X O X O hugs and kisses all around! But how many hugs do you need a day? Although a kiss is the epitome of romance and love, a hug is where it all starts. From a mother with her child, a friend consolidating a friend and even congratulations for any event from anyone to anyone, hugs are everywhere. However, did you know that hugging has a more scientific background than just an instinct-based action? After all, instincts stem from generations of common knowledge. Hugs have multiple scientific and psychological aspects behind it. There is even a recommended amount of hugs that you need every day!
The Science Behind Hugs
As previously introduced, hugs have a scientific background that allows it to release beneficial psychological effects.
First off, a hug has de-stressing properties. This is due to the pressure of a hug on a body. A common treatment for stress that has gained popularity in the past few years are weighted blankets. Also, for dogs who experience anxiety, there are specially made compression coats. All of these things have compression as a way of reducing stress as a common attribute. This is because pressure, at a moderate amount, forces tense muscles to relax, therefore decreasing the amount of cortisol, which is the stress-producing chemical in our bodies, to reduce itself. With the lack of cortisol to the brain, our emotions instantly calm down.
Research shows that hugging is a perfect ‘feel good’ immune system booster. People enjoy physical touch. Positive physical contact helps release oxytocin – the hormone of happiness, reduce feelings of loneliness and stress hormones. When hugging, people are present in the moment. Longer the better, too. A 20-second hug has numerous health benefits like releasing the tension, as well as soothing the nervous system.
Secondly, a hug is needed to grow. If you consider a human baby in comparison to other animal babies, they are pretty much useless. Unlike other animals, human babies take longer to develop the muscles in their bodies, to learn how to walk, to learn how to eat solid food and more. This is because humans need social interaction to grow. And what better type of social interaction than with a compassionate form of touch like a hug?
Lastly, besides what a hug can do physically within a body, there is also the fact of what a hug can visually give a person. By receiving a hug from a loved one, you know that someone in this often dark and scary world loves you and will be there for you. This factor alone can decrease levels of anxiety and depression.
So How Many Hugs Do You Need A Day?
Scientists have concluded an estimate of how many hugs are needed a day. The most accepted average amount of hugs that each person needs a day is 8. On the lower end of the spectrum, no person should get less than 4 hugs a day if they want to survive.
This is because feelings of being alone can lead to anxiety and depression which can take a toll on your mental and physical health. Any mental illness affects the chemicals in your body, making you susceptible to physical illnesses. An interesting point is that, to grow, it is recommended that you receive at least 12 hugs a day. This is good news for babies as they are hugged almost 24/7 by their parents as babies have a lot of growing to do.
As the famous author, psychologist and family therapist, Virginia Satir once said- hugging is the best therapy. We need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth.
In conclusion, however, it must be remembered that everyone is different and some people might need, or just want, more hugs than others. So why not spread the love!?