Those who know me and have worked with me know that I hug like it’s my job. Now granted, when you are 6’2” and dark-skinned, you have to be careful about going in too aggressively. But once I know that you are not the kind of person to put me on a restraining order from the court, the game is on. Why?
Why not! The art of hugging is extremely healthy for your brain. Oh, I know that it is not for everyone and that not everyone is comfortable with that personal space invasion. I respect that. But hear me out for a minute. National Hugging Day, celebrated on January 21st, is not just a day for free hugs at the mall. It’s a scientifically backed celebration of human touch and connection. And in a world smothered in conflict, controversy, and threats, we desperately need to find ways to treat each other with greater respect and support. Now, before you go on a hugging spree, remember the golden rule: consent is key. Make sure your hug-ee is on board for the therapy.
When you hug someone, your brain releases oxytocin, often nicknamed the ‘bonding hormone‘. This delightful little chemical plays a huge role in bonding and trust. It’s like your brain’s way of baking cookies for your soul – warm, comforting, and oh-so-satisfying. Oxytocin lowers stress and anxiety, making you feel like you’re floating on a cloud of calmness. Who knew a hug could be a mini spa day for your brain?
Hugging also decreases levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Incorporating appropriate hugging into your lifestyle will boost your immune system and your sense of well-being. In my upcoming book on how to build your best brain, we go into greater detail about the biology and psychology of developing habits that promote resilience and well-being. A hug says, “I’m here for you,” creating a sense of belonging and community.
Hugging is not just a heartwarming gesture; it’s a brain-boosting, health-enhancing, mood-lifting powerhouse. Whether it’s a bear hug, a side hug, or even a virtual hug, each one counts. So, be looking for ways that you can, with permission, join in mutual therapy and change the world one hug at a time.
Live Long and Laugh Often.
CEO (Chief Excitement Officer since 1989)
The Edwards Groups, LLC
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