Why you should hug longer

Feb 18, 2014, 09:54 IST | The GUIDE Team

Having problems with your partner? Perhaps, hugging your partner for 20 seconds, might be the simplest answer

Research has revealed that when a hug lasts 20 seconds, it has a therapeutic effect on the body and mind. Really? Well, a sincere hug (lasting for at least 20 seconds) produces a neuro-chemical called Oxytocin, also called the love hormone.

Psychiatric counselor Dr Rukshana Ayaaz says that oxytocin has several positive effects in our body and mind. “It makes us feel safe, relaxes and calms our fears and anxiety. But for this to happen, a hug has to last long enough to cause a release of the hormones,” she says.

This calming effect takes place each time when we have a person in our arms — be it our partner, or a child, or a pet or while dancing with our partner. It also takes place when you are closer to a person or just holding the shoulders of
a friend.

Unfortunately, most of our hugs last for a few seconds (the average length of a hug is three seconds), and done mostly as a social act, which takes away its therapeutic effect. “Besides, till now, a hug is not endeared publicly in India. It’s thought of as a western concept,” shares Dr Ayaaz. Perhaps it’s time to change that. Hugs, anyone!

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