We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.
—Virginia Satir, family therapist
Recently for a JADE meeting I did some research on hugging. I found some interesting things out that I wanted to share. They claim that a hug a day keeps the Doctor away. Amazing, I always thought it was an apple a day, but in truth both are great.
First off I want to say that I think we are in a "Hug Deprived Society". Meaning I don't think we hug enough. If we do hug it is a quick 2 second job with a pat on the back. We need hugs that are really hugs. Hugs that express how we really feel, not what society feels is appropriate.
We are afraid to hug, afraid to let our real emotions show for fear of what? I cannot understand. I have to confess, I am a hugger. I love to hug. There are many reasons, but the number one reason that I hug is that sometimes just a hello is not sufficient. Sometimes, well, most of the time a greeting needs more then just a hand shake or a smile. I feel that with a hug we can really express how we feel. Often times my feelings are so strong for a person I don't want to let go. I think that our spirits can communicate when we hug. Unspoken words and feelings are spoken when we hug. A quick 2 second hug cuts off the message before we have a chance to get it said.
I have found that there are a few reasons why we don't hug and since this is a blog for men, I want to direct my comments to men and the reasons why men don't hug. Often times it has to do how we were raised. Some were raised in families where hugs just were not part of the family life. There is that macho attitude that exists that men just do not hug other men and there is that whole homophobic things going on that if we hug we just might be gay, so we don't, or if we do it's the 1 to 2 second hug and a slap on the back. How sad that we have to be afraid to express how we really feel.
There is also the physical aspect to hugging that confuses men. Men respond differently to different things. Some men are afraid of what their bodies do when they hug, so they just don't do it. Frankly speaking, some men are aroused when they hug and feel really uncomfortable about it. To that I say, "so what, you have a normal mans body that does what a mans body does". Pretty simple, we often times cannot control what our bodies do, but we always have the power to control what we do with it. Don't let the fear of what your body does or how it reacts to natural affection keep you from hugging and having the experience of close intimate healthy hugging relationships with other men.
There is a lot of great research out there on the power of hugging. Did you know.....
~that the nurturing touch of a hug can build trust and a sense of safety
~that hugging helps with open and honest communication
~that hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels which heal feelings of loneliness and anger
~that holding a hug for an extended period of time lifts serotonin levels creating happiness
~that hugs actually strengthen the immune system
~that hugs boost self esteem
~that hugs relaxe muscles and tension in the body
~that hugs can balance the nervous system
~that hugs teach us how to give and recieve
~that hugs are like laughter, they help us let go and enjoy the moment
~that the energy exhanged between those hugging is an investment in the relationship
~that 12 hugs a day will help us grow and be a happier and healthier person
I recommend hug therapy if you are stuggling in getting your minimum daily requirement of hugs. Hug therapy is simply practicing hugging. Hug more and longer. The typical man huge, 2 second hug, pat on the back, is not sufficient for a healthy hug. Take the time with those around you and enjoy the wonderful gift of hugging. Try a thirty second to one minute hug and see if you don't feel the difference.
Hugging is, in my opinion, a vital part of life. It does wonders in so many ways. Don't be afraid, enjoy the adventure by joining the revolution.
Go give someone a hug. Brad