Hug It Out: How Hugs Are Actually Good For You

“I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words.” — Ann Hood

Usually I don’t like people I don’t know getting close or touching me. I suck it up and move on with my life because I can’t just avoid people, but I really prefer that my personal bubble be respected if at all possible. I know i’m not alone in feeling this way, so I wanted to reach out to others who may feel the same way I do.

Apparently, hugging can actually be good for you!

A few years ago, campaigns offering “FREE HUGS” kept popping up all over the place…and maybe they were really onto something. Even though people, as a whole, are hesitant to hug someone they don’t know well, even those hugs can be beneficial to the individual’s well-being.

Want to know just how good for you they are? Here are some facts:

1. Hugs are a real stress-reliever. When you hug, you both benefit from lowering of cortisol and norepinephrine literally causing your stress levels to lower.

2. A hug of at least 20 seconds is around the ideal length to release oxytocin. Feeling down? Try a hug!

3. Smiling while you give a hug can actually put the person you are hugging at ease. A smile implies that you are willingly offering a hug which can be comforting to whoever you are hugging.

4. When you hug frequently, you strengthen your relationships. Research has estimated that the ideal number of hugs is 12 each and every day.

The jury’s still out on whether puppy hugs have the same positive effects, but my guess is they’re even better.

(This post originally appeared on