Virginia Satir: We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.
I have a lot of friends. That makes me happy. I’m especially happy that I have some friends who like to hug.
Looking back on this past week, starting one week ago today, I have received or given hugs six out of seven days. (I would have been hard-pressed to give the dermatologist or the flu-shot-giving nurse hugs that day.) I was hugged about 16 times. If I add in tomorrow and the weekend, that’s another 15 hugs. I managed to get my minimum daily allowance of hugs this week, and I’ll work on adding more next week.
There are chemical benefits to giving and receiving hugs. For instance, a hug helps build trust and a sense of safety, which helps with honest communication. Also, hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger. (You can also boost your oxytocin levels by looking into a cat’s eyes. If you know me at all, my oxytocin better come from a hug!)
Hugs can also strengthen the immune system. Hugs relax muscles by releasing tension in the body and can take away pain. I’m just now learning about guided imagery and meditation, and it’s good to know that hugs are so much like meditation and laughter. We learn to let go and be present in the moment.
When I see you next, will you give me a hug? I’ll save one for you. (By the way, I only included the photo above because it related to my story.)