When we hug children we completely commit to the act. It is a full, heart on heart, demonstration of affection. This is partly because children hug us that way. It’s the only way they know. Adults need to be hugged that way too.

It has become the fashion that we ‘air kiss’ friends and family and we’ve developed the equivalent in hugs. A sort of ‘touch me not’ compulsory grasp. It’s awful. If you care enough about someone to hug them, do it properly.

What is so great about hugs?

Hugs feel good and that is sensational in itself, however; there are other great benefits that come from a proper hug.

Hugs calm our stress and make us feel better

A sincere hug of between 10 and 20 seconds, releases three main chemicals in the body according to the medical author, Karthik Kumar, MBBS

  1. Dopamine: The hormone that makes us feel happy and relaxed.
  2. Serotonin: The antidepressant hormone that improves mood, stills anxiety, and reduces our sense of loneliness.
  3. Oxytocin: The love hormone that relieves stress and boosts heart health. It also helps in lowering blood pressure, fighting diseases, increasing libido, reducing stress, and giving us a feeling of comfort. 

In other words, our nerves are settled, there is a sense of joy and the soul is calmed. 

A hug makes you feel connected and less alone.

It is human instinct to physically connect with those we relate strongly to, such as family or a loved one. We know attachment between a mother and a child is encouraged by skin-to-skin contact. That desire to be physically connected stays with us and is played out time and again in our close family, friendships, and intimate relationships. Some scienti

We lost a lot over the course of the pandemic, but for many, the loss of physical contact with others was profound. That physical bonding makes us feel connected and less alone. It reminds us we are part of something bigger than ourselves and that makes us feel stronger.

A hug can also put a perimeter around pain and grief.

Researchers at Israel’s Haifa University say that a hug from a loved one can actually diminish feelings of pain. Grief is a type of pain that can also be soothed in the arms of someone we love. Even if a hug doesn’t cure our pain, it makes those feelings less overwhelming and more contained. It puts a perimeter around them.

The huggers…

I bet if you thought about it you could identify the people in your life who give good hugs. They make you feel special and seen. I’m not advocating scaring the neighbours or forcing hugs on children who are learning the boundaries of who can touch them. But, if you are going to hug the people in your life, do it properly. Hug like a child.

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