A hug (or eight) a day keeps the doctor away!

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Healthline.com says that family therapist Virginia Satir suggests, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

In this world where we are discouraged from touching, especially since the pandemic, many people are ‘touch deprived’ … it’s SO important to put hugging back into your self-care routine.

Hugs can have health benefits, including reducing fear, stress, and pain. They may also support immune and cardiovascular health.

Some of you have children or pets who are fantastic for guaranteed hugs.

Others of you may have to rely on partners, friends, café baristas, or possibly co-workers for this fix. Depending on your life, you might find even 4 hugs will be a challenge.

Personally, I feel very lucky to have a group of cold-water dippers (@millowlseadragons) who give me plenty of hugs to fill my bucket every day. Some may say it’s an essential part of getting warm after we swim, and I smile and say: ‘maybe sometimes.’

Mind you, I have to admit, that I actively energetically called that group for myself. I was feeling very lonely at the end of 2022 and so I sought out this very heart-centred group of people. It felt like divine guidance for sure. I wasn’t sure that I would continue to go into the cold water or get up early, but the hugs kept me coming back every day. True.

Let’s talk about the benefits of hugging. Did you know that regular hugs do all this:

  • ward of feelings of loneliness, 
  • can lower blood pressure, 
  • greatly improve our physical health,
  • release a feel-good hormone – increase serotonin levels and trigger a release of oxytocin),
  • impact us at a cellular level,
  • ​increase positive emotions,
  • tune us into the energy of life,
  • lower our heart rate.

The experts say you can’t just give a quick, nonchalant hug! You have to hold the hug; it takes 20 seconds for the feel-good hormones to release. So, remember hold your hugs as long as you can!

Some people’s hug-style is like an A-frame – heads together and butts out. Others are like a side-hug – one arm only. Others are full-frontal-bear-hugs. No matter what they do the job.

Now you might be wondering, how can you get more hugs (and not come off as crazy or creepy):

  1. Just start hugging others when you see them. We all have that one friend who is the best hugger, and it doesn’t seem weird at all when every time you see them, they hug you. So go for it, become that hugger friend.
  2. Always take opportunities to hug. When saying goodbye (think dropping the kids off at school) or when saying hello (think picking the kids up from school).
  3. Hug your pet. Yes, your pets count. Give your pets lots of snuggles. 
  4. Hug a tree! This might seem silly, but go on, give it a try.
  5. Hug a pillow. Even a pillow can help you feel safe and secure. Cuddle up to a nice pillow while sleeping for hug benefits all night long.
  6. Hug Yourself. This may also sound silly, but hugging yourself is a form of self-care. You love yourself, and it’s perfectly okay to show your body and remind your mind of that fact.

There is a lot of research to show that hugging has loads of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits … so my suggestion to you, dear reader, is to take the ‘HUG CHALLENGE’.

I challenge you to get twelve hugs daily for the next 30 days. Twelve 20-second hugs. You decide where the hugs come from. I’ve given you some ideas, but please feel free to get creative.

You’re welcome to join the @millowlseadragons to do some cold-water dipping AND get your hugs.

Please feel free to share your hugs and reactions to them @pipcolemanauthorcoach or send me an email to share your experiences privately – pip@pipcoleman.com

Blessings Pip

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