I would like to give this term a new twist today. Simply because this morning, as I finished my regular visit to my chiropractor (doctor’s orders after my recent illness), he gave me a heartfelt (or so I sensed) hug. A good heart-to-heart hug, not taking into account the difference in height, wishing me a happy Christmas and New Year. Then as I was leaving the practice, his lovely receptionist gave me a long heartfelt hug as well. Now, these hugs were totally unexpected, prompting me to write to you today. AND Boy did I feel great! I felt elated, surprised, confident, loved, acknowledged and these are only some of the emotions that I can think of right now. You’ll notice that NONE of these emotions are negative.
Now, some people are huggers and others aren’t, wouldn’t you agree? If you are a hugger like me, you will be able to sense when the person you are hugging is a hugger not. You can sense it on an energetic level and you can also tell by their physiology, their stance, whether they return the hug, etc. In my family and circle of friends there are huggers and non-huggers, so I’d like to think of myself an expert on sensing it J. In my business communities and when I run workshops, I sometimes hug. I’d love to hug everybody. Other times, I get a sense that maybe it is not the right thing to do – it wouldn’t be welcome.
When I decided I want to write about this today, I decided to ‘google’ (no more dictionaries or encyclopedias these days!) the benefits of hugging. I did have a fair idea that there would be enormous and numerous benefits to our health and wellbeing. I must say though, that I was pleasantly surprised to find sooooo many benefits. It would only be fitting to share some of them with you here. I sourced the information from theheartsite.com and mindbodygreen.com. There are numerous other sources and I invite you to do your own research if you like.
All of us should know what it means ‘to hug’, it is defined as ‘squeeze someone tightly in one’s arms, typically to express affection’.
Here are 10 benefits of a really really good ‘heart-to-heart’ hug.
∞ A hug can uplift your mood, double your joy and instill feelings of confidence to conquer the world.
Exactly the emotions I experienced when I got this heartfelt hug this morning – how cool is that?!
∞ Check this one: you expend 12 calories with each hug.
Yoohoo – no more dieting ever J - just go on a hugging spree.
∞ The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and gives you a sense of safety.
∞ A hug aids in opening up and honest communication.
This may be the start of a really honest heart-to-heart conversation, you think? One where you are truly heard and able to express your feelings and concerns.
∞ A hug provides emotional support and relieves stress naturally.
∞ A proper deep hug (heart-to-heart) can ease sickness, disease, loneliness, depression.
Imagine mental illness sufferers are given proper deep hugs by their health carer, now that would be something wouldn’t it.
∞ Hugs strengthen the immune system – less colds, flu….
‘An apple a day can easily become ‘A hug a day, keeps the doctor away’.
∞ An extended hug raises the body’s serotonin levels which elevates your mood and creates happiness.
∞ You get an instant boost of the oxytocin hormone, which lowers your blood pressure and heals feelings of loneliness, isolation and anger.
∞ As a natural stress reliever, a good old ‘free for all’ hug releases muscle tension and increases your blood circulation.
This is only a mere snippet of how good a hug can be. It’s free and you can hug anytime, anywhere and gain instant and long term benefits. So why do people not hug so often and openly? This question can be a whole new topic, right. In my research I also discovered that there is an annual global a National hugging Day – January 21st! But don’t wait until then, go and hug someone right now. Take the time and be fully present, not just a quick 3-second hug, take a lot longer. See how long you can do it for. Be present, take note of what happens for you and the other person. What does it leave you with? If it’s a hot day, you may not want to do it for that long J. Let me know what you experience. Let me know if you are a hugger or not! And let me know if you would integrate that into your life (if you aren’t already doing so).
Whilst you are reading this, I am giving you a long heart-to-heart hug across cyber-space and sending you love.