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Are you getting enough hugs a day? According to American psychologist and educator Virginia Satir, we need four hugs a day for survival, eight a day for maintenance, and twelve a day for growth.

Hugging triggers the release of oxytocin, which is important in human social behavior, bonding, and sexual response, among others. It promotes the feeling of contentment, calm and security, and also reduces anxiety. It is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone.” The inability to secrete oxytocin is linked to sociopathy, narcissism, and manipulativeness.

In 1983, Kathleen Keating published the book, Hug Therapy, which sent the message about the healing power of touch. She argued that hugging was important for both our physical and emotional well-being.

Watch this lovely video from Italy showing people giving free hugs:

Go hug your loved ones. It’s Valentine’s Day, after all.