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How many hugs does a human need a day?

Hugs are an important part of life. They make us feel cared for, connected, and valued. But how many hugs do we actually need each day to feel happy and healthy?

Why Do Humans Need Hugs?

There are several reasons why hugs are beneficial for humans:

  • Hugs release oxytocin – Often called the “love hormone,” oxytocin is released when we hug. This hormone makes us feel happy, relaxed, and bonded to the person we are hugging.
  • Hugs reduce stress – Hugging lowers levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone,” and increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that improve mood.
  • Hugs boost the immune system – Studies show that hugging can protect you from getting sick by strengthening your immune system.
  • Hugs are comforting – The physical comfort of a hug causes feelings of warmth and safety that can ease worries, fears, and anxiety.

With all of these important benefits, it’s clear that hugs are an essential part of our physical and emotional health.

How Many Hugs Do Humans Need Per Day?

There is no definitive number of hugs a person needs each day. However, research provides some guidance:

  • At least 4 hugs per day – For basic emotional well-being, psychologists recommend getting at least 4 hugs per day from loved ones.
  • 8-12 hugs per day – Many experts suggest 8-12 daily hugs as an optimal amount for mood enhancement and stress reduction.
  • Up to 20 hugs per day – Getting up to 20 hugs every day has been found to correlate with less illness, lower depression, and greater happiness.

The table below summarizes the research on ideal daily hug amounts:

Daily Hug Recommendation Effects
4 hugs per day (minimum) Basic emotional well-being
8-12 hugs per day Mood enhancement, stress reduction
Up to 20 hugs per day Less illness, lower depression, greater happiness

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines. The optimal number of hugs can vary based on factors like age, culture, individual preferences, and specific circumstances.

How Long Should a Hug Last?

In addition to hug frequency, the duration of a hug also makes a difference. Here’s what research says about ideal hug length:

  • At least 20 seconds – For a hug to activate feelings of trust and affection, it should last for at least 20 seconds.
  • 30 seconds or more – A longer 30-second hug releases more oxytocin and provides greater calming effects.
  • Up to 1 minute – A hug of up to 60 seconds can bond relationships, reduce harmful physical effects of stress, and communicate deep positive emotions.

As a summary, here are the recommended durations for an effective hug:

Hug Duration Effects
At least 20 seconds Activates feelings of trust and affection
30 seconds or more Releases more oxytocin, provides calming effects
Up to 1 minute Bonds relationships, reduces stress, communicates positive emotions

Tips for Getting Your Daily Dose of Hugs

Given all the evidence for needing multiple quality hugs each day, here are some practical tips for getting enough:

  • Give hugs freely – Take every opportunity to hug loved ones without waiting for them to initiate.
  • Make hugs a habit – Incorporate hugs into your daily routine, like when you wake up, leave for work, and go to bed.
  • Hug pets – Furry friends are great for hugs too! Cuddle your cat, dog, or other pet daily.
  • Use hugging as support – Exchange hugs with trusted people when you feel worried, upset, or overwhelmed.
  • Don’t restrict hugs – Hug your kids, parents, friends, partner as much as feels right for your relationships.

Setting a daily “hug quota” as a goal can also help ensure you get enough. Spread those hugs throughout your day for maximum benefits.

Hug Etiquette

While hugs have many benefits, there are also some etiquette guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Get consent – Always ask for permission before hugging someone new.
  • Consider culture – Acceptable hugging behavior varies between cultures.
  • Respect wishes – Listen if someone says they don’t enjoy hugging.
  • Watch boundaries – Avoid hugging coworkers, acquaintances, etc. unless you know it’s welcome.

Following basic courtesies shows respect and ensures your hugs spread positivity.

The Takeaway

Abundant research confirms that hugs (at least 4 per day) strengthen relationships, boost mood, reduce stress, and improve health. Most experts recommend aiming for 8-12 daily hugs for optimal benefits. Make hugging a consistent part of your daily interactions with loved ones. And be sure to follow hug etiquette to avoid causing discomfort. With plenty of quality hugs, you can enjoy better emotional, mental, and physical well-being.