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How Many Hugs Do You Need A Day?

How Many Hugs Do You Need A Day?

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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.

TED talk on Hugs

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.

What are some benefits of hugging?

When we’re excited, happy, upset, or trying to console another, we hug someone. Hugging appears to be universally soothing. It gives us a wonderful feeling. Hugging, it turns out, has been shown to make us healthier and happier.

When someone embraces us, the contact activates our skin’s pressure sensors, known as Pacini corpuscles, which respond mostly to deep pressure. These receptors transmit a sequence of calm messages to the vagus nerve, which deactivates the part of the brain that responds to threats and keeps us tense, among other things.

Hugging is believed to activate the production of the hormone oxytocin and lower cortisol levels, resulting in reduced anxiety, stress, and sadness.

The benefits of hugging, according to scientists, go beyond the nice sensation you receive when you embrace someone in your arms.

Hugs can help you relax

Touch can help persons with low self-esteem feel less anxious. When people are reminded of their mortality, touch can help them from distancing themselves. Even touching an inanimate object reduced people’s anxieties about their presence, according to the researchers.

how many hugs do you need a day

Hugs could help you reduce pain

Some forms of contact, according to research, may be capable of alleviating pain. The immune system is directly proportional to the number of hugs.

People with fibromyalgia received six therapeutic touch sessions in one trial. Each treatment involved only little skin contact. The participants said their quality of life had improved and their discomfort had decreased. Hugging is another type of touch that might help you feel better.

Hugs can make you feel better

Oxytocin is a molecule in our bodies known as the “cuddle hormone” by scientists. This is because when we hug, touch, or sit near to someone else, its levels grow. Oxytocin is linked to feelings of happiness and reduced stress. Scientists discovered that this hormone has a significant impact on women. Blood pressure and the stress hormone norepinephrine are both reduced by oxytocin.

According to one study, the favorable effects of oxytocin were greatest in women who had better connections and hugged their love partner more frequently. When mothers held their babies close, oxytocin had a good effect.

Hugs help to relieve tension by demonstrating your support

Give a hug to a friend or family member who is coping with something difficult or unpleasant in their lives. According to scientists, providing encouragement to another person through touch helps lower the person’s stress. It can even help the person providing the comfort to feel less stressed.

hugging a friend

The areas of each woman’s brain related with stress exhibited less activity, while those connected with the benefits of maternal conduct showed higher activity, according to the researchers.

Hugs could help your heart health

Hugging is beneficial to your heart. In one experiment, researchers divided a group of 200 individuals into two groups:

One study had loving lovers hold hands for 10 minutes before hugging for 20 seconds. The other group sat in silence for 10 minutes and 20 seconds with their romantic partners.

People in the first group had lower blood pressure and heart rates than those in the second group.

Increasing the production of feel-good hormones

Hugs boost oxytocin levels. Oxytocin (also known as “love hormone”) is a stress-relieving hormone that also improves heart health. It also aids in weight loss, blood pressure reduction, disease prevention, libido enhancement, stress reduction, and relaxation.

Dopamine is the pleasure hormone that makes a person feel happy.

Serotonin is an antidepressant hormone that improves mood, lowers loneliness, and controls anxiety. Hugging for 20 seconds or longer raises serotonin levels, making you feel happier and more optimistic in general.

hugging a partner

Increased hug ratio leads to lower blood pressure, lower cortisol, greater healing, less cravings, and enhanced immunity.

Hugging a newborn child (kangaroo maternal care) helps the youngster gain weight and develop properly.

Hugging boosts self-esteem and makes children feel safe and secure, as well as wiser, more confident, and happier. A hug is beneficial to everyone.

Hug yourself

This may appear absurd, yet it works. Remember that the purpose is to release oxytocin and serotonin, so you might want to amp up the experience by writing down all the things you admire about yourself. It’s all about mental and emotional health, and yours is more vital than ever given the pandemic’s length and uncertainty.

Hugs can boost your overall well-being.

What happens when you hug someone for 20 seconds?

The feel-good hormone oxytocin is released when people hug for 20 seconds or longer, which strengthens the link and connection between huggers. Oxytocin has been found to improve immunological function and relieve stress.

What is the longest hug you can give? Guinness World Record

Two students from Iowa State University hugged for 31 hours in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest hug ever recorded. In summer, 2015, Nerem, 19, and her best friend Alec Norem, 20, decided to attempt to break a world record.

Nerem said: ”We were really bored and were looking up some records that we could possibly beat. We saw the world’s longest hug and said ‘Oh, we can do this one.’ We sent in an application to Guinness World Records and a month or two later, they contacted us approving that we could do it.”

Nerem added: “We had to have both arms locked around one another and we had to be standing the whole time. We were not allowed to sleep and it had to be in a public place where people would be walking around being witnesses.”

Friends would photograph and document evidence of their hug every four hours as proof. Nerem and Norem were given five-minute toilet breaks every hour, and fellow students brought pizza, pulled pork, and energy drinks to the event.

Alex Norem added: “I think the whole experience brought us a lot closer. It was such a positive experience for both of us. In your four years of college you want to do things that you’ll remember for the rest of your life and for her and I, this was perfect for that.”

Shortly after Nerem and Norem, the record was broken again. For 32 hours, 32 minutes, and 32 seconds, Kannenberg and Thompson hugged.

So How Many Hugs Do You Need A Day?

There is a requirement of eight hugs every day when it comes to maintaining your mental health. On the lower end of the spectrum, no person should get less than 4 hugs a day if they want to survive.

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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.

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Hugs have been a part of our lives since we were born. It improves our self-esteem and self-worth, making us feel better. Many of us are running out of hugs due to social distancing, substantially diminished human touch, and more digital than physical connections.

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!?