the power of hugsI recently did a Love Blueprint Seminar in New York City. It was a coed workshop, and it was an amazing beautiful weekend. One of the exercises we did was a hugging exercise. What we most crave in this world is physical contact. It causes a release of the hormone oxytocin into our bodies and makes us feel wonderful.

Oxytocin is the chemical manufactured in our brains that give us a sense of attachment, love and an emotional bond. Women release it when they orgasm, and when a mother touches her child (seems pretty important right?) But our world is so isolating, many of us go days (or more) without touching another human being.

When was the last time you got a great hug?

When was the last time you gave a great hug to somebody?

During this love Blueprint Workshop, I had the participants practice hugging, and I got to tell you, the power of hugs is everything.  The power of a single hug is transformative

Even the Smallest Touch is Affirming

When people first started doing the hugs, they did what I call the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah hug.  For those of you that are not Jewish, think of it as the junior high school hug. You have a little bit of contact in the shoulders but zero contact from the chest down. Any contact at the hips is expressly forbidden.

It was funny to watch adults hugging like twelve years old. Their hips were swung back like they were afraid of crossing some imaginary boundary. Yet, even this simple form of contact, everybody lit up.

To Hug Means To Embrace. To Embrace Means To Let Go

To let go means to feel. A real hug is when you embrace somebody and feel them. You can literally feel their body melt into yours. You can feel them get looser and all the tension pours out of them. That’s what a real hug is. A real hug releases endorphins, serotonin and oxytocin, all types of beautiful drugs your body produces to make you feel good.

We all need them on a regular basis, which leads to point number three.

Stay In The Hug

The longer you hug, the more you let go. One of the exercises at the seminar was to stay in a hug for longer than 15 seconds. I made people stay in a hug for a full minute. This seems like a short amount of time, but when you’re counting to sixty and holding a stranger it feels much longer.

There was some initial anxiety from several people, but everyone was good-natured and gave it a try. When you watch people start to release all the stress of the day, all the anger, all the resentment, everything they’ve kept pinned up deep inside melt from their bodies it’s easy to see the power of the hug.

Hugging is something we all need, and it’s safe. There’s not much touching in hugging. You’re just wrapping your arms around somebody. It’s amazingly simple and has the power to change someone’s day for the better.

Hugging Is Safe. Hugging Is Beautiful.

And being safe, you think we can hug more people on a daily basis. We fear one another in today’s society. No one wants to touch a person. If you brush someone’s arm you say, “Sorry.”

We do our best to stay in our own bubble and not inconvenience other people with our touch. If we’re in a crowded space we do our best to shrink our bodies so as not to disrupt anyone. I’m not advocating for you to hug random people, but I do think we go out of our way not to touch.

You should embrace touch. Embrace holding hands and hugging. We barely ever hug one another, and hugging is one of the most beautiful things you can do, to connect to another person.  As a matter of fact, if you hug people more, you’ll be less angry. There’s so much anger in this world because we don’t have enough physical contact.

So, let go and hug somebody today. See if it doesn’t change the way you feel about the world.