Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Hugging can improve your mood after a fight, reduce mental stress

Credit Pixabay Credit Pixabay
Samantha Long | 05 October, 2018, 23:03

More implicit shows of support, such as physical touch or doing someone a favor, might be better because they "make people feel like they're cared about, that they have someone who's there for them, but that doesn't make any judgments", Murphy says. Also like contact with relatives or friends were able to raise the mood and on the day following conflict.

The study from the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, published in journal PLOS ONE, worked with 400 people over two weeks.

He said, "Interpersonal touch can be defined as touch behaviours for example hugging and holding hands that are used to communicate affection or are generally thought to indicate affection".

Those engaging in more frequent interpersonal touch have been found to enjoy better physical and psychological health as well as improved relationships. If that accumulates, it can put someone at risk psychiatric illnesses and suicide.

According to new research, receiving hugs - a common support behavior that individuals engage in with a wide range of social partners - may buffer against deleterious changes in mood associated with interpersonal conflict. There was a clear correlation between hugs and improved mood. The more often people hugged, the less likely they were to get sick, even among individuals who frequently had tense interactions.

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"Results indicated that there was an interaction between hug receipt and conflict exposure such that receiving a hug was associated with a smaller conflict-related decrease in positive affect and a smaller conflict-related increase in negative affect when assessed concurrently", the study reads.

In the Carnegie Mellon study, both men and women benefited equally from hugs.

While more research is needed to determine possible mechanisms, the findings from the large community sample suggest that hugs may be a simple yet effective method of providing support to both men and women experiencing interpersonal distress.

"This research is in its early stages", Murphy adds. Each person was asked about their mood, whether they had experienced conflict and if they had received a hug that day, among other questions.

In the meantime, they say consensual hugs can help show support to someone under stress.

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