Like many of you, I am a parent at home right now, trying to navigate the new world of “staying safe at home”. With all that is going on these days, many of us have come to realize the importance of our social needs and networks. We are missing our friends and extended families. We are so fortunate to live in a time where we can keep in touch with FaceTime or other video calls, but this doesn’t come close to seeing our loved ones in person and giving them a nice long hug. “Virtual hugs” just don’t cut it!
The Benefits of Real Hugs!
- Hugging gives us a sense of security. As human beings we need the comfort of our loved ones around us. This sense of security is especially important for our children. Hugs can be medicine and pure magic, melting away tension and giving a sense of belonging, acceptance and love.
- Hugging is scientifically proven to reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Parenting can be stressful. So can being a toddler, especially navigating the world of the “terrible-twos.” Remember that toddlers are learning and growing at an incredible pace! They are trying to make sense of the world around them and trying to assert some independence. Emotional meltdowns are common, as they do not yet understand their feelings and are not yet able to regulate their behavior. Hugs can work wonders to physically calm them down and to feel safe in your arms.
- Hugging also increases the happy hormone serotonin, which increases production of oxytocin! Can’t get that from FaceTime!
- When a child is having a bad day or feeling misunderstood, sometimes a hug is the best way to say that you care and you validate their feelings. Believe me, I’ve been there when my child was having a meltdown and I wanted to lock myself in the bathroom! Try saying this instead… “do you need a hug? Amazing how much that will help you both to calm down.
- Hugging can actually help strengthen the immune system. Medical studies show that a gentle hug stimulates the thymus gland, located under the sternum, this can help with the increased production of white blood cells, thus boosting immunity! Now that’s a Prescription we can all take everyday!
A hug is a wonderful thing that you can give away and get immediately in return. So whether it be a big bear hug, a side hug, or a group hug, we could all use a REAL HUG about now!