Virginia Satir, an American social worker and author who pioneered advances in family therapy, is credited with saying: “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
That’s a lot of hugs! But the interesting thing is, there is science to back it up. Turns out that Virginia knew what she was talking about.
A “good hug” (it has to last at least 20 seconds) is the fastest way to get oxytocin flowing in your body. Oxytocin is sometimes called “the love drug.” It helps calm your central nervous system. It also boosts endorphins leading to positive emotions. Improved oxytocin flow can lower your blood pressure, which helps when you’re anxious. It lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. And it increases your sense of social connectedness and belonging.
Research shows that couples that hug often are more likely to stay together. And some research indicates that hugs with their oxytocin boosting power can reduce pain. So, when your child is hurt (emotionally or physically), a hug is definitely a good idea.