Who couldn’t use a hug during at least some point in their day? Every day. Life is hard. Adulting sucks sometimes (a lot of times). Being a mom is hard. But you know what isn’t hard? Giving a hug. Sometimes it can be a little hard to accept a hug, but the moment you give in and embrace it, chances are you’ll (typically) never regret it. I know my favorite part of the day is when I put my 2-year-old to bed and she snuggles me for a few minutes, every single night! And don’t you just love it when you’re away from your kids for a few hours (or a few days at times), and they run up to you giving you the biggest hug? There’s nothing else like it.
It’s kind of funny when you think about it. We hug for all sorts of reasons: when someone is sad, when someone is happy, when someone is scared, when someone is excited, when someone is celebrating something or does something well, or when someone isn’t having their best day. Crazy to think that the same simple act can be the answer to so many different emotions, moods, and moments.
I remember learning back in elementary school that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile, and I have told myself that my entire life. Similarly, I remember someone telling me that a “perfect hug” lasts between 5 and 10 seconds, and I always try to be mindful of that. Especially when it’s a purposeful hug.
Here are a few more fun facts about hugs that everyone should know:
- They release oxytocin, which is also known as “the love hormone” or “the cuddle hormone,” and can leave both the hugger and the huggee (is that a word?) feeling calmer, happier, and more relaxed. Who couldn’t use a little more of all of that?
- In addition to oxytocin, hugs can also release serotonin and dopamine to help lift your mood. Again, we could all use a little mood-booster.
- A long, comforting hug can help reduce blood pressure.
- Children who are hugged more as babies and kids are more likely to grow up to have better coping mechanisms.
Family therapist Virginia Satir once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Maintenance is good, but growth is even better. I’m aiming for 12 hugs a day, starting now.
So, here’s the deal. We all want to feel better about ourselves, most people feel good when making others feel good, we want to be healthy, no one wants to be stressed, and we want loving and affectionate children. Right? So… hugs are the answer! Amazing how something so simple can be so effective and impactful. The world could use a little more of it if you ask me.
I know I could use a hug or 12 right now. We just had to say goodbye to our sweet fur baby of 16 years, and my heart just feels like a piece of it has been broken off. Followed by my oldest daughter turning 7 the following day, which I am just in denial about. So many emotions! Hugs help. A lot.
Remember a couple of years ago during the pandemic when handshakes and hugs were a giant no-no? What a sad time! We were encouraged to wave to loved ones from the other side of a window or bump elbows with buddies. I remember seeing my dad for the first time after almost six months in 2020 and giving him the biggest and longest hug ever. It was the absolute best, and I’ll never forget it.
National Hugging Day is January 21, and I’m sending out virtual hugs to all of you. ::Here it is!:: I encourage you to hug someone today, too. A real hug. Just squeeze them and let them know they are worthy, they are loved, and everything is going to be okay.