The Power of a HUG!
The No Bullsh*t Series: HUG!
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Do you know how powerful a hug is?
verb (used with object), hugged, hugging.
to clasp tightly in the arms, especially with affection; embrace.
to cling firmly or fondly, to cherish.
to keep close to, as in sailing, walking, or in moving along or alongside of:
to hug the shore; to hug the road.
verb (used without object), hugged, hugging.
5. to cling together; lie close.
syn: embrace, clasp, cradle, love, receive, cuddle, to take in ones arms
Ant: free, reject, release, let go, push away
(as a noun)
6. a tight clasp with the arms; embrace.
Syn: caress, clutch, lock, squeeze
Ant: push, release
Hug O’ War
I will not play at tug o’ war
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses
And everyone grins
And everyone cuddles
And everyone wins.
~by Shel Silverstein
Thanks Shel! So adorable, so simple and yet so profound.
What is your approach to others?
Are you playing the “tug o’ war”….battling people and circumstances trying to fit your square views into the circle of life? By continually tugging, you are littering yourself with stress, anxiety, impatience, bringing about defensiveness, frustrations and eventually resignation.
Or are you living the “hug o’ war”? Allowing yourself to be vulnerable, loving and graciously flowing with the day embracing life, perfuming it with happiness, connection, purpose and compassion? (Check in with that are a moment.)
“This is crazy Will!! How can a simple hug(s) change my experience!?”
Great question! Let’s go down the ‘Hug-a-hole’.
When we hug a whole cascade of events trigger the release of oxytocin into our bloodstream. Oxytocin is described as the “love” or “cuddle” hormone and also is known as the “moral molecule.” The simplest and fastest way to release it’s greatness is through a HUG!
A hug creates a powerful sensation in our bodies and also has rippling effect within the environment around us. Here is what happens when we hug and oxytocin is released:
Calming of our nervous system, especially helpful if you’re feeling anxious.
Boosts positive emotions.
Lowers our blood pressure and heart rate.
Reduces the cravings of drugs and alcohol addiction, as well as for sweets.
Lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, enabling a higher quality of sleep and decreased rate of thinking.
Increases our social bonding and a sense of belonging.
And brings a feelings of trust and generosity as well.
And all this brought to you by the natural act of hugging. Yes I say “natural” because hugging re-enforces our core needs of love and belonging. We are all hardwired to connect and we can’t survive without one another. Think about the times when we hug without being conscious of it:
Mourning the loss of a loved one
When we are scared or frightened
When we haven’t see someone for a long time
When in love
When joyous, etc
For many of us our poor social conditioning gets in our way of hugging. I have German and Italian heritage in my blood. The German, “Schneider”, side of my family is very loving and supportive but hugging amongst men is frowned upon growing up and seen as weakness. A firm, “I am trying to impress you,” handshake was the norm. (This macho-ness is slowly changing. I hug them all now whether like it or not.
But my “Filoreto”, Italian roots are the opposite. Everyone hugs on hello’s, goodbye’s and the special moments in between. What would my life have been like without this part of my family? I’m thankful I don’t know.
TOOLS FOR TRANSFORMATION:
According “Dr. Love” Paul Zak: “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
Let your friends and family maybe even your co-workers know the power of a hug and how it will help both of you shift your experience. Then go for it! EMBRACE! Yes it may be awkward at first but, but again the choice is yours. It’s never hurts to ask. (Please don’t be sleazy about it. They can feel it.)
Rumi pops into my head here. He says:
“Very little grows on jagged rock, be ground, be crumbled so that wildflowers will come up where you are. You have been stony for too many years. Try something different, surrender.”
I invite you to surrender your fruitless ego, soften, and go after fulfilling 8-12 hugs per day. You’re not being selfish or insecure, you are actually helping all of humanity by connecting and reminding us of what’s most important, each other.
FINDING IT IN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE?
What about practicing some self-love in Apanasana. This is typically a hip opening and spinal lengthening posture but you can give an extra squeeze and a “thank you” to yourself for practicing more mindfulness and care. If you can, take it deeper; clasp opposite elbows across the middle of your shins and bring your forehead to your knees maybe take some “…rolls on the rug” giving you a mini back massage.
Second option: Get to know other students at the studio where you practice and eventually give them a hug letting them know about your daily hug goal and it soulful importance.
Third option: Hug your yoga teacher! No explanation necessary. Compassion is the basis of yoga. I would love one next time I see you!
Go get your HUG on!
If you have any questions or are in need of help when you get stuck, shoot me a message.
Thank you for your time and feedback!
“Let Go of Your Bullsh*t”
@willnotfear — All Social Media (hit me up!)