Hugging is always a hot topic at work and in my family. This blog will be about giving and wanting a hug. I am a hugger. I have people in my life that I love that are not huggers and they will let you know that they are not huggers. This is something I don’t understand. Giving someone a hug has many health benefits. In preparing for my blog, I did a study on hugging. What I found was very interesting.

First let’s define what a hug is from Wikipedia.

A hug is a form of endearment, universal in human communities, in which two or more people put their arms around the neck, back, or waist of one another and hold each other closely. Depending on culture, context and relationship, a hug can indicate familiarity, love, affection, friendship, brotherhood or sympathy. .A hug can indicate support, comfort, and consolation, particularly where words are insufficient. A hug usually demonstrates affection and emotional warmth.  A hug can range from a brief one second squeeze, with the arms not fully around the friend to an extended holding. The length of a hug in any situation is socially and culturally determined. Unlike some other types of physical contact, a hug can be practiced publicly and privately without stigma in many countries, religions and cultures, within families, and also across age and gender lines, but is generally an indication that people are familiar with each other. An unexpected hug can be regarded as an invasion of a person’s personal space, but if it is reciprocated it is an indication that it is welcome. Some Western culture commentators advise avoiding hugs at work to prevent uncomfortable moments, especially with people who dislike hugging.

In my research, I was happy to find out that there are many health benefits from hugging. I am all for being healthy. One study has shown that hugs increase levels of oxytocin and reduce blood pressure. Did you know that a 20-second-or-longer hug releases oxytocin? Oxytocin is a hormone and has various social and physiological functions in the brain and the body, but is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone” due to its role in social bonding. Hugging someone reduces stress, eases depression, it has been proven to fight infections. Hugging is very healthy for you.

I hug my wife every day. I like hugging and holding her.  I always will hug people I love. I also will hug strangers, and I have done that in the past. I want to join the Free Hugs Campaign it is a social movement involving individuals who offer hugs to strangers in public places. The hugs are meant to be random acts of kindness—selfless acts performed just to make others feel better. International Free Hugs Month is celebrated on the first Saturday of July and continues until August first. So it will be a full month of constant hugs. Are you in need of a hug? If you see me, just ask.

Hugs just make you feel better. A complete stranger came up to me the other day in Canby and asked if I was Paul Raymo. I told her I was. She then preceded to give me a long hug! I immediately felt loved, peaceful, and wanted by a complete stranger! I asked her why the hug?  She told me that she lives in Florida and had read one of my blogs and in my blog I had asked for a hug. She really made my day! Hugs can be powerful. One of my best memories of a hug, was a family group hug at a family reunion. Fifteen to twenty of us participated in a large goodbye group hug. I have a picture of that long family group hug. It felt so good. I want to encourage all of you to give someone a hug today!

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