According to a scientific study, the socially acceptable length of a hug is 3 seconds. That fits neatly into my rule of three category, but there is more to the story.
A hug should really be about 20 seconds, because that is how long it takes our bodies to release oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that relaxes us and lowers anxiety by effectively reducing the stress hormone norepinephrine.
Ideally, we should be getting or giving 8-12 hugs per day. This approach can reduce pain, boost your immune system, and lower blood pressure. By being more generous and consistent with you hugs, you can improve your and your loved one’s health.
If 8-12 hugs per day is just not feasible for you, no worries. You can interweave your fingers, have palms facing you with thumbs up, and place your hands on your upper chest. This is the faith mudra, and this position can simulate a hug. Try it, you will feel your body immediately relax. You can adjust how much pressure you use to get the optimal benefit. This is a great self soothing technique for adults and children.