how many hugs a day

How Many Hugs Do We Need a Day? You’ll be surprised!

Last Updated on August 26, 2021.

Did you know that hugs are essential for human growth and development? Have you ever wondered how many hugs we need a day? Find out why, and exactly how many hugs you need for survival and growth!

Author and family therapist Virginia Satir famously said “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

Why do we need hugs?

Hugs, and physical touch in general, is a powerful communication tool. Long before humans learn to speak, body language and physical touch are our methods of communication. 

Hugs convey feelings of love and connection, as well as important relationship characteristics such as safety and trust. Hugs are a physical manifestation of community.

How long is a healthy hug?

As long as a hug is consensual, there’s no such thing as an “unhealthy” hug. But a hug lasting 20 seconds or longer offers brain-boosting benefits. And there’s no maximum length to a healthy hug! Cuddling might be considered a long hug, and it can last for hours! 

What happens when you hug someone for 20 seconds?

Something very special happens when you hug someone for 20 seconds: your body releases the “feel-good” bonding chemicals oxytocin and dopamine. It creates a chemical bond or connection between huggers. 

A deep, full 20-second hug encourages people to slow down and relish the moment. People get into a hurry, and a solid 20-second hug is a wonderful stress-relieving pause that has a long list of benefits. 

How many hugs do I need today?

You might be asking, how do I know how many hugs I need today? The answer is as many as you can get. The physical connection between loved ones is an extremely valuable tool for health, well-being, and growth. 

RELATED: Surprising ways you’re destroying your child’s self-esteem

Benefits of Hugs

Here are the surprising science-backed benefits and fun facts about hugging for 20 seconds. 

  1. Hugs promote a sense of safety and trust, which can help encourage open and honest communication
  2. Oxytocin and dopamine released during a hug can help heal negative emotions such as loneliness, isolation, and anger.
  3. Hugs build up your immune system! The physical pressure on the chest and emotional charge stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates the body’s production of white blood cells.
  4. Hugging boosts self-confidence and self-esteem. The feeling of love makes us feel better about ourselves, and promotes a feeling of connection and happiness.
  5. Hugs are relaxing. They help release muscle tension throughout the body.
  6. Some people experience pain relief because hugging increases the circulation into your soft tissue.
  7. Some studies have connected hugs to lower anxiety, thanks to the release of oxytocin.
  8. Hugs are good for heart health! Hugging has been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve heart rate.
  9. Hugs encourage mindfulness, which improves happiness. 
  10. Plenty of hugs lead to better sleep
  11. Hugs also promote a person’s sense of empathy.

What You Should Do Next…

1. Snag Our Connected Parent Challenge

Are you ready for more activities to build a rock-solid bond with your kids? Try our Connected Parent Challenge! It’s 15 Days of 15 Minute activities that are sure to improve your connection, diminish bad behavior, and create lasting memories. Plus, I’ll deliver more amazing parenting strategies to your inbox weekly (don’t worry, unsubscribe any time!).

2. Join Our Free Online Community

Connect with like-minded moms (and dads!) in our free online community. You’ll find a plethora of resources to help you through your parenting challenges. Plus, you’ll find me there! And I’d love to connect.

3. Take a Free 60-Minute Parenting Webinar

Do you need actionable strategies right now? Register for this free 60-minute webinar titled How to Get Kids to Listen, Without Nagging, Yelling or Losing Control. You’ll walk away with parent-tested tactics to get your kids to listen starting today.

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