Hug it out

I love to research new and bizarre holidays. Just the other day, my family enjoyed celebrating “National Kissing Day.” Research the month of July, and you will find National Blueberry Day, Different Colored Eyes Day, Cow Appreciation Day, Milk Chocolate Day, and Father-In-Law Day. Perhaps though, July 17 will be one of my new favorites since it was “Global Hug Your Kids Day.”

We hug for different reasons. To comfort someone, to celebrate a victory or an accomplishment, to say hello and goodbye, or to simply say “I love you.” The impact of a hug goes far beyond what we ever imagined.

10 Reasons for giving hugs (just in case you needed one)

(www.mindbodygreen.com)

• 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.

• Builds stronger bonds with the people you see every day. Hugging nurtures human relationships, cultivates trust, increases confidence, and frankly, makes us happier people.

• Lowers stress! A good hug literally decreases the levels of cortisol found in the body. Talk about a drug-free anti-anxiety treatment.

• Lowers blood pressure. Collecting hugs is excellent for your ticker, in more ways than one!

• 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 someone, and hug!

• Feels incredible! Seriously, the power of human touch is profound, and our bodies are filled with nerves ready for stimulation. Most of us are probably craving human touch all day long and simply not aware of it.

• Turn a bad mood upside down. If you’re feeling grumpy and anti-social, just try crawling into a warm embrace. You’ll come out of it feeling a little, if not totally, better.

• Reconnects the mind with the body. When chaos builds, 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.

• Makes us better huggers! 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.

• 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.

Seven different times parents can give a hug:

1) Say good morning with a hug.

2) Say good night with a hug and kiss.

3) Praise your child with a hug and a pat.

4) Say thanks with a hug.

5) When you ask for any help or favor, give them a hug for being the ‘good’ person.

6) A hug is the best cure when they are exhausted or upset.

7) Hugs can help them come out of a difficult situation like bullying, feeling sick or failure.

Begin by starting to collect giving hugs today! There’s no time like the present, and this resolution will leave you happier and healthier. Family therapist Virginia Satir says, “We need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth.”

The world is a busy 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. Go on … hug someone!

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Carrie Kube is a director for Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board. All thoughts and opinions expressed are that of the author and not the board and/or its community partners.