I recently read an article which showed how beneficial hugs are to the human psyche. Apparently, we need eight hugs every day to feel relaxed, comfortable and stress-free. So, are you getting your 8-a-day?
Soon after reading this article, the kids were fighting. After a brief intervention by me, some mediation and negotiation I asked them to hug and make up. And yes, let me be clear – I *asked* them – emotional physical contact should always be consensual, not forced. But they love hugs – who doesn’t?
I then went on to explain to the girls how important hugs are and we should have at least 8-a-day. They were incensed, it was a new challenge. We immediately began planning our day of hugs, the ones we know we will give and receive.
Why is this important? Firstly, I want them to realise that showing emotion and hugging is not a sign of weakness. Especially with our eldest suffering from a mild form of anxiety. At 9-years-old, she’s starting to become aware of ‘cool’ and assessing her own behaviour in front of friends (it’s scary). She’s fortunate to have surrounded herself with tactile friends, often dishing out hugs to each other.
But I also needed to realise this if I’m honest. I was so worried about her being ‘clingy’ and not settling that I forgot the confidence and comfort a hug can give. And not just one, we have around four at the school gates. Which help reduce her symptoms – something the article made very clear should happen with a hug.
Hugs make us feel good about ourselves too. It’s not just a confidence boost. It helps us feel positive about our body and we’re worthy of the affection – all of which send positive messages to our brains.
My daughters aren’t always in the mood for a hug. But again, that’s ok. I never force them, just gently let them know one is on offer. I also want to encourage them as siblings to hug, as a sign of support.
When I read this article and the associated research, I was relieved. I want to be huggy mum. I hug my friends, my family and my husband. Hugging is GREAT. And now I know exactly why.
For a random act of kindness, why not offer a hug to a friend who needs it. You don’t have to say anything. Just gently squeeze and let them know you are there.