The Power of the Hug

May 28th, 2011

the power of the hug

Are you a hugger?  Do you like hugs?  It seems to me that there isn’t much of a grey area when it comes to hugs, either you like them or they make you uncomfortable.  Well, for anyone that knows me, I’m a hugger.  I love giving hugs and love receiving them.  Interestingly enough I didn’t grow up in a family of huggers.  Certainly there was affection in our family but it wasn’t until a wonderful friend of mine whom I’m blessed to say I’ve been a friend with more than 20 years, showed me how wonderful a hug could be.  If you believe we learn from observation then I consider myself lucky that my eyes were open all those years ago and I decided this practice of hugging was worth making a habit of.

Hugs can mean a lot of different things.  It’s understandably and without question more than a handshake but it seems to me that if after meeting someone where you’ve made a connection; found a level of familiarity that a hug can be a great expression of like.  A hug between someone you know more intimately can certainly be an expression of closeness, deep friendship and love and there is no question that in times of grief and sorrow, in the moments of our life that are filled with uncertainty; when there are no words to express our support to another that a heart felt hug can make you feel loved, supported and safe.  This is the hug that says; I won’t let go until you tell me to.

Hugging doesn’t come without its health benefits either.  Studies have shown that a hug makes us feel more connected, improves our self-esteem, increases the levels of oxytocin, reduces blood pressure, can lower the risks of heart disease and reduces cortisol levels in the body.  For anyone that practices yoga, there are a number of poses that place you into a position of hugging yourself there by allowing for compression on your organs and assisting the body with detoxifying.  Now this is a health prescription I can live with!

So what are you waiting for?  Grab your partner, friend or family member and give them a hug today!  I say; if you’re not a hugger to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and go for it, hug someone!  I assure you the receiving person will undoubtedly smile and hug you back.  For those of us who have experienced the loss of someone we love we know only to well that there will come a time when the opportunity won’t exist to share a hug and I know I would give anything for just one more hug with my mom.

As final food for thought, some say and believe:

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

Now, I can’t tell you what the right number of hugs is for you but I can tell you that my little piece of the world is a better and brighter place with every hug I engage with.  So take a risk, come play on the dark side and find out for yourself just how bright it can be.  The bottom line is that hugs feel good!

Here’s to making the world a better place one hug at a time.

Susan

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