(NEWS10) — While it may seem like a myth, something as simple as a 10-second hug can help you stay healthy, a study finds.

Hugging for at least 10 seconds at a time releases oxytocin, a hormone which helps your body fight infections, boost your immune system and eases depression.

Until recently, oxytocin was thought to only be a hormone released during childbirth and through breast feeding. But research finds it is connected to physical contact, like hugging and cuddling, as well.

Oxytocin is known to reduce stress levels and to produce a calming effect.

Some other benefits to including hugs as a regular habit throughout your day include:

  • Increased patience levels
  • Activation of the Plexus Chakra which regulates the body’s production of white blood cells
  • Increased levels of non-verbal communication and self-esteem

As we observe National Hugging Day, we’ll leave you with this famous quote by psychotherapist Virginia Satir.

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

Psychotherapist Virginia Satir