I’ve learned about hugs. Laugh, but it’s true. I’m the person who when I was pregnant, if you dared touch my belly as if it were your own, I would growl. I’m the person, who never liked for people to touch me and if you dared attempt to wrap your arms around me — I never reciprocated. I’m the person who shied away from any type of physical contact with friends.
But, I’ve learned about hugs.
You know I had to google about hugs to see what was so magical, here’s what I found:
Hugging is good medicine. It transfers energy, and gives the person hugged an emotional boost. You need four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance, and twelve for growth. A hug makes you feel good. The skin is the largest organ we have and it needs a great deal of care. A hug can cover a lot of skin and gives the message that you care. It is also a form of communication. It can say things you don’t have words for. The nicest thing about a hug is that you usually can’t give one without getting one.
Wow. That sounds pretty serious. Like this hugging thing could be medically related and therefore not just make me sappy (although, I’ve learned about sappy too). I had a friend tell me that a hug that lasts for at least 6 seconds can actually make you feel better. So, of course, I googled and here’s what I found out about that:
When you hug, oxytocin is released in the brain. Oxytocin does more than make us feel good. It lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body, reducing blood pressure, improving mood, increasing tolerance for pain and perhaps even speeding how fast wounds heal. It also seems to play an important role in our relationships. It’s been linked, for example, to how much we trust others.
Now that is significant — I think. Hugging can actually help you trust other people — trust your friends. That statement alone should probably make you go and hug a friend.
I love to hug my kids — that I can do. But maybe I don’t hug them enough as they get older. Maybe the hugs seem to fade with age — I’m sure that’s not the way it is supposed to be. So, I’ve made a conscious decision to give my kids ample 6 second hugs each day — when I wake them up, when I see them off to school, when they greet me each day I arrive home, when I tuck them in at night. With them, it’s easy.
I’ve always had a certain longing to be one of those girls who can hug and touch and hold and not feel completing incapacitated by it. They always make their friends feel so good. My youngest daughter’s kindergarten teacher is one of those girls — she gave me a 6 second hug just today. In turn, I passed it on to a friend I hadn’t seen in a month or so — maybe she passed it on too, that’s what we do as girls — I’m learning that too.
I’m learning that we are emotional creatures — (you’re gonna love this poem by Eve Ensler), some of us just learn it later than others.
So, if you see me, expect a hug. Evolution can be a wonderful thing.