The 7-second hug

friends hugging

One of the ways my husband and I found our way back to a closer, more intimate connection after years of marriage, parenting and incompatible work schedules was the 7-second hug. It began as a joke.

I had heard that studies have shown that if you hug someone for seven seconds or more, your brain releases oxytocin – the love hormone that increases your levels of trust and calms your nervous system. Doctors even recommend eight hugs a day as a way of building oxytocin levels. So we began a joking ritual of counting for seven seconds when we hugged. Despite the tongue-in-cheek approach, our sense of trust and connection did grow. Of course this wasn’t the only way but it sure helped.

Have you ever been given a hug by someone who holds on and doesn’t let go and you wonder what to do? These hugs are especially common in the hippy world. Well, next time you are caught in one of these bear hugs, instead of wandering when it’s going to end or how to get out of it without offending, lean into it and feel some gratitude for the free boost in your oxytocin.


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