Quick! Hug somebody!

Huggable volunteer Liz Luna joins writer Johns for a demonstration of the grab-a-friend hug.

A thoughtful, huggable friend of mine recently sent a link to an excellent article posted some months ago on a website titled The Mind Unleashed. It’s a site that proclaims a ponderable truth: “We are all connected: To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically” – and wants you to uncover your true potential. It has fascinating articles on everything from the healing power of music to the realities of war in Gaza to Sixteen Reasons to Have Daily Sex; in short, you might want to quit reading this post and go straight to The Mind Unleashed.

But the issue in question here is the value of the hug. This writer has long promoted the hug as source of all things good. More than a few friends and acquaintances, in fact, now share the belief – I read this somewhere too – that one needs four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance and twelve for growth. So now, thanks to The Mind Unleashed, here is confirmation, and more:

In an article titled “Nine Reasons You Need to Be Giving and Receiving Hugs Every Day,” Josh Richardson presents the full story about the importance of hugs. Richardson is a “blogger, healer and (a) constant pursuer of the natural state of human consciousness,” which seems ample qualification for hug expertise.

For openers, he explains, a hug stimulates oxytocin. Skip all the scientific explanation, which Richardson includes, if you need it, but that hug – thanks to its oxytocin release – lowers blood pressure, staves off heart disease, reduces stress and incidentally makes human males more affectionate, better at forming relationships and “it dramatically increased the libido and sexual performance of test subjects.”

Is that not enough?

Well, okay then, hugging also cultivates patience, prevents disease and stimulates the thymus gland. The thymus gland, thanks to its regulation of white blood cell production, improves your general health and resistance to disease.

Makes you wonder about all that time and money wasted on Ativan and Tylenol.

Richardson throws in enough miscellany about communication: “hugging is an excellent method of expressing yourself nonverbally…” – self-esteem: “…our family’s touch shows us that we’re loved and special” – and general well-being: “Dopamine (stimulated by hugging) is responsible for giving us that feel-good feeling” – to send you out to start a campaign. But of course, somebody’s already done that

So just go hug somebody. Do yourself, and the planet, a favor.

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