13 Feb
  • By elda

The Power of a Hug

I recently went to our second location to visit our staff. I don’t get over to The Rose Galleria often enough and when I do I get such a kick out of visiting with staff. That day was no different until one of my employees stood up from her desk and gave me a hug.

This was no ordinary hug. It was tight and strong and lasted a couple of moments longer than expected. It was a hug that said: “If I never get to hug you again I want you to know that I care about you.”

And, the memory of that hug stayed with me for days.

I’ve known about the power of a hug for decades. It was one of the first things Dr. Melillo preached about, telling everyone in our Rose Garden Breast Cancer Support Group that it was a scientific fact that hugs are not only good for the soul but also the body. “Hugs are good for the immune system.” She’d say as she encouraged everyone to finish our meeting with hugs all around. (From the women of the rose book)

It’s true! There is plenty of research to support that a hug actually increases our oxytocin levels which influence moods, behavior, and physiology. A hug has the ability to alleviate social anxiety and produce feelings of trust. It also has the peripheral ability to reduce stress.

In fact, some studies have researched the different benefits all the way down to the number of seconds involved—from the 20-second hug which reduces stress and impacts blood pressure and heart rate to the 10-second hug that fights infection to the most common 3-second hug found in all species. Simply type the words: ‘the medical benefits of hug’ into whatever search engine you use, and you’ll be amazed at all the research that has been done on hugs.

Perhaps Psychotherapist Virginia Satir said it best: “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

Research or not, I know that employee’s hug raised my spirits and brightened my day in a way nothing else could have.

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