I first heard about the 20-second hug through Sadie Lincoln, founder and CEO of barre3. With two kids, a husband of 16 years, and a booming business to run, Sadie's one of the busiest ladies in wellness. As someone who runs her company alongside her husband, they're always "checking boxes together," as she explained. It's super easy for any conversation to turn into a work one, which can put out even the fieriest of flames in a hot second.
One way they've been able to keep themselves individually sane and simultaneously reconnect every day is by doing the 20-second hug. Every morning before work, they hug for a full 20 seconds. "I can't even believe its effects, and now we both crave it. It's so nourishing. I can feel his heartbeat; we both calm the eff down when we slow down and realize what matters. We are here to witness life together." Another reason she loves it? They do it out in the open on purpose, so the kids see it, setting an excellent example of how loving home life can be.
Intrigued after talking to Sadie about this elongated hug, I started doing some digging, and scientifically, she's onto something. Research shows1 that when people who live together had warm physical interactions, blood pressure was lower when asked to do a stressful task. In the same vein, additional literature2 shows that better relationship quality also correlates to lower blood pressure, furthering the idea that yes, it's important to make efforts to keep our relationships thriving. Yet another study3 shows that feeling supported by your partner generally keeps oxytocin levels—the "bonding" hormone that makes us feel less depressed and anxious—higher, better equipping us for life outside the home.
Something so simple and elegant is just another reminder that Mother Nature has given us (almost) all we need to feel slightly more balance in our lives. We often make it so much more complicated than it needs to be! No excuses: Everyone has at least 20 seconds.
Lindsay Kellner is a freelance writer, editor and content strategist based out of Brooklyn, NY. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and psychology at New York University and earned a 200-hour yoga certification from Sky Ting. She is the co-author of “The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide to Ancient Self Care,” along with mbg’s Sustainability Editor, Emma Loewe.