Thursday, October 21


A hug can make all the difference in the world.

I was reading an article on about frequency of sexual activity during the recession, and there was a segment concerning rejuvenating the spark.  So anyway, one of the points was to give your partner a hug.  The article said "Studies show that a 20-second hug raises oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is also known as the “cuddle hormone” and facilitates a sense of love and connection."  Well, who wouldn't want to raise their oxytocin levels?  That totally sounds awesome.

Now, I have no idea what oxytocin is, but I assume it is one of those chemical hormones that makes your brain happy.  I like for my brain to be happy.

I got to thinking and realized I don't hug people enough.  Sure, M and I give each other a hug when we get home from work.  It's usually meaningful, but quick.  I used to hug my friends, a lot and often, but not seeing them much makes that difficult.  But I find that even after I've been apart from them for a while, I don't always give the best, most genuine hug. 

When M and I went to Atlanta last weekend, saying good-bye was awkward.  Of the group, I had hung out with one couple pretty frequently, and funnily enough, they're the only ones I didn't hug good-bye.  I guess my brain's logic was that I would see them sooner rather than later?  Then, I obviously hugged his friend who was going through the tragedy.  But I hugged a couple of M's friends that I'd only met two or three times, and then I hugged the people I'd just met that day. 

I don't have a fear or complex about hugging people I've just met.  In fact, I think it should be much more common place than it is.  In the situation, it didn't seem appropriate to merely shake their hands, so I went in for the hug...but I could tell there was hesitation on the other end (it does, after all, take two to hug.) 

Why are people so afraid to hug people they've just met?  Our society is so detached in a world of technology.  We don't like to talk on the phone (I'm guilty.)  We prefer to text or e-mail.  We don't even like to order pizza or make reservations for dinner on the phone anymore.  You can do it all online.  This eliminates the need to verbally communicate, so why would we intimately communicate in the form of a hug?  I think hugging someone you've just met is a very sweet gesture.  It shows that you really enjoyed spending time with them, whether it was a 15 minute exchange or you were around them for a day or a few, if you enjoyed their company, a hug seems beyond acceptable. 

There's a video I saw a few years ago, as I'm sure most people did.  It's called the Free Hug Campaign.  It's pretty simple.  Man holds sign on street corner dishing out free hugs.  It's genius!  Everyone benefits from a free hug.  Believe or not, the police shut him down.  So he started a petition. 

Like I said, why are people afraid to hug people they've just met...or in the case of the Free Hug Campaign, complete strangers?  I think it's a brilliant idea.  Who knows who you might reach out to with that brief exchange which releases oxytocin in the brain?  They could've had the worst possible day or think there's no one in the world who loves them.  The simple act of a kind hug can turn their day around.

I'm going to resolve myself to hug as many people, as tightly and lovingly as possible.  I'm going to be aware of meetings with friends and acquaintances to make sure they know they are special in this world and I will embrace them.

I challenge you to do the same.  Hug as many people as you can.  What this world needs is a little more love! <3    


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