We need four hugs a day for survival.
We need eight hugs a day for maintenance.
We need twelve hugs a day for growth.
A hug is powerful. When was the last time you were enveloped by a loving presence, one that invited you to drop your armour, lay down your shield, and lean in?
When was the last time you spent real time in a real hug, bringing down your walls of defense and protection, and touch heart-to-heart?
Even if it has been a while, experiencing just one of these hugs means you have felt the tremendous healing effects of a hug. Research backs this up.
Benefits of hugs
- boosting oxytocin levels which helps you feel belonging and cared for. (That’s the bonding chemical)
- elevating serotonin levels
- promoting relaxation
- improving communication from increased trust
- lower blood pressure and heart rate 1
Next time you hug, take your time. Enjoy the gift of the presence of the other person and allow them to enjoy yours. Observe how you feel afterwards. As Mary Burmeister (Jin Shin Jyutsu) said, we are our best testimony.
Not a hugging kind of person? Cuddling pets also has the same effect. Love animals can’t have a pet? Consider volunteering at shelters and rescues or volunteer-vacation at animal sanctuaries.
According to Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge | The Danish Way to Live Well, “maybe that is why Danes trust complete strangers to such a great extent; they hygge a lot, and hyggelige activities release oxytocin, which decreases hostility and increases social connection.” 2
1 More frequent partner hugs and higher oxytocin levels are linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate in premenopausal women. Study by Kathleen C.Light, Karen M.Grewen, and Janet A.Amico Biological Psychology Volume 69, Issue 1, April 2005, Pages 5-21
2 The Little Book of Hygge | The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking. Penguin Random House UK, 2016 p57.