Two men hugging

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Hugs have genuine positive effects on your body. Psychology Today helps to break it down.

1. Getting hugged by others, but also hugging yourself, reduces stress hormones: Research out of Frankfurt Germany: either were hugged for 20 seconds by an assistant of the scientists, hugged themselves for 20 seconds, or received no hugs and were asked to build a paper plane. The results showed clearly that volunteers in both the hugging and the self-hugging condition showed lower cortisol levels than those in the control condition.

2. Hugging duration is important for mood: Study out of London: 45 women hugged a confederate of the researcher for either one second, five seconds, or 10 seconds and reported how the hug felt. The results were clear: five-second and 10-second hugs both were rated as more pleasant than one-second hugs. Thus, the optimal hug should be at least five seconds long.

3. Hugs and health are related in older adults: York University in Toronto: Researchers on people over the ager of 65 found that those older adults that indicated that they had hugs available to them “some,” “most,” or even “all” of the time had a higher probability to also indicate better health than older people who reported to never have the opportunity to get hugged.

4. Cultural Factors Influence Hugs: Research out of Poland: The researchers analyzed data from over 14,000 individuals from 45 countries. There were large differences between countries, with - people in less conservative and less religious countries showing more emotional touch. - people in warmer countries showed more emotional touch, probably because living in a warmer country allowed for more possibilities to meet other people because of a greater number of outdoor activities. - Younger people showed more emotional touch than older people. - While men and women hugged and kissed their partners similarly often, women hugged friends and children more often than men. - liberal people showed more emotional touch than conservative people.

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