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Let’s Hug It Out: Men Who Hug Are Happier and Healthier

What’s a quick and easy way for men to improve their health and happiness? Hug more! Almost 60,000 people took part in the Wellness Score during the official 2011 test period, and the results found that men who hug a lot are much happier and healthier.

When comparing New Zealand male’s Quiz score, those who do a fair bit of hugging scored above the national male average with a score of 63.9 whereas those who rarely hug scored well below the national average with a score of 54.9 (the national average is 60.4).

Whilst 37% of New Zealand men surveyed say they love to hug and hug a fair bit, 29% of our countrymen surveyed say they don’t hug much or rarely hug at all and twice as many of these men (29%) rate their own health and happiness as below par, compared to their more cuddle friendly counterparts (14%).

Dr Anthony Grant, Coaching Psychologist and one of the Nestlé Choose Wellness contributors, says men who hug are generally more socially interactive than those that don’t and the findings show that 31% of those who don’t hug as much felt alone and lonely, compared to 16% of those who hug a fair bit or love to hug . 74% of those who hug a fair bit or a lot felt connected to the people around them.

Males in high-earning households are huge huggers. 46% of those in households earning more than $100k per annum reported they love to hug and hug often, whilst among households earning less than $30k per year, only 29% enjoy a good squeeze.

Only 17% of men that aren’t married say they hug regularly.  In stark comparison, almost half (49%) of those men surveyed in defacto relationships have revealed they hug the most in New Zealand.  Close behind are married males (44% surveyed) who say they love to hug and hug a lot.

The survey results indicated that men in families with younger children are particularly cuddly, with 70% of those with children under 5 years and 61% of those with children aged between 5 and 11 years cuddling a fair bit or a lot.  In contrast, only 41% of men in families with kids aged between 12 and 17 indicate that the family cuddles a fair bit or a lot.

“Science tells us that touch is a very important influence on both physical and mental well-being.  Touch has been proved to lower blood pressure and heart rates, increase immune function and help with pain management.  Hugs release oxytocin, a hormone which makes people feel secure and brings down cortisol levels thereby reducing stress, anxiety and loneliness”, says Dr Grant.

While these results focus on men, hugging is important to men, women and children. If you’re after a quick boost to your mood, and an easy way to contribute to lowered blood pressure and healthy heart, how about hugging your loved ones when you next see them? It’ll brighten both of your days!

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