I’m not what one would call a huggy or touchy-feely type of person. I tend to hug for only a brief moment and then that’s about it. To make up for that lack of hug power, I use my smile instead, which I always hope conveys my sincerity.
We often hear about the power of a touch, a smile or a hug and how these simple gestures can do so much to heal and uplift us. This truth was really driven home during the pandemic, when in a flash, so many people lost that human touch — that connection that is so vital to our physical, mental and spiritual health.
“The average duration of a hug between two people is 3 seconds. But researchers discovered when a hug lasts 20 seconds, it produces a therapeutic effect on the body and mind. A sincere hug produces oxytocin, the love hormone.
This wonderful tranquilizer is offered for free every time you take a person in your arms, cradle a child, caress an animal or dance with our partner. Today, get someone in your arms for 20 seconds, make this simple gift.”
– Nicole Bordeleau
20 seconds is all it takes to activate that love hormone. As it turns out, scientists have concluded that touch, especially hugging, is vital for humans and animals alike. We crave and require touch for our well-being. According to Verywell Mind, if we don’t get enough hugs (or substantial human touch), there are some real dangers, such as:
Hugging activates the same reward centers in our brain as eating does, so if you’re not getting physical affection, you may feel like you’re starved for touch. Not receiving enough physical affection is correlated with:
- Alexithymia (trouble feeling emotions)
- Attachment issues
- Personality disorders
- Physical pain
- Poor sleep quality
I don’t know if I can become more of a huger and since the pandemic, I imagine people are still a little apprehensive about getting too close, but I still want to try harder. I think we forget just how vitally important touch and connection is to humans and animals, so whenever we can, I think a longer, more compassionate hug is in order.
“Everybody needs a hug. It changes your metabolism.” – Leo Buscaglia
“When the right person hugs you, it’s like medicine. I’m so grateful for those few people in my life who are good for my soul.” – Steve Maraboli