By Bill Fox/Columnist
When was the last time you received a hug, or maybe more importantly, when was the last time you gave someone a hug?
I recall reading years ago about a human experiment performed during Hitler’s Nazi regime. There were many horrific experiments done on prisoners and this was one.
It was decided to divide some young babies into two categories. One hundred babies would be given the human essentials. They would be fed and changed as needed and held and hugged as needed.
A second group of infants would likewise be fed and changed but human touch would be denied as much as possible. Within a short time, the babies in the second group started to die. Autopsies were performed but they could not determine any physical reason why babies in the second group were dying off. The conclusion was that babies, and perhaps adults, need hugs.
Research has shown that hugging boosts self-esteem. From the time we’re born our family’s touch shows us that we’re loved and special. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a physical level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self-love.
Hugging relaxes muscles and releases tension in the body.
Hugs can take away pain; Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
Hugs can soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.
Hugs teach us how to give and receive. There is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. Hugs educate us how love flows both ways.
Hugs are so much like meditation and laughter. They teach us to let go and be present in the moment. They encourage us to flow with the energy of life. Hugs get you out of your circular thinking patterns and connect you with your heart, your feelings, and your breath. The energy exchange between the people hugging is an investment in the relationship. It encourages empathy and understanding.
These quotes might encourage us all to hug a bit more:
“When I come home, my daughter will run to the door and give me a big hug, and everything that’s happened that day just melts away.” – Hugh Jackman
“I love hugging people. I still hug everybody in my meet-and-greet lines.” – Taylor Swift
“I have learned that there is more power in a good, strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words.” – A nn Hood
“HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug – Heaven knows they need it.” – Diana, Princess of Wales
“A hug makes you feel good all day.” – Kathleen Keating
“A hug is a great gift – one size fits all, and it’s easy to exchange.” – Anonymous
“Sometimes all you can do is hug a friend tightly and wish that their pain could be transferred by touch to your own emotional hard drive.” – Richelle E. Goodrich
“I love meeting people, and I know it’s so difficult for people to come up to me and introduce themselves, so when they do, I’ll grab them and hug them. It makes their day, you know? I love that, and I get positive energy from that.” – Nicola Formichetti
“The world is a mess. It seems that life gets harder on a personal level each and every day. Hug and kiss those you love every day. You never know when the tragedies of this world may visit your life.” – Kevin Nash
“Where I live, if someone gives you a hug it’s from the heart.” – Steve Irwin
“Oh, I love hugging. I wish I was an octopus, so I could hug 10 people at a time.” – Drew Barrymore
“The good part of having six kids is, there’s always one who wants to hug you and say, ‘Daddy, I love you.'” – John McEnroe
“There’s a long life ahead of you and it’s going to be beautiful, as long as you keep loving and hugging each other.” – Yoko Ono
“Everybody needs a hug. It changes your metabolism.” – Leo Buscaglia
I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need a hug.