I'm writing a mini-series about ways to alleviate the bleak midwinter blues of January - making resolutions that are energising, living as well as you dare, sleeping (hibernating?!) and lots of people have added their own ideas as to what helps. (Why not sign up to get the posts delivered straight into your inbox so as not to miss anything?)
But I've noticed over this past week 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. And then suddenly a picture popped up on Facebook (see above) which talks about cuddling. Suddenly, cuddling 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 emailed the picture to my husband. I think he is now feeling a lot better .....!!
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.
And I thought again of 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.
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!