A hug is described as squeezing (someone) tightly in one’s arms, typically to express affection. It is a form of physical intimacy, universal in human communities, in which two people put their arms around the neck, back, or waist of one another and hold each other closely. It is considered a form of nonverbal communication and can indicate support, comfort, and consolation, particularly where words are insufficient. The hug can also demonstrate affection and emotional warmth, sometimes arising from joy or happiness when reunited with someone or seeing someone absent after a long time. A hug can range from a brief one-second squeeze, with the arms not fully around the partner, to an extended holding. The length of a hug in any situation is socially and culturally determined. We even have a moment of greeting and hugs at my church.
In the case of lovers, and occasionally others, the hips may also be pressed together. At nighttime, long hugs can turn into cuddling which is a related form of physical intimacy in which two people hold one another with each person’s arms wrapped around the other’s body. Finally, a regular hug can turn into a group hug when more than two persons are involved and has been found to be a useful tool in group therapy to cement a sense of cohesion among the participants after a session.
Hugging has been proven to have health benefits. A hug can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which is said to heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger. In addition, holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating a mood and creating happiness. I recently read that hugs teach us how to give and receive and there is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. They educate us how love flows both ways.
Spread the Love and give a Hug today!