• feels good
• dispels loneliness
• helps overcome fears
• opens doors to feelings
• helps build self-esteem
• fosters altruism
• curbs appetite
• eases tension
• helps fight insomnia
• affirms our physical being
• increases hemoglobin blood counts
• offers a healthy, safe alternative to alcohol and drugs
• imparts feelings of belonging
• long-term effects – hugs keep on working even once the hug is over, helps relieve physical pain and heals
Types of Hugs
Did you know that there are many ways to give a hug? Here are a few examples of the different types of hugs:
The Basic Hug:
Stand facing your partner, with a comfortable distance between you, and open your arms wide. Approach slowly, sliding your arms around each other just below shoulder height. Squeeze, just firmly enough to impart the message of love, friendship, reassurance, or just plain goodwill. When you are feeling content, disengage by gently letting go.
The Bear Hug:
The bear hug is the basic hug with the addition of tilting or leaning one’s head on the otherís shoulder, bodies touching, and a strong, powerful squeeze.
The A-Frame Hug:
Stand facing each other, wrapping arms around shoulders, sides of heads pressed together and bodies leaning forward and not touching at all below shoulder level.
Side to Side Hug:
Also known as the lateral squeeze, a side to side hug is when you are shoulder to shoulder with an arm around the otherís waist or shoulder and give a squeeze.
The group forms a circle with its members standing as close to each other as possible, arms around shoulders or waists – and squeeze.
Hugs for Health and Healing:
A well-placed hug can defuse strong emotions, bridge differences, and remind us that we are alive and valuable.
Be sure hugs are compassionate, not passionate.
Have permission before giving a hug.
Ask permission when you need a hug.
Be responsible for expressing what you need and the way you want it.
Hugs for Happiness: Hugs to Remember
One of the best ways to encourage us to hug more is to remember some of our favorite hugs. Take a moment to remember:
• My most meaningful hug
• My most anticipated hug
• My most awkward hug
• My most needed hug
• My happiest hug
• My most celebratory hug
• My silliest hug
• My tightest hug
• My slightest hug
• My longest hug
• My shortest hug
• My favorite hug
Resource: Adapted from: LaVona S. Traywick, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Gerontology Specialist. Hugs for Healing and Health.
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