Stressed out? Maybe you need a hug.

Did you know that frequent hugs can help us beat stress?

University of Carolina researchers studied 59 women to see how their bodies would respond to hugs from their partners.

Participants reported how frequently they received hugs from their partners. Then, researchers measured oxytocin and blood pressure levels. The participants received a hug from their partner, and researchers measured oxytocin and blood pressure levels again.

What the researchers discovered was that the single hug didn’t seem to affect oxytocin or blood pressure levels. However, participants who reported receiving frequent hugs from their partners showed higher baseline levels of oxytocin and lower blood pressure levels.

Oxytocin is a hormone that, among other things, can lower blood pressure and heart rate, which can help us better deal with stress. As well, a lack of oxytocin may, according to some research, play a role in depression.

So, if you’re feeling stressed, maybe you need a hug from a loved one. While you’re at it, you might as well ask for several.