Hugging…

The past year of dealing with the Covid-19 crisis has reminded most people of the need to hug or even feel a friendly touch. A survey before the pandemic hit was conducted by the BBC. The BBC Touch Test was conducted in 112 countries and included 40,000 participants. Half said that they did not get enough physical contact with people. They were referring to contact as simple as an arm around the shoulder to a sympathetic touch. During the pandemic, the number increased to over 60% and is now referred to by the term “Touch Starvation”. Hugging is one of the first sensations we experience as a baby and is necessary for humans to flourish. Hugging increases oxytocin and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. These hormones affect cardiovascular health, sleep, mental health and weight along with reducing anxiety. According to an article published in “Psychological Science” people who give or get hugs often are less likely to get sick. This is the reason why therapy animals exist. A person who doesn’t have a companion or has lost one can receive the same positive effect of hugging by snuggling on a couch with a dog. Just don’t go around giving hugs to strangers you may meet on the street.