Why I Hug You

Hugging

Okay, so maybe I haven’t hugged you (yet).   But here are a few of the reasons why I hug people, dogs, cats, horses, cows and even the rare, elusive, flying squirrel that I sometimes see in my backyard (although not so much since I stopped mixing Scotch with Orange Juice).  

Editor’s Note:  Danny doesn’t drink alcohol very often – he just likes taking shots at Scotch drinkers).

  1.  I have found that people who don’t like hugging are usually the kind of individuals that I have nothing in common.  It’s proven to be an efficient and reliable ‘friend filter’.
  2.  It’s a good way of checking to see if the person that you’re hugging is wearing body armour or a concealed gun.
  3.  It’s sometimes needed and can feel more sincere and meaningful than other means of greeting friends and family.
  4.  It’s the perfect thing to do to that cop who has just pulled you over for speeding.  The cop will still give you the ticket, but there’s a good chance that he’ll want to be your friend on Facebook.  

However, you might not agree with my rationale – so let’s look at what the science experts are saying about ‘hugging.’  The following is a (paste and copy) of an article I read in the Vega One newsletter this morning.  It gives the scientific argument for hugging, and it’s quite compelling – so here it is – read it and start hugging!

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Both romantic and platonic touch can be very healthy. Cuddling releases all the feel-good hormones we know and love: dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin. All of these increase our sense of well-being and happiness, and today we’re going to highlight the main touch hormone: oxytocin.

Your New Favorite “O”: Oxytocin

Hugging and cuddling initiates the release of the hormone oxytocin – which is linked to social bonding (especially between mother and child). But it also has other health benefits.

Here are the top four benefits of oxytocin:

  1. Oxytocin helps to reduce our blood pressure and stress levels—almost instantaneously.
  2. Oxytocin is anti-inflammatory
  3. Oxytocin brings us closer to those we know and love.
  4. Oxytocin enhances your overall well-being—beyond just a five-second hug.

In the majority of research, it appears that these benefits happen when you are familiar and trust the person you are touching. Hugging a stranger is likely not to have the same healthy benefits.

Ways to Get Your Cuddle in:

  • Hug a friend!

Next time you see a good friend or family member, give them a good, solid hug. You’ll both feel more connected.

  • Find a cat café

Can’t have a pet in your apartment? Cat Cafés are popping up around the world. Why NOT sip a cappuccino while you pet a furry friend?

  • Volunteer at a pet shelter

Besides granting immediate, unconditional love, cuddling with a furry friend is bound to make you feel good. Most pet shelters are in need of long-term volunteers. Committing to walking, socializing and caring for pets until they are adopted helps everyone out.

  • Get a massage

Not only will getting a massage make your sore muscles feel better, but the massage can also stimulate the release of oxytocin.

  • Take a warm bath

Don’t feel like being social? Pour yourself a hot bath and let yourself relax. Give yourself a shoulder massage. Phew—feeling better already!

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So now that I’ve given you proof – beyond a reasonable doubt – that hugging will not only brighten your spirits – it’s free, and there aren’t any calories.  So why are you still sitting there?  Get up and run out into the street and hug the first passer-by that you meet!

You’re welcome!

Hugs,

Danny