On YouTube Charlotte Diamond sings that “four hugs a day – that’s the minimum” is what we need (don’t watch this straight after breakfast – Ed). And she tells us how to do it and whom to hug. Neuro-economist Paul Zac prescribes eight hugs. I don’t know how either measures the effect, but there does seem to be evidence that hugs, or at least warm physical touches, benefit our mental and physical health.
Our fellow primates spend a large amount of their time on social grooming, which has been shown to be essential for group co-operation. A research study concluded that the more a basketball team high-fives, the better their performance. And we know that it is easier for people who are deaf or blind from birth to live a happy life than it is for those who lack the sense of touch. A touch, or a hug, makes all the difference when you are low, and it celebrates your highs.