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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.

A proper hug releases oxytocin. In turn, nerves are settled, there is a sense of joy and the soul is calmed. A hug makes you feel connected and less alone. A hug can also put a perimeter around pain and grief. It doesn’t cure them but it makes those feelings less overwhelming and more contained.

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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