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What Hugs Can Do For You

Written by: Alex Knysh, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Do you know the power of a hug?


I recently met a beautiful friend for a coffee and stroll. We hadn’t seen each other for a few weeks so there was lots of catch-up on with all of our news. During our conversation, it really struck me how much I love our friendship and how grateful I am to have this fabulous lady in my life, with her support, encouragement, love, and most of all, great hugs!

I think within one and a half hours, we hugged each other around six times while we were sharing exciting news, stories and lifting each other up. That is the most hug I have had in a long time! You see, I live on my own with my cat, so for me to receive a hug from a fellow human, I must go out and seek it. Usually, it happens when I am catching up with friends, however, mostly the hug consists of a quick hello and that is that.


When I am home, I fill my hugging quota with my cat (usually it is me forcing her to comply with my lavish affection) and while that is great (and I love squishing her so much), it is different from reciprocal human interaction and connection.


So, what is in a hug?


A hug is a powerful healer, which releases oxytocin into your bloodstream, and helps to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, making you relax and feel good.


Hugs are a natural emotional healer as they raise your levels of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin in your brain which lifts your mood instantly and makes you feel happy.


When you hug someone, you are naturally aligned with their nervous system, so it calms any negative emotions, allowing you both to relax, and strengthen your connection.


There are so many wonderful and healthful benefits to hugs:

  • Hugs help to build trust and confidence.

  • They help reduce feelings of loneliness, fear, and anxiety.

  • Hugs help you to feel forgiveness for the other person if there have been miscommunications.

  • They help to improve self-esteem.

  • Hugs help you feel loved and supported.

  • Physically, hugging boosts your immune system so you can fight infection and fatigue.

  • Hugging lowers your blood pressure, therefore lowering your heart rate in stressful situations

  • Hugs help to reduce the risk of heart disease and other illnesses.

  • Hugs may also help to reduce pain and increase the quality of life.

  • There are so many benefits!

I find it interesting reflecting within myself that during the height of dealing with autoimmune diseases many years ago, I felt unsupported and unloved. I was not receiving the kinds of human interaction, connection, and hugs that I was craving and needed. I spent far too much time on my own, in sickness and it was a really miserable time in my life.


Now, years later, after going through an amazing transformational healing process, I have developed an incredibly close community who love and support me fully and my autoimmune response is minimal. See how hugs can heal?


Prominent Psychotherapist Virginia Satir tells us that hugging is so important for our health and we should be aiming to have four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance, and twelve hugs a day for growth.


Does that make you want to hug more now?


And how long should we aim to hug for?


A ten-second hug leads to significant improvements in your health so make sure you fill your quota today. Make it last. Make it count.


I gave and received six hugs that morning with my beautiful friend, and most days I have about twelve hugs a day (or more) with my cat, so I am doing well so far!


In recent times of pandemic, we have become accustomed to social distancing and the narrative which told us being close to others is bad for us. With quarantining and isolation on the rise, many people are feeling distanced and disconnected from others, which is causing a rise in mental health disorders and has even made people fearful of physical touch and hugging.


As humans, we long for human touch and connection, in fact, it’s part of our basic needs for survival, so it’s vital to stay connected and hugged to your loved ones.


Considering that hugs lower your blood pressure and stress hormones, and help you to feel safe, loved, and connected, hugging those closest to you is a great place to start. The positive and healthful effects of hugging will greatly impact your life on so many levels.


If you want to talk more about becoming more reconnected with yourself and others, please do reach out to me.


Want more help finding happiness within? Get in touch via my website or on Facebook or Instagram.


 

Alex Knysh, Executive Contributor, Brainz Magazine

Alex Knysh is an Energy Leader & Self-Love Coach, supporting women to live their passion and purpose through the journey of connecting deep within and discovering self-love.


Alex is passionate about helping people develop more confidence, clarity, and connection.


With 6 years of experience coaching and leading groups, running workshops and events, Alex is also the founder of Better Life Solutions, a group inspiring people globally to be the best versions of themselves.


When she is not helping clients discover their own inner brilliance, you will find her exploring nature and sitting on the shores of the beautiful beaches of her hometown of Sydney.

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