Want to give your child or spouse a boost today? How about a good, long hug. Research shows that if we hold a hug for at least six seconds, we optimize the flow of mood-boosting chemicals. According to studies, a family member is 47 percent more likely to feel close to a family member who often expresses affection than to one who rarely does. Also, frequent huggers have lower blood pressure and higher levels of oxytocin, a chemical that promotes bonding.