Is anyone else out there really missing nice big squishy hugs? I sure am.
Did you know … the average hug is about 3 or 4 seconds. Hmmm. That just doesn’t seem long enough.
Did you know that when a hug lasts 20 seconds or more that’s when the magic happens? The hug then has a therapeutic effect on us; producing the ‘bonding hormone’ oxytocin. Do you know what oxytocin does – it reduces stress!
The psychotherapist Virginia Satir said this: “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” It looks like we will have a lot of catching up to do.
In these times of isolation, what do we do if we don’t have enough hugs? We have to find clever ways to nurture ourselves. The first way is with exceptional self-care.
Here are a few more ideas to consider:
– stay connected with your loved ones and family and friends via video chats…you will ‘feel’ more than just texting one another.
– make sure you are telling the people in your life how you really feel; that you love them…and also tell them why. We can create deeper bonds with one another during this time.
– do the things that make you smile; long hot baths, dance, sing, paint, take long walks, create your favourite meals. Or support local and order in!
– write down or say three things you are grateful for. This creates more of the good stuff in our lives.
– create a gratitude board that provides you a beautiful visual to look at every day – to inspire you!
You can also – hug a tree!
Hugging a tree also helps increase levels of the bonding hormone oxytocin. This hormone helps us feel calm and reduces stress. Hugging a tree also helps our body release the hormones dopamine and serotonin that make us feel happy.
As you hug, touch the bark, take in the smells and listen to the wind around you. Be present. Imagine connecting with the tree and its roots; sending energy deeply into Mother Earth – grounding yourself.
Close your eyes as you hug the tree and feel into the energy, breathe with the tree. I love sitting on the ground with my back against it, and connecting with the tree that way too. Take the time to listen to what it has to share with you.
Taoist masters have shared that trees can actually absorb our negative energies and transform them into positive ones.
The Celts believe that all trees have spirits living within them. There is much lore about how tree one hosts a very particular spirit depending on the type of tree. Let yourself feel into that too!
And when we are through this squeeze everyone you know for a long time…!
*I do suggest asking permission first by asking this question: “Would you like to share a hug?” there might be those hesitant after this long period of social distancing.