Hug your way to happiness!
Sound good? Well you'll be even more pleased to read that there's some good research supporting the notion that hugging, massage and even watching soppy movies will boost specific hormones that will make you feel happier!
Check out this article from the Sydney Morning Herald...
The American academic Paul Zak is renowned among his colleagues for two things he does to people disconcertingly soon after meeting them. The first is hugging: seeing me approach across the library of his club, in midtown Manhattan, he springs to his feet, ignoring my outstretched hand, and enfolds me in his arms. The second is sticking needles in their arms to draw blood.
I escape our encounter unpunctured, but plenty of people don't: Zak's work, which he refers to as ''vampire studies'', has involved extracting blood from a bride and groom on their wedding day; from people who have just had massages, or been dancing; from Quakers, before and after their silent worship; and from tribal warriors in Papua New Guinea as they prepare for traditional rituals.
Human beings are almost the only animals who regularly want to be around strange members of our species.
That all these people submit so willingly to his needle may have something to do with the fact that he is charm personified. A square-jawed, 50-year-old Californian with good hair, a sunny disposition and a media-friendly nickname (''Dr Love''), Zak gives every impression of having been constructed in a laboratory charged with creating the ideal author of a new buzz book - The Moral Molecule.
What drives Zak's hunger for human blood is his interest in the hormone oxytocin, about which he has become one of the world's most prominent experts. Oxytocin, long known as a female reproductive hormone - it plays a central role in childbirth and breastfeeding - emerges from Zak's research as something much more all-embracing: the ''moral molecule'' behind all human virtue, trust, affection and love, ''a social glue'', as he puts it, ''that keeps society together''. The subtitle of his book, ''The new science of what makes us good or evil'', gives a sense of the scale of his ambition, which involves nothing less than explaining whole swaths of philosophical and religious questions by reference to a single chemical in the bloodstream...
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