The other day I went to pick up our little guy from my mom’s house. Nothing out of the ordinary as I got out of the car and stepped inside. Usually I find him running around in the living room, entranced by Donald Duck, or giggling with Grandma and Grandpa.
This time was different, though.
I took a few steps into their kitchen through the back entrance, not saying a word, when suddenly, small footsteps became louder and closer from another room.
Around the corner bounded my little boy, a HUGE smile on his face. With arms spread open wide, he shouted “Dadda – Hug!”
As shocking and new as this was, I didn’t freeze as I might ordinarily upon new phrases and words. Instead, without missing a beat, I scooped him up, his arms quickly wrapped around my neck and his head turned to lay against my chest.
I practically melted right then and there.
And with that, anything that may have been bothering me from throughout the day, any stress, any worry, any irritation, it was all gone. Brushed away by the arms and smile of this little boy.
It was wonderful and I don’t think I’ll soon forget that first joyful request, specifically for a hug from daddy.
Naturally, this got me thinking later on – What is it about hugs that can turn our entire day, our entire mindset around when the rest of the world feels like it’s collapsing around us or beaten us down?
Sara Courter at MindBodyGreen.com offered a few reasons in a 2012 article that I found interesting and thought I would share:
1. Hugging induces oxytocin in the body.
Oxytocin is a powerful hormone, one that not only fortifies bonds with our loved ones
, but also has the capability to stimulate solidarity between total strangers.
2. Hugging builds stronger bonds with the people you see everyday.
Hugging nurtures human relationships
, cultivates trust, increases confidence, and frankly, makes us happier people.
3. Hugging lowers stress!
A good hug literally decreases the levels of cortisol found in the body. Talk about a drug-free anti-anxiety treatment.
4. Hugging lowers blood pressure.
Collecting hugs is excellent for your ticker, in more ways than one!
5. Hugging is a reciprocal good deed.
One never knows what is going on in another person’s life. When a good, sincere hug is given, it has the potential to completely alter one’s day. How simple of a good deed is that? Just wrap your arms around me, and hug!
6. Hugging feels incredible!
Seriously, the power of human touch is profound, and our bodies are filled with nerves ready (sometimes aching
) for stimulation. Most of us are probably craving human touch all day long and simply not aware of it. Why do we spend so much money on massage
? A good, long squeeze has the capacity to not only lift one’s spirits, but also feel wonderful for the body.
7. Hugging can turn a bad mood upside down.
If you’re feeling grumpy and anti-social, just try crawling into a warm embrace. I pretty much guarantee you’ll come out of it feeling a little, if not totally, better.
8. Hugging reconnects the mind with the body.
Most of us in the MindBodyGreen community try our best to live consciously
. But when chaos builds, which it does rapidly in the workplace, behind the wheel, while on the computer, a good hug can reconnect us to that idea of conscious existence. A good hug has the power to prompt us towards better posture
, deeper breathing, and a more relaxed state of being.
9. Hugging more makes us better huggers!
That sounds silly, but I’m serious. Are you guilty of the non-committal, “I don’t have time to slow down” one-armed hug? If so, don’t expect to reap as many of these benefits. Those who take a moment to square up to another human being and wrap their arms around them for a good long breath
are those who truly benefit from the power of hugging. Which brings me to benefit number ten…
10. Hugging cultivates patience.
Connections are fostered when people take the time to appreciate and acknowledge one another. A hug is one of the easiest ways to show appreciation and acknowledgement of another person.
The world is a busy, hustle-bustle place and we’re constantly rushing to the next task. By slowing down and taking a moment to offer sincere hugs throughout the day, we’re benefiting ourselves, others, and cultivating better patience