How many hugs a day do you give?
How many hugs a day do you receive?
It matters more than you think. See, Virginia Satir was a pioneer in family therapy; even heralded as the “mother” of the specialty. She said there is such a thing as not enough hugs...but never too many.
4 hugs per day for survival
8 hugs per day for maintenance
12 hugs per day for growth
In our always busy, no time for anything lifestyles, we’ve become a fairly touch-deprived society. We aren’t hugging, nor receiving, enough hugs. Our health is also, generally, kind of abysmal. According to science, there’s a lot to be gained from what one study called “warm touch.” They found the sweet spot to be 20 seconds of continuous hugging.
During a hug, we release oxytocin, a hormone that relaxes us and lowers anxiety. It’s often called the “cuddle hormone,” and when it’s released during these 20-second hugs it can effectively lower blood pressure and reduce the stress hormone norepinephrine.
The long and short? Good, long hugs are good for your heart!
Regular hugging with those closest to you yields a lot of positive health benefits that you really can’t live without. Those who enjoyed more affectionate relationships and had greater support were less likely to get sick, and if they did get sick, the symptoms weren’t as severe.
Hugs are also associated with reducing pain. So maybe instead of kissing boo-boos, you should just hug ‘em out.
And hugs kind of squash stress, which, when we are living with too much, leads to a whole detrimental list of health problems like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
The CEO of barre3, Sadie Lincoln, talks openly about the hug routine she shares with her husband. They never leave for work before embracing in a 20-second hug. She calls the moment of physical touch “nourishing” and says that they both “crave” the contact. She even said, “we both calm the eff down!”.
Sound terrible? Don’t fancy yourself a hugger? It’s time to embrace it! Start by hugging those closest and most familiar to you to get more comfortable with the physical contact.
And you can be generous with your hugs. When those around you are down, facing hard times, or going through a painful life event, offer a hug. We often feel helpless in these situations, but this is one thing you can do that makes you both feel better.