It was the best hug ever! It was long, filled with meaning, and cut right to my heart. The hug was saying things that went way past words. I was surprised by it, which is odd because I am a hugger. I hug everyone. I hug friends every time I see them. I hug people I meet. I hug strangers. This hug was initiated by one of the people I love the most in my life. One of the people I am closest to. One of the people I cherish. I was surprised by it because this person and I rarely hug.
The hug stayed with me for days. I relived it over and over and each time I enjoyed it like it just happened. I savored the feeling.
If you research hugging, you will see the same bullet points repeated.
Hugging can reduce stress by reducing the hormone cortisol. High levels of this hormone can cause health issues like sleep problems, obesity, low immunity, and more. Hugging can boost our mood and make us feel happier and supported.
Hugging can improve heart health. Frequent hugging can lower blood pressure, which may reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Hugging can boost self-esteem. The power of touch can convey feelings of safety, love, and connection. When we are feeling lost or depressed, a hug can help ground us and give us a feeling of belonging.
Hugging can improve all types of relationships. Hugs express an intimate connection that goes deeper than words alone. This type of physical touch causes the release of oxytocin. This “love hormone” or “cuddle hormone” as it is called, creates a feeling of closeness.
Hugging can reduce pain. When we hug, our bodies release hormones called endorphins. These endorphins are natural pain-relievers that just make us feel good.
I know all of these facts and as I said, I am a hugger, but what this special hug made me realize is, sometimes I overlook the people I care about the most. I feel like this happens often in life. We are more polite to strangers than to our own family. We volunteer our time to worthy organizations when maybe we need to be spending time with loved ones. And maybe for me, I miss the opportunity to hug the people closest to me.
That special hug made me feel warm and loved. Why wouldn’t I want to show this kind of physical touch to the people I love the most as often as I can?
I believe physical touch is essential to our well-being. I remember sitting for hours holding my babies as they nestled in my arms feeling safe and secure. As they grew, I held them as they cried with scraped knees from bicycle accidents and the pain of young love and broken hearts. When I would visit my mom in the last years of her life, she wanted nothing more than for me to hold her hand. When the visit was done, she would hold me tightly never wanting our hug to end. It doesn’t matter what age we are, we all need hugs.
From the moment we are born until our last day, it is an essential form of physical touch that we all need to give and receive. We all need physical connection and the feelings of love, trust, and comfort that a hug gives. When we hug energy is given and received. We need this transfer of emotional energy.
I read once that humans need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs for maintenance, and twelve for growth. I don’t know if that is true, but it sounds good. Maybe it is a guideline we should all follow.
Who can you hug today? Make it the best hug ever!
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Pennie’s Life Lesson:
A hug is something you give and almost always receive in return.
Make hugging a habit!
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