I'm Not a Hugger!

“It is never ridicule, but a compliment, that knocks a philosopher off his feet. He is already positioned for every possible counter-attack, counter-argument, and retort...only to find a big bear hug coming his way.” ― Criss JamiKillosophy

Those who know me well can attest that I am not a hugger. We all have our ways of showing we care, or our excitement and joy and for me hugging doesn't equate to that. Yesterday, I was shook to my core by the mere outpouring of gratitude from a child I've never met before.

My Pediatrics rotation ended roughly two weeks ago and throughout my rotation the only time I've ever been embraced by a child was once during the end of the first month of the rotation, so imagine my shock and confusion when during a regular Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic specifically whilst holding the door open for a child and her mother to exit, two long, scrawny arms made their way around my mid-waist and squeezed me as tightly as she possibly could. Either she was extremely elated by the fact that she could continue consuming ice-cream or she was sent to touch me.

As a medical student rotating through various specialties, I encounter persons in their most vulnerable state. Sharing a hug even though I'm not typically the one to initiate it, is something that offers comfort. Hugs are beneficial, especially if done right. Below I've shared 9 reasons why we need at least 8 hugs a day. The original post can be found here.

9 Reasons Why we Need at least 8 Hugs a Day.

1. Hugs offer a nurturing touch which leads to building trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication.

2. Hugs boost oxytocin levels INSTANTLY. This heals the feeling of loneliness, isolation and anger.

3. Holding a hug for an extended period of time, helps elevate one's serotonin levels that causes an elevation in mood and creates happiness.

4. Hugging boosts self-esteem. From the time we're born our family's touch shows us that we're loved and special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.

5. Hugging relaxes muscles. Hugs release tension in the body. Hugs can take away pain; they soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.

6. Hugs balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system - parasympathetic.

7. 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.

8. 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 and your feelings and your breath.

9. The energy exchange between the people hugging is an investment in the relationship. It encourages empathy and understanding. And, it's synergistic.

Be sure to hug someone today! It'll probably help in the dissolution of anger, loneliness or depression either in you or the recipient. 

No comments