London - Men enjoy a hug as much as women do, according to new research.

A detailed study found far from being macho characters who hide their feelings, most men are now happy to admit they frequently need a cuddle amid their busy lifestyles and hectic work schedules.

Other things which men now turn to in their hour of need are music, fresh air and a get-together with friends.

As well as also indulging in the above, women also admitted they reach for a cup of tea when they are glum, while chatting to a friend on the phone, and watching their favourite TV programme also featured highly.

Overall the figures show we are more likely to put the kettle on than opt for an alcoholic drink to cheer us up.

Psychologist Donna Dawson, said: “Little things mean a lot in life, and many of them are free: walking outdoors or listening to our favourite music both work by calming us through using our senses of sight, sound, smell and taste. And heightening our senses can, in turn, lift our spirits.

“As ‘touch’ is the most powerful sense of them all, this explains why a hug is the number one ‘mood changer’.

“When the skin is rubbed, it produces hormones and enzymes that boost the immune system and increase feelings of well-being. Women’s brains are naturally more ‘wired’ to be receptive to touch – which is why they find hugging easier to do than men.”

Top of the list of little things that mean a lot was a hug, with 55 percent of people saying it was their No 1 mood improver.

Other things to make the top 10 included spending one-on-one time with a partner, comfort food and a call or text from a relative.

Of the things that didn’t make the top 10, alcohol came in at 13th place.

The traditional hot bath took 15th place and, despite being known to physiologically improve well-being, exercise was down in 16th place in the study.

The study by AXA also examined the people we turn to on bad days, with 41 percent of people saying their other half provides the most meaningful support. However, men find their partner slightly more supportive than women do, with 45 percent of men versus 39 percent of women stating they are their ultimate cheer-giver.

Next on the list came “a best friend”, with 10 percent of men and 16 percent of women stating that they are their first choice of support. Pets are fifth on the list, followed by mothers. Fathers came low down on the list.

– Daily Mail