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The perception of a hug

Can a hug be replaced?

I don’t know about you, but I felt that hugging was becoming a bit of an awkwardness at times because it was part of nearly all of your informal greetings. Was a true sign of affection being undermined by social etiquette?

Firstly, some people cannot stand the thought of hugging someone that isn’t in their own family and some even find that difficult.

Secondly, there are people like me that love wrapping my arms round people so much that in the past, I have had to stop and gage the body language before my approach!

I count myself lucky that I have a daughter (under the same roof) who is like a Koala, she will hug all day long if she could, so we get our fix from each other and of course my husband. My daughter and I love the Arboretum in Westonbirt and quite often have a tree hug there, (when no-one is looking). If you put your mind to it, you can feel the energy coming back – try it if you haven’t already!

How have people coped with not having a hug through COVID-19. I wonder if they have had a perception of a hug? I wonder if the physical sensations and reactions that we get in our bodies such as a dip in the stress hormone cortisol happens when children hug a teddy bear? or the cushion that Captain Tom Moore had given him with his wife’s face on? The person hugging the object would be thinking of the person they wished they could have their arms around, would the cortisol be reduced then? Say Captain Tom’s cushion had his wife’s perfume added and their favourite record was playing, all of the senses would bring an awareness and an interpretation of them together, so a perception.

Hugging is high on the agenda of my friendship group and we were discussing this recently. We have actually felt distanced within our friendships even though we have seen each other socially, the physical contact and union has been missing. I for one cannot wait to get back to hugging my true friends again, but I intend to keep hugs special for those people I love or need support.

I think there has been an awareness that being in the arms of someone you truly have a connection of friendship or love with, is something that should never be underestimated. What do they say? “you don’t how much you need it until it’s gone.”

Hug your loved ones and friends as much as you can (when safe to do so) and if you can’t do this develop a perception with your senses, it may just help.

· Hugs (and maybe a perception of) reduce stress by reducing the stress hormone and showing someone that you are supporting them.

· Hugs bring your heart rate down

· When cortisol reduces then your feel-good hormones increase

· Keeps you warm

There is lots of research out there on “the hug” and lots more advantages, so go and explore!

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