by Marshaneil Soumi D’ Rozario | 29TH OCTOBER, 2018
A new research suggests that consensual hugs might be a simple yet effective way to provide support to both women and men enduring relationship conflict. The study was published on October 3rd in the journal PLOS ONE. Assessing more than 400 adults, scientists found that getting a hug on the day of a conflict was linked to smaller drops in positive emotions and a smaller rise in negative ones. The feel-good effects also appeared to linger into the following day. A study authored by Michael Murphy, a postdoctoral research associate in psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh perceives the findings consistent with multiple emerging lines of evidence demonstrating the ability of touch behaviors within close relationships to reduce perceptions of threat and increase feelings of security and well-being.
Dr. Vasanth, the Psychiatrist, Fortis Malar Hospital, shares his valuable opinion about the above research. In his opinion, “The recent study shows a positive impact of the argument rather than a negative one. On similar terms, whenever we say hugs, it is platonic in nature based on friendship and human contact. Human touch is considered to be good. For a newborn baby, we ask the mother to cocoon herself around her child, so that the mother’s touch or the skin contact facilitates the bonding between the mother and the baby. There is a feeling of security or peace within you. As we age, mature, and physically evolve, the same feeling still lingers. When we have a warm hug or human touch it increases the positivity. It should be noted that this hug should be mutual and not forced.”
Anxiety or depression is a disorder per se. When it is of a serious nature, unwarranted mediation and support are given. Social support is an important domain which is required to recover from any mental health. Mental health recovery could be done by the reduction of biological symptoms as well as social rehabilitation, occupational and functional areas. Family and social support are required. Hug or human touch is a positive emotion. It portrays a sense of involvement and a sense of inclusiveness. For a mental health patient, this will help in the path of recovery.
Physical touch is a primal communication method. Physical touch triggers a positive vibe and is realized by our brain to reciprocate the gesture. The cell in our brain identifies the gesture and gives a feedback. Non-verbal communication like a hug, or pat on the back, gives instant confidence. The cells are responsible for understanding the non-verbal communication of pain or sadness. It is not orally expressed. Hugs can increase confidence in people and reduce anxiety
While most prior research has focused on the role of touch in romantic relationships, Murphy and his team concentrated on consensual and not sexual hugging. More than 400 women and men were interviewed each night for 14 consecutive days about their conflicts, hugs received, and positive and negative feelings. The researchers found no difference in the stress-reducing effects of hugs in women and men. Also, no difference was noted between those who were married or in a committed relationship, and those who were not.
Dr. Vasanth, Psychiatrist, Fortis Malar Hospital, further adds that if an argument ends in a hug, it has a positive recall value. In a relationship when there are issues or conflict arising, a mutual hug is the best form of non-verbal gesture to show his or her support. Even in a strained relationship, apart from cutting out on emotions, a hug or a human touch will instill security among both, and strengthen the bond. In this whole process, it should be mutual consensual hug rather than forced, which can amount to an assault.
A 2015 Carnegie Mellon study found that those who were hugged more had a lower risk of catching colds after being exposed to the virus, Murphy noted. And other physically beneficial effects of hugs have been documented, said Harris Stratyner, a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Hugging can increase natural levels of oxytocin, a feel-good chemical that helps mothers and babies bond. This bond or attachment increases the breast milk secretion of mothers. It is believed that it gives an instant confidence, warmth and relieves the child from crying, fear, and anxiety.
Thus, it can be concluded that Hugs are transformational, and like music, they're universal. Consensual Hugs can soothe. A mutual hug transcends anger, anguish, and loss.
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