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+91 97401 44286 205 Alphanso Estate, 5 Mangoe Lane, Kolkata
The Wonder Hug.

When did you last hug someone? How did you feel after the hug?

Today we are going to look at the wonders a Hug can do to us. There are a lot of articles and research studies available on how many times a person should be hugged or benefits of hugging and so on. My blog for today gives you the references of few such articles that you can go through but primarily it will highlight my perspective about hugging and make you think about the ‘Wonder Hug’.

Let’s start with some established scientific research which shows that hugging a person releases hormones like Oxytocin, Serotonin and Dopamine. These hormones released during a hug, make us feel relaxed, easy and take away a lot of stress and feelings of anxiety. (Detailed explanation in the links shared below).

My perspective: I believe the fact that hugs are highly comforting and relaxing and this is because when someone hugs us, they place their hands on our back and press us close to them and that itself triggers these feelings. Let us try to remember how we hold a baby. Our  hands are always on their back for support. When the baby cries we pick them up, carry them in our arms and gently press them close to us. Although this happens innumerable times throughout their childhood everytime the baby is hugged, almost immediately making them feel comforted and secured. I strongly believe a conditioning is formed, which is why even today when someone hugs us closely, we immediately get a feeling of security and relaxation.  

This is completely my belief. I welcome my reader’s perspectives and urge them to share it in the comments section below.

Now let’s see how a hug is also a nonverbal form of expression and communicates our emotions to others. Supposedly, if  you have been feeling extremely low at work and you wish to talk about it out to someone but you don’t, not being sure of who to talk to, how to start the discussion or simply by not wanting to bother others. But on your way home, you are greeted with a light hug by your friend, you will immediately feel better. This feeling of relaxation occurs because now you know there is someone who cares about you and you can open up to. Your reciprocal hug also initiates the discussion acting as an immediate ice breaker. There you go. The same principle applies when you are extremely happy and wish to share the feelings with those who matter. Hugging your close ones would increase the feelings and communicate the same to them.

I was never a hug person for a very long time and just like the traditional Indian culture goes, hugging was never a thing of practise in my family. The only person I remember hugging that too occasionally was my best friend or my cuddly soft-toys. It was only after I went to pursue my masters that I experienced a cultural shock, realising that its ok to hug someone regularly. I am extremely grateful to all my friends during those years who with their Morning hugs, Happy hugs, Feeling Low hugs, let’s get cheerful hugs and Evening hugs, Good Bye hugs (the list is endless) made me feel so comforted, relaxed and cheerful about everything around me. Being a little awkward at hugging initiall, to growing into someone who hugged long and tight, was a wonderful change I saw in myself. And that’s why I call it the ‘Wonder hug’. It brings a feeling of belongingness, security, trust and love and strengthens the bond between people. Be it a one on one hug or a group hug, both are equally very helpful for us today, where we all experience a lot of frustration, trust issues, insecurities, self-doubt, anxiety and so on.

Reach out to your family, friends, colleagues and anyone you hold dear and hug them, but yes only if they are comfortable with it. Their consent is very important otherwise you wont get the satisfaction of your Wonder hug especially if the other person does not reciprocate. Please do share your experiences of a hug that you remember the most and let people know how you felt about it and even if you haven’t had the experience of the ‘Wonder hug’ any till date, go and give your loved ones the ‘Wonder Hug’

Links of a few articles that can give you more insight on this article are attached below. Do check them out.

https://www.sott.net/article/291786-The-physiological-benefits-of-hugging

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/12/03/the-chemistry-of-hugging-11-benefits-of-hugging/

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/psychoanalysis-now/2016/02/the-psychology-of-a-hug/

LetSmile 

- Prachi Rathi

 

  Psychologist, Counsellor, Graphologist and Life Skills Trainer