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October 24, 2012

Have you ever had the kind of busy day that perhaps leaves you feeling a bit physically disconnected? I have, and I rarely notice this until someone comes up and places a hand on my back to get my attention, and my brain says, “Wow…that felt really good.”

The simplest human touch when one isn’t expecting it, or even when one is expecting it, can deliver such joy and contentment. A hug is a step up, and so many of us don’t meet our daily hug quota.

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I’ve read many different numbers, suggested by many different professionals, and have come to the conclusion that the more hugs one receives everyday, the better.

These are some reasons to squeeze (pun intended) as many lingering, loving hugs into your day as you’re physically able:

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 within ourselves.

If you’re not already cognizant of your own personal hug quota, start collecting hugs today. There’s no time like the present, and this resolution will leave you happier and healthier. After all, as family therapist Virginia Satir says,

  • We need 4 hugs a day for survival.
  • We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.
  • We need 12 hugs a day for growth.
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Sara Courter
Sara Courter

Sara is a Northern California-based Holistic Health Practitioner offering and working with an array of functional healing modalities. She is a Certified Nutritionist, Freelance Writer, Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher, and Ayurvedic Counselor certified through the American Institute of Vedic Studies (AIVS). Sara holds a Bachelor's Degree in English Lit, with an emphasis in Creative Writing, completed her TTC with the renowned Yogaworks school of yoga, and continues to study under master teachers Seane Corn and Maty Ezraty. Sara's intention is to fearlessly manifest and pursue abundance, love and higher truth. A firm believer in living by the words of Hippocrates, "Let food be thy medicine," she advocates for nourishing the body with a plant-based diet rich in fresh, organic superfoods and a commitment to radical self-care. Sara's intention as a holistic healer is to foster a lifestyle that makes for a comfortable body, sound mind and happy heart.