How many hugs might you need a day? Have you ever asked yourself this question?
I do often, especially on International Hug Day.
Cuddling and hugging Argo was my favorite medicine. Every day I hugged him at least 20 times.
It was tremendously good for me! Especially when I was in a really bad mood, or when I had a bad and bad day.
Argo was always there waiting for me, eager to receive my cuddles and hugs.
And the more I squeezed him, the more he licked me happy and wagging his tail (Let's say he was quite exuberant, and if I exaggerated with cuddles he jumped on me with happiness... and 30 kg of a big puppy is not exactly light).
In a day, how many hugs do you need?
Virginia Satir, a family therapist, says that “We need 4 hugs a day to survive, 8 a day for maintenance and 12 a day for growth”.
In short, according to Virginia, a hug at any time of day should be fine. What do you think about it?
Seen like this, they seem like a lot, but have you ever stopped to count how many hugs you give or receive during the day?
I bet that we pet owners (or more) have the Guinness World Record for the number of daily cuddle with our puppies.
- A big hug in the morning when your child comes to visit you in the morning as soon as he wakes up in bed.
- You prepare food for him, and after he leaves the bowl empty you don't give him a cuddle or a caress?
- You play with him, he catches the ball on the fly, you don't give him a cuddle because he was good?
..every time you go out even for 10 minutes from home for a quick errand, as soon as you come home, how many parties do you get from him? Don't you hug him?
I could go on and on… the cuddles in the evening, before going to sleep.
We are truly lucky to receive so many cuddles!
Even though my Argo is gone, his hugs still warm my heart and remind me how much I was (and still am) loved and lucky to have had him in my life.
The effects of hugs
Hug therapy is definitely a powerful way to heal. Research shows that hugging is extremely effective in treating illness, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress.
Hugs raise oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
- Holding a hug for an extended time increases serotonin levels, making the mood more positive and creating happiness.
- Relaxes the muscles, releasing tension in the body. They even soothe pain by increasing circulation.
- Teach us both to give and to receive. Hugs teach us how love flows both ways.
- Hugs are very similar to meditation and laughter. They teach us to let go and be present in the moment. They encourage us to flow with the energy of life.
- Take you out of your circular thinking patterns and connect you with your heart, your feelings, and your breath.
As you can see, hugs are a powerful medicine.
But there's more…
Hugging your pet every day will make you a happier and more positive person
As I mentioned in a previous article, our pets make us better people. This is certainly due to the fact that we take care of them day after day, including cuddles and hugs.
Did you know that hugging your pet…
Can improve your physical health
Hugging your pet has been shown to have many health benefits. When you cuddle with your pet, it can stimulate the production of oxytocin, known as the "love hormone." This hormone is typically associated with feelings of trust and strong bonding.
Oxytocin can also inhibit the production of cortisol, the "stress hormone".
Plus, cuddling with your pet can lower your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and even stimulate muscle regeneration.
Helps Relieve Anxiety and Depression
Regularly hugging your pet can also stimulate the release of the neurotransmitters known as dopamine and serotonin, which help relieve depression and can help you feel happier.
In fact, the act of holding your pet can be an effective way to combat anxiety as it creates a calming effect to help you focus on the present moment.
It also helps you stay in tune with your pet's health
The daily physical contact you have with your pet can also help you notice right away if something is wrong.
Since your pet can't verbally tell you that something is wrong with them, it's important to be more in tune with your pet's body so that if something is not right, you can get the medical care they may need.
These are just a few of the many reasons why hugging your pet every day can be beneficial for you and your furry friend. Plus, they're a great way to start and end your day to promote positive vibes in the morning and rest in the evening.
You may also be interested in How to keep dogs warm outdoors in winter
International Hug Day
So today is Hug Day, make it a goal to "hug" people or anyone, at least once.
Do it with your heart, hug those you love, even if maybe you don't do it often, or you feel a little embarrassed about doing it. Remove all your fears, and be amazed and enjoy the positive reactions of those who receive your hug.
You will see it will be worth it.
From down here I'll embrace Argo's personalized portrait, I'm sure he'll hear it from up there.
A big hug,
PS.: If you're feeling a little down and sad, read this sweet story of two very sweet elderly dogs. I'm sure it will make you smile.