Neuroscience Reveals That Hugs Are The Easy Ritual That Will Make You Happy, by Eric Barker
Eric Barker stashed this in Diabolical Plans For World Domination
Here’s what we learned about the power of touch:
- Affection makes you successful: Kisses before work can add 5 years to your life and 30% to your paycheck. (Kisses at work lead to lawsuits.)
- Hugs really do make you happy: 8 glasses of water a day doesn’t make you healthy; it only makes you pee more. But 8 hugs a day do make you happier. Smile more, pee less.
- Massage strengthens relationships: And they help prevent wrinkles. Botox is expensive. Massages are free.
Okay, that’s a lot of formal science about the most informal of subjects. But what happens if you listen to all these cold, clinical studies? You’ll be considered a warmer person. That’s nice, right?
No — it’s awesome. When people perceive you as warm they also see you as having a ton of other wonderful traits. But most of all, they trust you more.
The person described as warm was more often rated as generous, sociable, and humane, while the cold person was viewed as ungenerous, unsociable, and ruthless…perceiving someone as warm indicates a specific constellation of traits: helpfulness, friendliness, and, most important, trustworthiness.
I’d give you a hug right now if I could, but I can’t. So instead… I’ll give you homework:
Try that Penn State experiment yourself: give or get 5 hugs a day.
They can be from anyone. Can you do it for a month?
Remember, people reach for their phone 85 times a day. Maybe try reaching for a hug instead?
Research on hugs and marriage? Because in-home source. :)
So you're going to try the five hugs a day experiment?
Yes. :) Already exceeded the minimum today.
I wonder if there are benefits to exceeding the minimum.
Hugs Really Do Make You Happy
Researchers at Penn State told a bunch of students they had to give or get 5 hugs a day for a month.
Of course, college students are terrible at following instructions so they only ended up averaging 49 hugs over the four weeks. But it didn’t matter…
The hugging group (which partook in an average of forty-nine hugs over the course of the study) became much happier.
What’s the magic ingredient in hugs? That simple squeeze increases your oxytocin levels. Oxytocin tells your amygdala (the fear, anxiety, and aggression headquarters of your brain) to chill out.
Via The Upward Spiral:
A hug, especially a long one, releases a neurotransmitter and hormone oxytocin, which reduces the reactivity of the amygdala.
Want to take it to the next level? Get a massage. Now you don’t need me to tell you massage makes you feel better…
But did you know it helps your brain build good habits that can increase happiness down the line? That it reduces pain? That it reduces fatigue and improves sleep?
Via The Upward Spiral:
The results are fairly clear that massage boosts your serotonin by as much as 30 percent. Massage also decreases stress hormones and raises dopamine levels, which helps you create new good habits… Massage reduces pain because the oxytocin system activates painkilling endorphins. Massage also improves sleep and reduces fatigue by increasing serotonin and dopamine and decreasing the stress hormone cortisol.
(To learn the 8 things the happiest people do every day, click here.)
So you’re getting your recommended daily allowance of hugs. Awesome. But you really should get that massage as well — and get it from that special someone — because it does a lot more than just make you happier…