"Hugs are transformational", he added, "and like music, they're universal".
"Receiving a hug on the day of conflict was associated with improved concurrent negative and positive affect and improved next day negative affect compared to days when conflict occurred but no hug was received", said Dr Murphy.
"While this research is still in its preliminary stages, our study suggests that consensual hugs might be a simple yet effective way to provide support to both women and men enduring relationship conflict", Murphy added.
If you're looking for a quick pick-me-up, try a hug. The common gesture seems to increase positive emotions and reduce negative feelings on days when people have problems with their relationships.
The researchers interviewed 404 adult men and women every night for 14 consecutive days about their arguments, how they resolved them, and how they felt afterwards. The effects of hugs may have lingered too, as interviewees reported a continued attenuation of negative mood the next day.
That trend was true regardless of gender, age, race, marital status, overall number of social interactions and average mood. On one hand, studies have found that people who perceive their social networks to be loving and supportive tend to fare better under stress.
Of course, some people don't like to be hugged, and even for touchy-feely folks, responses likely vary depending on who the hug comes from.
Researchers say that more studies are needed to pinpoint exactly how hugs affect a person's mood, since this study didn't ask participants who they had conflicts with and who hugged them.
A new study has confirmed what most of us already know - receiving a hug can help brighten a bad day. The idea was to study the effects of physical touch in a generalized frame, since most studies have largely focused on the role of hugs in romantic relationships.
"Hugs, at least among close others, might be a simple, straightforward, effective way to show support to someone you care about who is experiencing conflict with a relationship in their life", Murphy concluded.
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