We take many things in life for granted. But an unexpected event is enough and everything is different. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us this clearly. No one expected to have to limit physical contact. It could be endured for a while, but then even a simple gesture, like being able to hug someone, gained in importance and was missing all the more. And it’s no wonder, in addition to “communicative satisfaction”, hugging has a number of other benefits.
Recent new studies have set out to find out exactly what the relationship is between hugging, mood and a person’s overall life satisfaction. It has already been proven that hugging not only reduces stress, but also positively affects health in several ways, including lowering blood pressure.
The Hidden Power of the Human Hug, or Why We Miss It So Much
In the current study, published in the scientific journal Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, however, scientists wanted to find out what effect hugging has on general life satisfaction and everyday mood.
“My colleagues and I used a research method called Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA for short) on 94 adult volunteers. EMA means that volunteers were not invited to a laboratory and tested directly, as is customary in similar studies. Instead, we used a short online questionnaire where they listed current data on hugging, mood and life satisfaction for a week. In our opinion, this method captures everyday behavior more realistically compared to the aforementioned laboratory surveys, where people are often placed in artificially induced situations,” Sebastian Ocklenburg, Professor of Research Methods in Psychology at the Department of Psychology at the private university MSH Medical School in Hamburg, Germany, tells Psychology Today .
Their scientific team made several (un)surprising findings.
Hug Day is Saturday
On average, study participants hugged about six times a day, but there were significant differences between individuals. While some did not hug anyone during the period under review, the clear winner hugged 150 times according to their data.
Do you take advantage of the opportunity to hug your loved ones or friends when they get sick?
Of course, hugs are never enough.
From time to time yes, but it is not the rule.
No. Such gestures are not important to me.
A total of 12 readers voted.
According to the scientists, it is also statistically interesting how individual days affected the number of hugs. Most of them took place on Saturday (10), followed by Sunday (9). The least was on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (only 4), while as the weekend approached, the frequency on Thursday and Friday (6) slightly increased again.
Magic number 4
The research team also looked at how many people the participants hugged. A high number can be achieved logically either by hugging one person all the time, or by hugging someone else each time. And it was this data that interested the scientist. On average, he settled on the value of 4 people.
The most “individuals” were hugged again on Saturday, when we logically have the most time to meet with family or friends, and hugging is therefore part of the day.
Hugging, holding hands and other expressions of love benefit the relationship and the children
Relationships and sex
The more hugs, the better the mood
Experts also found that people who hugged more had a better mood and also felt less lonely. Various personality traits, especially neuroticism, had an influence on this.
Simply put – people with low emotional lability tendencies (less neurotic) hugged more. They also allow themselves to be hugged more often.
More positive for singles than couples
According to Ocklenburg, one of the most interesting results came from an analysis that took into account the partnership relationship. As for people currently assigned, no significant association was found between hugging and overall life satisfaction. For singles, on the other hand, such a relationship was clearly visible.
According to Ocklenburg, a simple explanation is offered – people in a couple generally have more physical closeness and positive touch, so the extra hug may not seem so significant to them.