“Millions and millions of years would still not give me half enough time to describe that tiny instant of all eternity when you put your arms around me and I put my arms around you.” — Jacques Prevert
I need a hug.
It’s been a year since I’ve had one, and I’m really feeling the mental and emotional strain of keeping my social distance from everything that moves. Our non contact lives have caused me increased anxiety and unfocused thoughts about the human condition or the state of the world in general.
Are hugs really that important?
I did a little digging and hear’s what I’ve learned. First, hugs reduce stress by showing support. Scientists say that giving another person support through touch can reduce the stress of the person being comforted. It can even reduce the stress of the person doing the comforting. Second, hugs may protect you against illness. The stress-reducing effects of hugging might also work to keep you healthier. Researchers believe that hugging may reduce the chance a person will get sick. Third, hugging can be good for your heart health, with greater reductions in blood pressure levels and heart rate. Fourth, hugs can make you happier. Oxytocin is a chemical in our bodies that scientists call the “cuddle hormone.” Its levels rise when we hug, touch, or sit close to someone else. Oxytocin is associated with happiness and less stress. And lastly, hugs help you communicate with others. Most human communication occurs verbally or through facial expressions. But touch is another important way that people can send messages to one another.
So I know, I know. The priorities are to get back to school and get back to work and get the economy back on track. But just give me a big hug. I promise to hug you back.