Are you a hugger?
Or do you dislike the invasion of your personal space?
My mother often told me that she loved to hug me when I first arrived - a tiny wrapped-in-white bundle; and she always wistfully added : "but you alway pushed me away; even from the start you didn't like being hugged!"
Gerrrr-offfff! I would growl as she tried to hug me when I was older.
And even now I struggle with hugs.
But I've noticed over this past weeks that, according to my site stats, a lot of people have found my blog because they were searching for "hug" or "hugging" or "bear hug" - and I wrote about those earlier last summer. Why are so many searching on the internet for 'hugs' and 'hugging?" Maybe we'd do better to get off the internet and go and hug someone for real?
And then a picture popped up on Facebook ....
... talking about cuddling. Suddenly, I learn that cuddling and hugging is important - for killing depression (oh, January blues all right) relieving anxiety and strengthening the immune system. Cuddling, hugging - what's in a name? (maybe the length of time spent doing it?)
I'm re-writing a mini-series about ways to alleviate the bleak midwinter blues of January - thinking of ideas as to what might help us through this long sometimes-gloomy month. (Why not sign up to get the posts delivered straight into your inbox so as not to miss anything? Fill in the box at the top right hand corner of this page)
Apparently, hugs are healing. Heart rate slows, blood pressure stabilises, immune system improves. Virginia Satir, American author and psychotherapist said we need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance, twelve hugs a day for growth. Hugging increases oxytocin, especially in women, and so can lessen stress because it decreases the levels of cortisol , the fight or flight hormone.
What's not to like?
If you are feeling the January blues, maybe it's time to start hugging and cuddling? A hug can relieve stress, prolong life, increase healthy levels in the body.
At any time, you are 50% of a good cuddle. Find a friend, a family member, maybe a small child, and give them a good hug - and/or a cuddle.
Remember the Good Shepherd - carrying His lambs close to His Heart. (Isaiah 40:11)
- How He wept because the people were tired and confused, like sheep without a Shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)
- And how He has no hands now but our hands – to hug and hold and help.
One of the things I've noticed when we have people on retreat at The Vine * is that often they are need of some prayer - and a hug. Being Christ's hands to hold someone, to convey care and prayer through a touch, a hug. A huge privilege.
Have you hugged anyone today? Been hugged?
Might you try? Might I? (and ask first, if you're not sure whether someone likes to be hugged - some are wary of being touched)
Please hug me if you see me … I’m learning to hug back!
And if there’s someone you want to hug but are not sure … or they are far away …
send them this?
BONUS: 3 hugs a day apparently makes you live longer!
*THE VINE at MAYS FARM:
COME WITH A GROUP
BRING YOUR FRIENDS
YOUR SMALL GROUP
YOUR LEADERSHIP TEAM