Published: Fri, October 05, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Hug really does make one feel better after an argument

Hug really does make one feel better after an argument

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.

More implicit shows of support, such as physical touch or doing someone a favor, might be better because they "make people feel like they're cared about, that they have someone who's there for them, but that doesn't make any judgments", Murphy says.

When someone is upset, are you tempted to give them a hug?

The topic area has been given more attention as evidence suggests those who engage in more interpersonal touch (hugs, holding hands) are happier and healthier in all aspects of their lives.

Researchers have proposed that interpersonal touch benefits well-being by helping to buffer against the deleterious consequences of psychological stress, and touch might be a particularly effective buffer of interpersonal conflict. If that accumulates, it can put someone at risk psychiatric illnesses and suicide.

"The lack of specificity regarding from whom individuals received hugs also restricted our ability to identify whether hugs from specific types of social partners were more effective than those from others", Murphy wrote.

A new study, conducted by Michael Murphy of Carnegie Mellon University along with co-authors Denise Janicki-Deverts and Sheldon Cohen, analyzed the social interactions of more than 400 people over two weeks. They were asked about their social activities that day, their mood and whether they received a hug, among other questions.

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'Receiving a hug on the day of conflict was associated with improved concurrent negative and positive affect and improved next day negative affect compared to days when conflict occurred but no hug was received'.

'We hypothesized that individuals experiencing interpersonal conflicts would have greater negative and lesser positive affect on both the same day and the following day, ' Dr Murphy said.

The results from the huge community sample suggest that hugs can be used as a solution to decrease interpersonal distress for both men and women.

"This research is in its early stages".

A new study has confirmed what most of us already know - receiving a hug can help brighten a bad day.

'However, our study suggests that consensual hugs might be useful for showing support to somebody enduring relationship conflict'.

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