Are people that hug more also happier? Logically you would say yes, but is it actually true? Well you don’t have to go about interviewing people or forcing them to hug in your search for happiness. A new 2022 study set out to figure out how hugging may affect general life satisfaction and daily mood. They found out a few interesting things and it does seem that we should be cuddling a lot more.
Psychological well-being and hugging
Of course the effects of hugging have already been looked into by several studies, showing that the act can have a positive impact on physical health. The researchers of this new study noticed however, that scientific studies about the relationship between hugging and psychological well-being are rare. Of course they couldn’t leave it at that and decided to do some research of their own. In the study 94 adult voltunteers were asked to fill in a questionnaire about hugging, life satisfaction and mood every day for a week. They chose not to have the participants tested in a lab as they argued this way of testing would more realistically capture everyday behavior.
We like hugging in the weekends
Participants hugged about six times per day on average, but there was quite a difference between the volunteers. Where one participant hugged 150 times, some people didn’t hug at all. One of the findings from the study is that we hug more on the weekends and that Saturday is especially a good day to hug. During the study people embraced 10 times on Saturday and 9 on Sunday. The first three days of the week are apparently not very hug invoking as the least hugging occurred then (about 4 hugs). Thursday and Friday were a bit better with about 6 hugs. It seems the closer the participants got to the weekend the more they hugged.
Relationship between hugs and mood
Now for the important part, is there indeed a relationship between hugging and happiness? The researchers looked at the mood, feelings of loneliness, and personality of the participants and found that those who hugged generally had a more positive mood. Big huggers also reported feeling less lonely than people who hugged less.
Of course we shouldn’t forget that this doesn’t necessarily mean that hugging is the cause of a more positive mood. The study doesn’t show causality. People who are already happier might just hug more for example. But then again, it still doesn’t rule out that hugging might indeed make you happier. More research is needed to prove a causal relationship between the two.
Single? Better start hugging
Something else the study found is that singles benefit more from hugs than people in a relationship. For singles there was a strong and positive correlation between life satisfaction and hugging, where the researchers found only a weak association for people with a partner. One of the authors of the study proposes that couples might already experience a higher amount of positive touch, which might be the reason hugging didn’t add a lot of extra satisfaction for them.
Source: Psychology Today