There was an article I read recently talking about hugs. I wish I could remember the link. It spoke of how most hugs last an average of 3 seconds. Even that sounds long in my experience. But a hug of 20-30 seconds is a very deep connection. To be honest, that would seem a bit awkward for me. But I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert hugger either.
Some of my friends hug. I have one friend who will go out of her way to give you a hug. And its not a squeeze and release thing. Its a joyous celebration. Like a gleeful experience. I’ve seen her hug other people and I see her eyes close and a huge smile widens across her face. She’ll squeeze and rock side to side.
I wasn’t raised to be very touchy feely. And the Army didn’t help much either. We were supposed to be these hardened warriors immune to emotions. When I was taking a training course in the Army, one of the instructors said that when he was in Ranger school, you never got praise from the instructors. In your After Action Review (AAR), you will get a list of:
1. Things you did right.
2. Areas to improve.
3. How can we do it better next time?
But what was neat was that the Ranger instructor always carried a stick with him. As he was giving the AAR, he would (very rarely) mark a smiley face in the dirt or sand while he was talking. Then he would quickly erase it. That meant he was pleased with what you did. It was that little praise that would change your world. So a hug, handshake, or gesture has a sliding scale of meanings.
So while praise is relative, a hug is almost always very meaningful. The people I know who initiate hugs do it from the heart. I’m big on handshakes and do that regularly. That is a whole other blog unto itself. But I’d like to be a hugger. Research shows that it can actually improve your health and prevent disease. It helps release oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine, and other physiological markers. So its not only an emotional release, but a physical one too. It does a body good.
More hugs please!