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Science Agrees: Hugs Really Do Make You Feel Better

Not a fan of a cuddle? This may change your mind.

Ari Gold may be right -- it may just be time to hug it out.

A new scientific study suggests that hugging actually helps people feel better.

The study from the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, published in journal PLOS ONE, worked with 400 people over two weeks.  And what it found was  -- well, kind of cute --  a link between emotional states, conflicts and the number of hugs a person gave or received.

Cute, right?

For the study, co-author Michael Murphy, a post-doctoral researcher in Carnegie Mellon University’s Laboratory for the Study of Stress, Immunity and Disease, and his colleagues, interviewed 404 adults by phone every night. Each person was asked about their mood, whether they had experienced conflict and if they had received a hug that day, among other questions.

And the results showed that the more hugs someone took part in, the better they felt, especially when associated with the typical ups and downs of social interactions.

"Our results are consistent with the conclusion that both men and women may benefit equally from being hugged on days when conflict occurs," the study reads.

Yes it seems a cuddle seemed to increase positive feelings and reduce negative ones on days when people experienced relationship problems. The researchers found that simple hugs were associated with an uptick in positive mood markers and a reduction in negative ones, while the opposite was true of relationship conflict. On days when both happened, people tended to report fewer negative feelings and more positive ones than on days when they experienced the conflict but got no hugs.

That's our kind of maths right there.

A very simple, straightforward behaviour -- hugging -- might be an effective way of supporting both men and women who are experiencing conflict in their relationships,” explained Murphy.

Even though the results are preliminary right now, Murphy said they provide a compelling reason to reach out and cuddle loved ones who may be struggling.

 “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 said.

Feature image: Getty