Monday, November 23, 2015

Have You Had Your Hug Today?

On the morning that we departed from the FOL Gather in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago, Carol and I shared a cab to the airport. Since the terminal for Carol’s airline was first, I hopped out of the car when she did to give her a good-bye hug. Imagine my surprise when I got back in the car and the cabbie asked, ‘You hug your friend?’ I replied that, yes, since we only get to see one another about once a year, we hug whenever we are together. Imagine my further surprise when we got to my terminal and I got out only to be greeted by the cabbie with open arms asking, ‘Hug?’

I assure you, I am old enough to be his mother -- or more -- but it did get me thinking about this hugging thing. So naturally, I did a little research and here are just a few of the things I learned.

  • Hugging can lower your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease.
  • A good, warm hug may boost your immune system and reduce risk of infection.
  • Hugging has also been shown to reduce stress. (I can attest to this. Whenever I’m feeling stressed or just plain sorry for myself, I tell my husband I need a hug and I soon begin to feel better.)

Cuddling with people you love counts as well. Like hugging, it helps reduce the harmful physical effects of stress. And we’ve all heard stories, I'm sure, about critically ill babies who don’t thrive because they can’t be cuddled by their mothers. Now doctors have learned that even letting mothers stroke their babies with a finger can help offset the lack of cuddle time.

Sadly, many of our elderly people are actually touch-deprived. Think about it. An example of this is my own mother, who at 87 years old, lives alone and 700 miles away from where I live. While my brother and his family are able to visit her about once a week and hug her when they do, that’s not really a whole lot of hugging. Knowing my mom, I’m rather sure she doesn’t hug the home nursing aide who comes to her home each morning. And I’m sure you know elderly people who are in the same boat. Maybe we should have an FOL crusade to each find an elderly person and hug him or her!

And, for you pet lovers, the good news is, hugging and cuddling with your pets counts, too, and can reap all the benefits we’ve already talked about. Additionally, you’ll feel your pet’s unconditional love.

So, in this holiday season (and after!), let’s do a whole lot of hugging. Remember, it’s good for your health and for the people you love.


AFishGirl said...

I think about hugging and touch a lot. I think of it when I see my clients (some of whom I hug). Some of them may not hug anyone for months on end. It is something I think about a lot and always have. Even a touch on the arm can mean so much to someone. This is a timely post, Dotti. I hug you from afar, with great gusto.

terriporter said...

Hugs are the best! They're so universal -- you can hug a friend, a spouse, a child, even a stranger. A hug ends up making both the giver and the recipient feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That photo on top of me hugging Barbara makes me happy and thanks for capturing that. And I love the ones of big and little C giving hugs to her mom and the dog. Sweet! So forget about the apples. A hug a day keeps the doctor away!

kelly said...

oh i am total hugger! love giving them and love receiving them. thank you for this virtual hug...sending some love right backatcha! xoxoxo

Viv@Thoughts from the Desktop said...

When I first met my mother in law to be the first thing she did was hug me . We are all huggers in my familly and I have noticed that all my grown up childrens friends hug each other all the time it is so lovely

Carol said...

I love this story -one detail left out -did you hug the cab driver????
I once went to a conference where the teacher said in the intro. "Im warning you all -Im a hugger, so I hope you wont be unvomfortable!" (He lived up to his name!). I am a hugger, and I love to meet a hugger -its what life is all about!

Dotti said...

You bet I did, Carol!

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