Aside from meeting fewer people the past year, COVID-19 has also restricted physical touch. Whether or not you are a touchy person, as a human, you have a need for social interaction to fill in. With no one to fill that need other than yourself, you become more tired and less energetic to face the day.
So believe it or not, family therapist Virginia Satir once said that we all need 4 hours a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance, and 12 hugs for growth. No wonder the world has been so sad the past year and a half! I’ll even be happy if I get just one hug a day. Apart from fewer opportunities to connect, there are just fewer people willing to be vulnerable and open themselves to a hug, except maybe if it’s a significant other. But what about those who aren’t in romantic relationships? Do we even just casually hug our friends in a day with nothing to congratulate them for or a special occasion to have an excuse to greet them with a hug?
I can go on with multiple reasons why people don’t hug as often but here are reasons why you should be giving out those hugs and asking for them in return too:
1. Hugs instantly make one feel a sense of security.
Hugs have the power to make a person comforted that he or she is not alone, that they are together in facing this rollercoaster adventure called life. If it’s from a person you really care about, a hug will automatically transport you to a place of safety, that if anything goes wrong, at least you have each other.
2. Hugs can lower cortisol levels.
Cortisol increases sugar in the bloodstream and makes the body inefficient in a fight or flight situation. Basically, it’s the body’s primary stress hormone. When you have much of it, your heart rate and blood pressure are all up, leaving you in a state of stress. A hug has the power to lower the cortisol levels and instantly make you feel less stressed. So if you feel stressed because of the pressure work and home bring, go ask someone for a hug and it might just be what you need to recharge.
This also means hugs promote overall good heart health by maintaining blood pressure and heart rate on a normal level.
3. Hugs release oxytocin.
Oxytocin is often referred to as the “love hormone.” Studies have shown that oxytocin levels go up when two people hug or engage in sexual activity. When it’s released, a person feels a wave of warmth that is said to be helpful in curbing stress and anxiety. Oxytocin helps in regulating our emotional responses so if it’s at a health level, we’ll be able to communicate positively and send out bonding cues that are comforting to our loved ones.
4. Hugs also boost other feel-good hormones such as dopamine and serotonin.
As if releasing oxytocin and lowering cortisol levels isn’t enough, hugs also release dopamine and serotonin. According to medicinenet.com, dopamine is a pleasure hormone that makes a person feel good and serotonin acts as an antidepressant that uplifts mood, controls anxiety, and reduces feelings of loneliness.
5. Hugs have the power to diminish fear.
Healthline reports that even touching or hugging an inanimate object such as a teddy bear or a pillow has already helped in reducing people’s fears about their mortality. People become less anxious about death even when just being touched gently.
6. Hugs reduce pain.
Therapeutic touch treatments have been proven to be effective in improving quality of life and reducing pain. It increases circulation into the soft tissues, making pain and aches go away.
7. Hugs help develop self-esteem.
A hug from our loved ones can help make us more confident and happy with ourselves. We are reminded of the human’s capacity for self-love that if others love us, then we should also learn to love ourselves a bit more.
8. Hugs help us communicate with other people.
What words can’t say, we can show through non-verbal communication. According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, touch can indicate a range of emotions from anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude, and sympathy.
A Happier Work Life
Since most of us work from home now, it’s easier to reach out for a kiss or a hug from our loved ones. Even when we are in dispute with each other, be the bigger person and ask for a hug to make amends and leave the past behind. It will do wonders for your life in general that includes healthier relationships with your friends, family, and a special someone.
To feel less stress at work and be more available to a loved one at home, make sure your workstation is free from clutter. Install storage solutions such as Flexispot’s Under Desk Drawer that can be mounted on any surface and immediately give you additional storage space without taking precious desk space. Flexispot also carries a mesh desk organizer that you may put on top of your desktop to organize desk items and give you a clean line of vision that helps in decluttering the mind. You may also opt to use your wall for more storage by installing floating shelves and keeping items within your reach.
So when your husband or boyfriend takes a break and approaches you for a hug, you’d be available and ready with a big smile on your face!
Humans are social beings and we should continuously find ways to meet our need for social interaction. If you think about it, 12 hugs a day isn’t really that much of a chore, especially if it helps us and the people we love have a better quality of life.