Stuff To Blow Your Mind, one of my favorite podcasts, recently had a show about hugging, Hug It Out. I learned the average length of an American hug is three seconds.
The therapeutic length of a hug? Thirty seconds. Thirty seconds. That's eternity if you're not used to it.
But all kinds of positive biochemical things happen if people hug for thirty seconds. Cortisol, the stress hormone, goes down, and oxytocin, the bonding hormone, floods our brains. We feel connection, trust, contentment. Our blood pressure goes down.
However, I'm a specialist in meaningless, bond-less hugs, teepee hugs, where I brush collarbones momentarily with my intended hug recipient. Sometimes I'm nervous that I went in for a hug at all. Hugs are stressful and uncertain to me, and I have never gone up to someone with my arms wide open, like a hungry bear in Yellowstone, and said, "Get In Here."
But studies say we all should.