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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

The Importance of a Hug

There's nothing like a mama-hug. Terri Guillemets

My mother found an article on the importance of being hugged several times each day and that was all the ammunition she needed. We were always very careful to hug and kiss her when we came home and left the house, but now she had scientific facts that not only was this the respectful thing to do, it was physically beneficial. I love the idea of receiving a daily dose of hugs. The physical benefits of oxytocin reduce stress and one study even concluded that people who are hugged regularly are better able to fight colds. Hugs are so necessary.

Encouraging Hugs

All of my grandparents died before I was 6 months old so I am reaching on this one but from time to time, I need a grandmother’s hug. A big enveloping, make the world go away, it’s going to be alright, you have to go out for the 12th round, hug. Just someone to say, come on girl, you are doing well. Keep going, you can get this done. This reminds me of the scripture Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses… In my imagination, I see them saying keep going, you can make it. And giving me a tremendous bear hug.

Encouraging Stars

When my guys were younger and I needed some encouragement, I would look up at the stars. I love how every star knows where it is supposed to be and dazzles the night with its brilliance. Then I would think about the generations of women whose responsibility it was to make sure that the next generation survived. The conditions of their lives were much more harrowing than mine. There’s no one violating my body, putting limits on my freedom, or defining my future. These decisions are all in my hands. It is at this moment that I think if these women made sure I got here, with no electricity, modern appliances and without amendments 14, 15 and 19 to the Constitution, I have nothing to complain about. I imagine those wonderful women sending me hugs from the heavens. Keep going lady.

Hugs = Hormone Therapy

During our church services, we stop and have a hug feast (the official title is meet and greet). The choir sings and we go around the church and hug each other…Oxytocin! That helps, especially when the fellas were away. Have you ever seen the Women of Brewster Place? There is a scene in this movie when a woman loses her child. (The child sticks a metal object into an outlet while her parents are arguing and is electrocuted.) The mom is overcome with grief to the point that it looks like her anguish was stifling her breathing. Mattie, the character played by Oprah Winfrey, hugs the grieving mom and says come on; I need you to come back now. Basically Mattie was hugging her back to life. I so identify with those hugs.

Research show how your body reacts to hugs. It reduces the stress/fat belly hormone – cortisol and increases the feel good hormone oxytocin. When I hug my guys, I also get a good sniff of them, too. The best hugs are multi-sensory, so get out there and hug, kiss, and sniff somebody today.

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