The Hug: Embracing the Return of the Forbidden

Photo Hug

You other huggers out there know just what I mean. Before COVID, not a day would go by when I wasn’t hugging someone, somewhere. Friend, family, total stranger; it was my instinctive way of communicating. I don’t know about you, but I’m having difficulty trading that in for an elbow bump. 

According to Wikipedia, the verb hug was first used in the 1560s and has two origins. Either it was based on the Norse word hugga, meaning to comfort or the German word hegen(to cherish). Either way, the word/action soon came to be the universal sign of comfort and an acceptable norm in public. 

Whatever type of hug (bear, romantic, polite, group, intimate, back, etc.): what defines a good hug? 
– Open your arms
– Hug like you mean it
– Lean and breathe into it
– Don’t squeeze too hard

Hugs have long been undervalued for their free, quick and easy way to share any emotion. What better way to communicate a greeting, goodbye, congratulations, affection, to console or to unite a team or performers?

The act of hugging releases oxytocin (aka “the cuddle hormone”) in the brain. A 20 second hug is known to slow down our heart rate, improve our mood, alleviate stress and lower our blood pressure. Someone touching you activates the pressure receptors that send signals to the brain associated with pleasure and reward, similar to chocolate. 

All is not lost without that sweet treat. The key is to provide ourselves some comfort. You can hug yourself, squeeze a pillow or cuddle with your pets. Petless? I’ve read that cow hugging has actually become a new trend. As other animals follow in this movement, just a reminder that a bear hug has to do with the type of hug and is not in any way related to the animal itself. 

If you are fortunate enough to not be living alone right now, take full advantage and hug the heck out of your roommates. Take care to exercise some restraint, lest you care to compete with a Canadian couple who in 2010 entered The Guinness Book of Records for the longest hug recorded: 24 hours and 33 minutes. 

Author’s Note:
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to like it and share i

4 thoughts on “The Hug: Embracing the Return of the Forbidden

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s