Have a hug, trust me

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I heard today that hugs over twenty seconds create more trust. A little research shows that oxytocin [ok-si-toh-suhn] is at the heart of this thinking – a neurotransmitter in the brain expressed in women during labor, breastfeeding and when males or females orgasm.

Zack Lynch, someone who seems to be well regarded, highlights the research of Paul Zak and Ahlam Fakhar which shows that increases in oxytocin and estrogen affects country wide levels of trust. Lynch summarizes the findings ending with “trusting people are happier.” Dr. John Schinnerer, added that Shelly Taylor’s research links oxytocin as the foundation for the difference in innate reaction to fear when comparing males and females. Taylor et al. conclude:

It is now well-established that both animals and humans show health benefits from social contact (e.g., House, Umberson, & Landis, 1988). Positive physical contact in the form of touching, hugging, cuddling, and the like is known to release oxytocin which, in turn, has anti-stress properties. The present analysis suggests some mechanisms whereby social support may provide health protection … accompanying relaxation. As such, oxytocin may confer health benefits (cf. Ryff & Singer, 1998).

Dr. Schinnerer gives us the winning quote:

…oxytocin can be produced via hugs longer than 20 seconds which creates more trust in women.

Simple lesson of the day, hug more and hug longer.

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