On a day when the world might need a good hug, research reveals that we simply aren’t getting enough…

Hugs release oxytocin – a chemical which can make us happy – yet a third of us receive no hugs at all 3.2m Brits believe hugging relieves stress and helps them relax and want 6 a day… but have to settle for 2 Family hugs are the tops – with partners, sons/daughters and mum making the top 5 favourite huggers. Dogs awarded title of ‘most huggable’ followed by cat, rabbits, horses and… elephants!

In pursuit of happiness, people traverse the globe, explore the world’s wonders, splash out millions on material goods, yet often still carry that empty feeling. If only the happiness chemical, oxytocin, could be homegrown – well it can!

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According to research, a hug lasting seven seconds or longer can work the magic of releasing the happiness hormone, perking us up from gloomy blues. That’s great news for Brits – to mark National Hugging Day (21 January), and inspired by the huge positive response to the ‘Duggee Hug’ featured in the BAFTA award-winning CBeebies’ show Hey Duggee, BBC Worldwide commissioned research* which reveals that the average hug lasts 7.7 seconds. However, Brits are in desperate need of more hugs.

The poll shows that we would like an average of nearly six hugs a day, with those in the Midlands being the most huggable – demanding a whopping 12 hugs a day! Unfortunately we fall short, with Brits only getting an average of two hugs a day, and 33% (17.2m) not receiving any hugs at all.

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As a nation of pet lovers, 9% of Brits even believe that their cats and dogs give better hugs than their male friends and colleagues! Dogs were deemed the most huggable pet (44%) with cats in second place (19%) and rabbits hopping into third (7%).

If you’re single, fret not since female friends (9%) and mums (7%) are not too far behind in giving good hugs. Men, unfortunately lag behind in this category as well and lose the battle to pets again with dogs and cats found to give better hugs than male friends and colleagues.

You would think with a shortfall in hugs, we would take as many as we can get! Women think otherwise with stats revealing that 48% of women are more likely to avoid hugs than their male friends, and in total, 21.5m Brits have dodged a hug at some point in their life.

WHAT THE EXPERT THINKS…

Doctor of Happiness and Hugging Expert, Andy Cope, has plenty to say about the humble hug, “Hugging stimulates the production of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that acts on the brain’s emotional centre. It promotes feelings of contentment and reduces anxiety and stress as well as promoting feelings of devotion, trust and bonding. But there’s more. A mum‘s touch even seems to mitigate pain – remember when you were a child and you fell down and grazed your knee? A loving hug made it all go away.

“So Start Hugging Today”