Hugging has always been an awkward thing for me and I tried to avoid them as much as possible. I guess one of the reasons I have avoided them was due to what someone close to me once told me, that I give the weirdest hugs ever. That person was probably just joking but the power I gave those few words closed the door to one of the most amazing intimate human acts. The perfectionist in me decided I’m going to avoid hugs like a plague which I have successfully done for the past 7 to 8 years. Unfortunately I couldn’t really avoid them all together so I would usually have a hug quota for the year which was about four hugs per year. However the most amazing thing happened to me a few weeks ago.
While I was standing in the supermarket queue, I met someone I have not seen in over 10 years, we happened to be just Facebook friends because we are from the same town and we went to the same primary school. I greeted him and he replied with stretched out arms and embraced me in a hug, my mind quickly ticked of a hug from my ‘hug quota’ , so I was thinking one to go three more for the year left. Usually my hugs lasted less then two seconds (that’s how fast I want it to end). This one was different, two seconds went by and in my head I was thinking what …?? I was not used to what was happening, the guy wouldn’t let go, so I decided not to push him away but to just let the hug run it’s course. I found myself moving from being uncomfortable to feeling comfortable and safe in an instant (how that happened I do not know). Finally for the first time in my life I understood why people give each other hugs. Without words spoken I felt a deep sense of love, support and kindness.
Well on that day I remember my mind being preoccupied by many things, I run into the shop with the intention to grab one item and rushing back home, however after that hug I felt at peace, it felt like all the troubles I had at that moment had miraculously disappeared and started to look insignificant, much smaller then I had originally thought. It was one of the most amazing hugging experiences (if u can call it that) I have ever had, I can still feel that positive energy just thinking about it. I have thus decided to ditch my ‘hug quota’ and start giving my weird hugs as they will come from a place of love, if I can make one person feel the way that hug left me feeling than I would have done my part.
Research has shown that deep hugs have the following benefits:
- The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication.
- Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
- Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
- Hugs strengthen the immune system.
- Hugging boosts self-esteem.
- Hugging relaxes muscles. Hugs release tension in the body. Hugs can take away pain; they soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.
- Hugs balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance.
- Hugs teach us how to give and receive. There is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. Hugs educate us how love flows both ways.
- Hugs are so much like meditation and laughter. They teach us to let go and be present in the moment. They encourage us to flow with the energy of life. Hugs get you out of your circular thinking patterns and connect you with your heart and your feelings and your breath.
- The energy exchange between the people hugging is an investment in the relationship.
So if you are like me and get weirded out by hugs, think of those benefits before pulling away from that warm embrace.