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The Power of a Hug

A hug makes us feel loved and connected. When we hug someone, our body releases the oxytocin hormone also known as the love hormone.

When I owned my cosmetics brand, I use to tell our customers that our skin is our largest organ. It has both physical and emotional sensory responses. Hence, the reason why hugs and handshakes can make us feel like we belong.

Our skin is the communicator to all that happens internally within us. It stands in defense against our external world. Yet it is also the receptacle for all the pleasures of the world and helps to release those things internally that give us joy, happiness, and love.

This week I had the chance to be the recipient of lots of hugs when I visited my granddaughters. I was also the giver of lots of hugs. Yet, one simple act that my granddaughters absolutely love, is the ear tug.

When I watched the Carol Burnette show as a girl, she would end every show by tugging her ear in love to her grandmother. It kept them connected.

My grands now do this sign of affection whenever we are with each other. It is my sign to them that no matter where “nana” is she is always with them.

This morning I read an article about how we are all beginning to suffer from video fatigue, and we are all in desperate need of complex human relations.

A hug.

At work this can mean the pat on the back, the handshake or the high five. Yet, in this time of COVID, virtual meetings, and social isolation those are in short supply.

And research is beginning to show us the effects of this long-term isolation on our overall health.

While our physical health has a very real chance of being impacted by COVID-19, our emotional health is in jeopardy of being fundamentally changed by the lack of human contact.

What I know is this…oxytocin is a neurochemical that is released in our bodies when we are hugged, high five or even shake hands. This chemical helps makes us feel warm all over.

Researchers have found that the presence of oxytocin speeds the physical healing of both physical and emotional wounds. Studies show that even a brief touch of the hand from someone who cares can start your oxytocin pumping.

We are beginning to see the effects of social isolation on the elderly and in children. There is research that informs us that skin contact or skin ‘hunger’ is an actual thing. Our overall health is in a place of reaching critical mass from both COVID and social isolation.

I do not have the answers to COVID other than what the experts are saying…wear a mask, keep your distance and wash your hands. But I do know that if we do not heed this advice, we run the risk of long-term emotional and physical trauma without the release of oxytocin into our systems to release our love hormones.

Perhaps the fastest way to get there is to follow the science of both COVID and compassion.

Healing from all of what ails us is just a touch away.

And That’s a Brilliant Glimpse of Insight.

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