Hugging, the cuddle hormone is back in action. Did you know hugging creates a feeling of calmness and relaxation. That’s because of oxytocin, which is sometimes called the “cuddle hormone.” Oxytocin is released when people or pets snuggle up or bond socially. This release can have a domino effect throughout the body and has been found to:
- Reduce inflammation.
- Improve wound healing.
- Lessen cravings for drugs, alcohol, and sweets.
- Lower heart rate and stress.
That’s great news for huggers who are now feeling pretty liberated in the past few weeks as Covid restrictions have lifted. Raised by demonstrative huggers, I have sorely missed the hugging dance. I couldn’t be happier that hugging is back..
I grew up with Dad hugs. My sisters and I are big huggers. My boys and I never greet without a hug. This is just who we are. For huggers like me, it’s an unselfconscious and delightful interaction. However, it’s glaringly obvious being greeted by a non-hugger as their posture sets off alarms to step back and stay away. Sadly, all humans became non-huggers moving into self-preservation protective mode over these past two years and a sad void lingered in the empty space between.
For huggers, we had to work hard to retrain ourselves. It’s just not automatic NOT to hug. Learning to become a non-hugger has required training. We huggers have had to retrain and restrain our auto-hugs. Even hugging dogs was risky as I learned when the neighbor’s cute pup jumped into my arms in spring of 2020. “We don’t know if dogs can transfer Covid,” she said.
“Don’t, don’t, don’t raise your arms, stay still, don’t….don’t do it,” my brain was in training as a coached myself into submission. And for two years, like many, I have felt an uncomfortable void as I raised an elbow to brush against a dear friend’s.
Miraculously, the world opened again last week. We saw no masks walking down Main Street in Park City where we spend out winters. People everywhere were close talking again. Hugs could be seen everywhere. It was as though fairy dust has been sprinkled on our little town.
Last Wednesday a dear friend invited me to join her girlfriends to cross country ski. We spent an hour or so skiing around the track, gabbing and connecting and doing what humans do. And when it came time to part, every single sweaty one of us hugged goodbye. The icy chill of this 2 year hugging freeze melted away. . There was no permission asked, there was no hesitation, there were just hugs. And it felt right.
If you haven’t watched this video or heard this song, rejoice, if you’re ready to step out and hug this will give you a huge life.