Study finds hugging could be as good for you as it feels

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A new study concludes there is a link between emotional state and hugs. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that hugging made people feel better after a conflict. Also, there didn't need to be a romantic link between the huggers, the study said. Women reported more hugs than men, but the positive effects were seen in both. "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.

Both women and men were more positive, less stressed when hugged after a conflict

Maybe Freddie Freeman is on to something.

The Braves first baseman is a well-known hugger, and a new study concludes those hugs could have health benefits.

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In a paper published this week in PLOS One, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University concluded that a hug can have a positive effect on mood and help lower stress after a conflict.

The study talked to 404 people every night over a two-week period. Participants were asked if they experienced conflict, if they received a hug and what their mood was, among other things.

People who faced conflict and got a hug on the same day said they experienced an increase in positive feelings and a decrease in negative ones.

"A very simple, straightforward behavior — hugging — might be an effective way of supporting both men and women who are experiencing conflict in their relationships," explains co-author Michael Murphy, a post-doctoral researcher in Carnegie Mellon University's Laboratory for the Study of Stress, Immunity and Disease.

The tendency to feel better held true regardless of age, gender, marital status or number of hugs a person received.

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Murphy conceded more research needs to be done, especially to look at the relationship between hugger and hug recipient.

"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," he wrote.

In 2015, a similar study at Carnegie Mellon concluded that "people who experience high levels of social support and frequent hugs were protected from a higher risk of getting sick when under stress."

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“In times of stress and conflict, that’s when support from people in your life is important,” said psychologist Sheldon Cohen, who led the 2015 study. “It may make less difference in other times in your life.”

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