國兒童表現出更具攻擊性的行為。

There are creative efforts to satisfy the need to be touched. Entrepreneurial “professional cuddlers” have opened up shop, offering a variety of platonic ways to be held at pop-up events across various different locations. And, as expected, there are tech-based solutions, such as a hugging vest, a chair that hugs its occupant, as well as pillows that hug and also communicate with your smartphone.

為了滿足「觸摸」的需求,我們在創造力上下了不少工夫。有店面推出“專業擁抱者”,並提供了在各種不同地點的彈出事件中舉行的多種柏拉圖方式。而且,正如預期的那樣,有一些基於技術的解決方案,例如擁抱背心,擁抱乘員的椅子,以及擁抱並與智能手機通信的枕頭。

Another complementary approach to fulfilling our physical need for connection may be encouraging people to see other people hugging or touching in a gentle way; researchers found that when people simply see images of other people hugging, they exhibited significant EEG changes. The larger brain wave changes correlated with people who had greater empathic responses to the images.

滿足我們身體上的連接需求的另一種補充方法可能是鼓勵人們看到別人以溫柔的方式擁抱或觸摸;研究人員發現,當人們僅看到別人擁抱的圖像時,他們就會表現出明顯的腦電圖變化。較大的腦電波變化與對圖像的移情反應較大的人相關。

This work is consistent with Envision Kindness’ own research on how images of kindness and compassion—many of which capture caring touch or hugging—are a proven and potent way to induce joy, love, optimism, and connection. Thus, by simply looking at these images, people can experience lower levels of stress and greater joy.

這項工作與Envision Kindness自己的研究相一致,即關於善良和同情的圖像(其中許多捕捉了關懷的觸摸或擁抱)是一種經過驗證且有效的方式,可以激發歡樂,愛,樂觀和聯繫。因此,僅通過查看這些圖像,人們就可以體驗到較低的壓力和更大的歡樂。

Viewing these images should be rounded out by the real thing whenever possible. So here’s a challenge for you, the reader: begin a regular practice of hugging others. Start with people you are comfortable with—friends and family. Try to give at least one each day—you don’t have to wait for National Hug Day (January 21st) to do this. And as you feel comfortable and the situation warrants it, consider extending yourself. A hug is a gift to someone else—and remember, giving to someone else is also a gift for yourself.

只要有可能,觀看這些圖像時都應以真實物體為準。因此,對您來說,這對您來說是一個挑戰:開始常規地擁抱他人。從與您相處融洽的人開始-朋友和家人。嘗試每天至少捐出一個-您不必等待全國擁抱日(1月21日)就可以這樣做。並且,當您感到舒適且情況允許時,請考慮擴展自己。擁抱是對別人的禮物,記住,給別人也是對自己的禮物。

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