When you’re feeling very stressed and don’t know which way to turn, a good hug can be a beautiful way for you to ground yourself and bring you back to a more balanced state. A hug from someone you know who in not caught up in the same event or situation that is the cause of your stressed state, is by far the best person to ask to support you.

A hug transfers energy and gives the person hugged an emotional lift.

Psychotherapist Virginia Satir said, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

Scientists say that hugging is a form of silent communication because it can say things you don’t have the words for. And the nicest thing about a supportive hug is that when someone is giving you one you usually relax and you can feel the stress leaving your body.

Advantages of Hugging

• Ecologically sound
• Energy efficient
• Completely portable
• Requires no special equipment
• Demands no special setting
• Imparts feeling of belonging
• Fills up empty spaces in our lives
• Effects last for hours, days and years
• Requires no special training to deliver or receive

Effects of Hugging

Increases the release of the “love or happy hormone” oxytocin, which is released in response to physical touch. The neuropeptide oxytocin, released by your pituitary gland, is a naturally occurring hormone in your body with incredibly powerful, health-giving properties.
Decreases the production of cortisol from your adrenal glands which is often called the “harmful hormone”
• Decreases your blood pressure
• Decreases your heart rate
Reduces stress

Remember, whenever you are over stressed or distressed, seek out a family member, friend or colleague and engage in a life enhancing and stress reducing hug.

By Dr John Hinwood
for the Stress to Strength team

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