Hug Therapy? Gesture Is A Mood Enhancer

Hug Therapy? Gesture Is A Mood Enhancer

Hug Therapy? Gesture Is A Mood Enhancer

Researchers say that more studies are needed to pinpoint exactly how hugs affect a person's mood, since this study didn't ask participants who they had conflicts with and who hugged them.

Hugs, the researchers found, were associated with an uptick in positive mood markers and a reduction in negative ones; the opposite was true of relationship conflict.

'Enthusiasm for this topic is bolstered by multiple lines of converging evidence suggesting that individuals who engage more frequently in interpersonal touch enjoy better physical, psychological, and relational health.

Severe or repeated distress from arguments can build up feelings of anxiety, paranoia, loneliness, and depression.

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Previously, psychologists have proposed that interpersonal touch may protect people from the consequences of psychological stress, particularly stress from interpersonal conflict.

Carnegie Mellon University researchers spent a fortnight interviewing 400 adult men and women about their conflicts, hugs received, and positive and negative moods.

In the new study, Murphy and colleagues focused on hugs - a relatively common support behavior that individuals engage in with a wide range of social partners.

The findings showed a person would experience more positive feelings on the days when they received a hug, even if they had been in a fight or had some kind of argument on that day.

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Murphy and Stratyner agreed that people can likely tell the difference between a heartfelt hug and a more perfunctory one.

"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", according to the study.

"Our results are consistent with the conclusion that both men and women may benefit equally from being hugged on days when conflict occurs", Michael Murphy said adding. We still have questions about when, how, and for whom hugs are most helpful.

"Hugs, at least among close others, might be a simple, straightforward, effective way to show support to someone you care about who is experiencing conflict with a relationship in their life", Murphy says.

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