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Are You a Hugger?

March 22, 2022
by ChristinaV | For Seniors

Are You a Hugger?

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I grew up in a French family with lots of siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. and we hugged each other…A LOT!  Since it was the preferred form of greeting, both in my family and the French Catholic community I grew up in, I always found it very normal.  However, when I moved away from Northern Maine, I realized this is not always the case with everyone.

Some people do not like to be hugged, especially if they are not close to the person who is initiating it.  We were all raised differently and, if there was not a lot of physical contact in your upbringing, it might be confusing as to why the hugger is hugging them and the intent could be misconstrued.

  • They might feel the hug is a form of sexual harassment.
  • Perhaps they are very protective of personal space and find the hug invasive.
  • Some do not like hugging because they fear passing germs back and forth.  And, in this age of COVID, that is perfectly understandable,  However, most people report they missed hugging and human touch the most during isolation and/or quarantine.
  • Maybe their culture does not encourage hugging.
  • They grew up in an abusive household and unsolicited touch may feel threatening.
  • Unwanted physical touch may be painful for medical or psychological reasons.

A hug lets others know that you are there for them and communicates many different messages such as love, friendship, support, greeting, appreciation, social support, etc., and is generally a way to express your feelings for someone else.  Many times, when you do not know what to say  o another person, a hug is a great alternative. However, try to gauge the other person’s signals and, if they do not respond, back off from the hug and offer a handshake or perhaps a touch on the arm if you feel the need for touch.

There are many benefits to hugging:

  • Reduces stress for both giver and receiver.
  • Reduction of stress can keep you from illness.
  • Makes you happy.
  • Lowers your blood pressure.
  • Reduces certain fears.
  • Improves cardiac health.
  • Improves sleep.
  • Boosts immune system.
  • Relaxes muscles.
  • Improves communication.
  • Reduces pain.
  • Increases bonding.
  • Cures loneliness.
  • Boosts energy.
  • Promotes self-esteem.
  • Reduces social anxiety.
  • Boosts memory.

The more daily hugs you give and receive, the more your body produces oxytocin, resulting in emotional and physical health benefits.  So, give it a try!   Hug someone today!!


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