Science confirms hugs really do make you feel better

A new study finds that hugs can help people feel better when they experience conflict

Consensual hugging might not only make a good day better but also help reduce negative feelings after being exposed to conflict, according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania.

That powerful effect seemed to linger too: interviewees reported a generally positive mood the next day. The latest study suggests that receiving hugs from someone can protect you against deleterious changes in mood that are associated with the ups and downs of our social connections and interactions.

He further added that multiple evidence suggest that individuals who engage more frequently in interpersonal touch enjoy better physical, psychological, and relational health.

Severe or repeated distress from arguments can build up feelings of anxiety, paranoia, loneliness, and depression.

'Mechanistically, theorists have proposed that one of the key pathways through which interpersonal touch benefits well-being is by helping buffer against the deleterious consequences of psychological stress'.

The researchers interviewed 404 men and women for 14 consecutive days about the arguments they had, how they resolved them, and how they felt afterwards.

So the new study focused on hugs - a relatively common support behavior that individuals engage in with a wide range of social partners.

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The results are correlational, so more research is required in order to investigate the link between hugs and improved psychological function, and to uncover a possible mechanism.

Murphy and Stratyner agreed that people can likely tell the difference between a heartfelt hug and a more perfunctory one.

Assessing more than 400 adults, scientists found that getting a hug on the day of a conflict was linked to smaller drops in positive emotions and a smaller rise in negative ones.

"A very simple, straightforward behaviour - hugging - might be an effective way of supporting both men and women who are experiencing conflict in their relationships", explained Murphy.

"This research is in its early stages", co-author Michael Murphy said.

A new study has confirmed what most of us already know - receiving a hug can help brighten a bad day.

"Hugs, at least among close others, might be a simple, straightforward, effective way to show support to someone you care about who is experiencing conflict with a relationship in their life", Murphy concluded.

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