Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have found, in a study, that hugs might be able to prevent illness caused by the stress that results from conflicts. The study found that hugs had a positive impact on the mental well-being of a person, which assists their immune system and helps their body’s capacity to ward off sickness.
The study, which was headed by Professor Sheldon Cohen, showed that hugging is actually a type of social support beneficial in alleviating stress. Often, stress helps to weekend the immune system but if there is good social support, in this situation from hugging, people’s immune systems will receive a boost if they have a good degree of social support and receive lots of hugs. The study found that people who are hugged regularly have a better capacity to ward off and deal with illnesses related to conflicts than adults who don’t receive a lot of social support or aren’t hugged on a daily basis.
After questionnaires were filled out and phone interviews were conducted every evening for two weeks, 404 healthy adults were placed in contact with the common cold and they were quarantined and monitored. The adults who believed they had lots of social support and were hugged regularly were less likely to get ill than people who didn’t have the same degree of support. Of those who did get the cold, those who felt they had a good support system and were hugged more regularly had symptoms that weren’t quite as severe as their counterparts.
The goal of the study was to determine how hugging assisted people in dealing with the stress caused by conflicts, but it also showed that those who aren’t facing conflicts still do better when they are hugged regularly.
In other words, if you aren’t getting hugged on a daily basis, you might want to get started. Not only does it feel good, but it could also prevent you from getting sick.