The first thing that comes to my mind when I see a friend or a relative upset is to embrace them and give them a hug. I never really thought why that’s my immediate instinct or as to why my intuition leads me to do it. That made me begin to wonder if hugs actually make the person feel better and give them happiness..
“Happiness” is known to come from the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin can be found in the central nervous systems, the gastrointestinal tract, and platelets of animals and humans. It is known to be the main contributor of feelings of well-being; therefore, it acquired the name “the happiness hormone.” People diagnosed with depression are known to have less levels of serotonin. My question is, do hugs really increase a person’s level of serotonin? Based on research, yes, hugging does increase one’s levels of serotonin.
A study found one-third of people receive no hugs on a daily basis and that 75% wanted more hugs. Many studies have been conducted that hugging increases self-esteem, enhances relationships, and decreases loneliness. So in conclusion, based on studies hugging can make you an all around better person; however, I believe there are many third variables in these studies that would change the overall outcome. Was the person being hugged a significant other, family member, close friend, acquaintance, or stranger to the hugger? I know personally that if a significant other, family member, or close friend would hug me when I wasn’t having a good day it would most definitely make me feel a little bit better at least for a few seconds, but if the person was an acquaintance or stranger I probably wouldn’t feel any better, but most likely a little freaked out. Therefore, many third variables come into play with the conclusion that hugs makes everyone feel better, but this will not stop me from hugging a family member or friend when they’re having a bad day.