Heal and Be Healed: Give Hugs to One Another

by Percival J. Meris on August 9, 2009

Hugging Friends

MANY OF US DO NOT REALIZE THAT LIFE ON EARTH IS A JUST BUNDLE OF ILLUSIONS. One such illusion is that we as individuals are separate entities from one another. The stark reality is that we are all one, parts of the same fabric of energy permeating this entire creation.

We are alone in our separate bodies. Yet, we are connected to each other biologically, to the world chemically, and to the universe atomically. We all live through the power of connection. To belong and get our needs met, we must recognize this fact.

Our illusions lead us to think that we should live apart from one another. Because of this, we choose to handle our problems on our own, at times excluding the people we love – the people with whom we interact during the greater part of our day. Especially with these people we love, we need to connect mutually on a deeply intimate level in most aspects of our relationships.

Hugging: The Most Intimate Form of Connection

Touch is a primary way we connect with each other. Human beings thrive on touch, and often languish without it. And what deeper form of connection is there than touching in its most intimate form – hugging?

Through hugging, a form of communication uncomplicated by words, we are able to convey our deepest and truest feelings to one another. Hugging adds power to speaking and listening, because our skins, every centimeter of which is sensitive to touch, can perceive care and reassurance in a manner that no word or body language can convey.

Benefits of Hugging

Hugging benefits the hugger and the hugged in more ways than we could imagine. The benefits encompass the physical, psychological, and social realms of our beings.

Physically, hugging reduces stress, invigorates the body, strengthens the immune system, promotes natural healing, and prolongs life. Psychologically, it satisfies our profound need for touch, and supplies our souls with the nutrients of affection that we need for our mental health and emotional well-being. Socially, it brings about greater harmony, closer bonding, and fewer conflicts in our relationships.

Ways of Hugging

There are different types of hugging for different occasions. They vary in duration, touch base, and level of enthusiasm.

There are the bear hug, the a-frame hug, the cheek hug, and the group hug. We see hugging at departure time at the airport, or when friends reunite after a long time, or when lovers meet at the park.

A real hug is full-body, touching all the bases, and frontal with both arms. It could be done sideways with one arm, as well.

Rules for Hugging

As a general rule, limit your hugs only to friends and acquaintances, remembering to respect their spaces or personal beliefs. Preferably, hug for at least 20 seconds, delivering care and compassion and not a show of strength. Do not just go through the motion, but relish every moment of it. Know your boundaries, and never cross it. Before hugging a person whom you are not close with, be sure to ask his permission first.

A hug is the most powerful healing you can offer another. It is the most powerful healing you can give yourself too. So, seek out a friend or a family member who is in the crossroads of his life. Comfort him with the simple use of your two arms. Wrap him around, and immediately feel the connection with another kindred soul.

Family therapist Virginia Satir had this to say: “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Try it and see for yourself just how powerful and miraculous this simple gesture can be.


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