Scientists have recently discovered a way to lower your blood pressure, increase your heart health, improve depression symptoms, assist your immune system, reduce stress, induce sleep, invigorate the body and rejuvenate the mind. Sounds like some sort of huge medical breakthrough, except this is completely free, has no adverse side effects, is calorie free, caffeine free, and gluten free, and is widely available already. Yes, a hug, the simple hug, a circle of joy started by two arms of love, is this medical miracle.
Studies show that loving contact early in the day can stay with as a sort of “buffer zone” all day, reinforcing previous studies that suggest we are hard wired to survive as social animals. Therapeutic touch decreases the stress hormone cortisol, which increases the “feel good” chemicals serotonin and dopamine.
A hug between friends is helpful, hugging a pet or a child is always beneficial, but the best of all is a hug from a spouse or partner. People tend to avoid hugging friends and coworkers due to social stigma and legal fears, this is very sad and should be stopped. French couples show affection in public three times more than their American cohorts, I think we all feel the same love, we should not be afraid to show it.
Almost everyone feels comfortable hugging a child, usually because there is a very small chance of rejection. In my family we will often jokingly ask “Do you need a hug?” to fix anger or sadness, my goal in my family is to stop asking and keep giving. My son is grown up and I hug him every time I see him, I miss those when he is far away.
Current recommendations are 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day to maintain strong emotional health, and 12, yes 12 hugs a day to grow and become better people. I don’t know anyone outside of a support group who hugs that many times a day. My outgoing signature is LP&H which is Love Peace & Hugs, so I give and send several virtual hugs a day, but I don’t think that counts as much, so from now on, when I give and receive a virtual hug I am going to stop, close my eyes, and give myself a hug from that person. Since I have been ill I often have several days in a row where I do not leave my house or see anyone besides my daughter, and usually one or two hugs a day is sufficient, so I have to find hugs elsewhere. Yesterday was my most busy day in a long time, I hugged my niece, my date, the singer of the band I went to see, my aunt whose house I slept at, my cousin, an old friend from high school and another well known person from my youth, one other friend, and my daughter when I left. That’s still only 9, I felt like I was getting and giving hugs all day, it wore me out too, I took a 6 hour nap today.
The only option is the best way to hug, I am an X hugger, right arm up around their shoulder, left arm around their waist, my sister and I have discussed the merits of this way of hugging and agree it is by far the best, but if you hug me in a different way I promise to enjoy the hug and not tell you that you are doing it wrong. The only hug is the one left ungiven, it’s what your arms and hearts are made for. Time to show each other more love, more support, and improve each other’s health with a wonderful hug.
About the author:
MamaSteph has 2 kids by birth and several by love, she is a nurse and enjoys finding healthier ways to make comfort foods, gardening, enjoying nature, and living life to the fullest…For a list of her blogs please click here.