A new study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University found that hugs can actually help ease the negative emotions associated with distress caused by conflicts, such as disagreements with a friend or partner or even getting turned down for a work promotion.
Researchers came to their conclusions after analyzing data they collected from 404 men and women they interviewed daily for a period of two weeks. Participants were between the ages of 21 and 55 and lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
According to the study, researchers would interview their subjects every night for the duration of the survey and have them describe all social activities, conflicts, resolutions and any changes in mood that they'd experienced throughout their days. Subjects were also asked whether or not they'd received any hugs.
Officials ultimately found that participants who received a hug on the same day that they'd reported having a conflict noted that they'd only experienced a small decrease in their positive mood, suggesting that because they'd hugged someone, their mood was shielded from completely being ruined.
Those that didn't receive a hug, on the other hand, reported an increase in experiencing a variety of negative emotions.
However, the study didn't come without a few snafus, according to its authors. Officials stated in their work that the research failed to indicate if the hug came before or after the subject experienced a conflict or whom they received the hug from.
"This research is in its early stages," Michael Murphy, lead author of the study, said in a statement. "We still have questions about when, how and for whom hugs are most helpful. However, our study suggests that consensual hugs might be useful for showing support to somebody enduring relationship conflict."
Though it's still unclear if that all-healing hug from mom is truly more powerful than a hug from the complete stranger giving out free hugs at the park, it seems any consensual hug really can raise your mood.