HOW MANY HUGS HAVE YOU HAD TODAY?
By now I’m sure you’ve all heard the Huggies commercial many times over relaying the message to its viewers about the importance of hugging. I’m also pretty sure that as you are reading this that you may have even started singing the lyrics to the song in your head. Huggies is sending out a very captivating and compelling message to their viewers and consumers alike through the power of advertising, letting everyone watching know that “we all need a hug in the morning and one at the end of the day, and as many as possible squeezed in between to keep life’s troubles at bay.” It finishes off by telling us that “it’s my belief that for instant relief, a hug is the best cure of all.”
Before this Huggies campaign ever began though, another individual from Australia started a social movement that involved holding up a large sign which simply read “Free Hugs”. He carried this sign with him in very large open spaces encouraging strangers to give and receive hugs from one another after a random hug from a stranger made an immense impact on a depressive period in his life. The outcome was incredible and this random act of kindness got him international attention, a youtube video produced and even a guest appearance on the Oprah show.
The reason that such advertisements and campaigns which I have mentioned above work so well is because there is actual scientific proof that a hug is good for you. From the moment that a baby is born we begin to create a bond with them in the form of a hug which can help strengthen their immune system and brain development while building the foundation for an intimate, loving and safe environment.
Hugging may begin at birth but you never outgrow it. Hugs become a part of our everyday lives right up until the day that we die. We give hugs to one another to show our happiness or excitement towards one another and many of us appreciate a welcomed hug when we are in need of comfort or feeling sad. It is probably the most universally used non-verbal gesture around spanning across every culture, every environment and every language; and the best part of all is that they are free.
Whether someone is feeling happy or sad a hug has so many health benefits (but in this day in age it’s often best to ask someone for permission to hug them if you are not in close relation to them!). A hug can help to relieve someone’s pain & suffering, help to dissipate their fear or anxiety, help to reduce their feelings of loneliness or isolation, help to reduce someone’s high blood pressure and help to bring an overall sense of security and happiness to a person’s well-being.
Yesterday was a very difficult day for me, a day that I haven’t felt in quite a long time, a day too hard to open up about at the moment and a day where I really needed a hug. But I am not always one to welcome a hug because I find sometimes it makes me feel very claustrophobic when someone is touching me and at the same time I can get extremely emotional. I find my mind begin to race when I receive a hug from someone, especially if that someone is a close friend or family member. Yet like yesterday when I needed a hug the most, and by allowing for that much needed hug to occur I immediately realized how important a hug truly is and how much a hug can truly benefit a person’s self-worth, a person feeling so hopeless and defeated can feel a sense of calm, and the longer the hug, the better.
According to Jack Canfield who is a renowned motivational speaker and probably best known as author of the “Chicken Soup For The Soul” books says (through research) that “People need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs for maintenance and 12 hugs for growth.” This seems like a worthy enough experiment for everyone to try (especially in the sad state of the world right now), one that shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish and really there is absolutely no harm in it, only healthy and hearty benefits. So happy hugging everyone!