I love hugs. They have always been my preferred way of saying goodbye. I also love to use them when someone is looks like they are feeling a bit down.
At a recent four day conference I attended I gave out lots of hugs. Then one of the presenters talked about how hugs provide wonderful chemical benefits and I decided that I needed to start a hugging revolution.
At the conference we also discussed what makes a great hug: it turns out it has a lot to do with how long the hug goes for. Apparently if you maintain a hug for 7 seconds or longer it sends your oxytocin crazy.
Oxytocin is a hormone that also is stimulated when you kiss someone. It is called the ‘hormone of love.’ It acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and it gives you feelings of love.
The sad thing is that in our workplaces (and even sometimes at home) we find that these feelings (and the oxytocin) are being drowned out by negative things such as fear and stress.
Previously I have mostly given hugs family, friends and others who have looked sad. At the conference I decided that I would greet as many people as I could with a hug. One of the things I observed was that after the first one or two hugs, other people started approaching me for hugs. By the end of the four day conference there was a lot of people giving long hugs, not just to me but to others around them. People were smiling and really bonding with one another.
So this week I am encouraging you to give out some seven second hugs. Start with your loved ones. Yes, if you haven’t done it for a while it will feel awkward, but please persist. The benefits to both of you will be worth any uncomfortableness. Maybe even reach out to a work colleague who looks a bit down or perhaps just to a stranger (I will leave that up to you to decide).
I hope you will join me in creating a hugging revolution. The worst thing that can happen to you is you feel good.
Until next week, seven second hugs from me and have a magical one.
A hug is the shortest distance between friends.