Why do hugs make us feel better and how many do we need?
Dr. Christine Carter, a sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, says one reason hugs ramp up our feel-good quotient is that they stimulate production of oxytocin, the neurotransmitter also known as the “bonding” hormone. Oxytocin contributes to our sense of connectedness and, as a result, our happiness.
Carter references the research of a Harvard-trained M.D. who suggests that giving 8 hugs per day allows you to reap the full benefits of oxytocin production.
To work 8 hugs into your daily schedule, Carter recommends deciding ahead of time how you’re going to get your hugs. Routine hugs can happen with:
- Your kids when they wake up and go to bed
- Your partner before leaving for work
- A friend at some point during the day
Most importantly, make sure your hugs linger! If you’re short on hugs today, check out this video.