I read an amazing article the other day, and then saw a late night television documentary about it…how people are so lonely these days, that they’re paying professional huggers for non-sexual physical contact.
A hug is such a lovely thing to receive and give. It also has other benefits. An article by Marcus Julian Felicetti, highlights the following benefits about hugs:
- builds trust and a sense of safety, which helps with open and honest communication.
- instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
- an extended hug lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
- strengthens the immune system.
- boosts self-esteem.
- releases tension in the body.
- teaches us how to give and receive.
- encourages empathy and understanding
There is a saying by Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
It breaks my heart to think that some of us have become so lonely that we have to pay someone to give us a hug – that thing that mums or dads, or grandmas and grandads give to their children and grandchildren to soothe physical or emotional pain. The thing that friend give when they haven’t seen each other for a while. The thing that loves give to express their love. The thing we know is so important for our physical and emotional well-being.
I recall another late night television documentary that highlighted this issue when extremely distressing images were presented of one of those awful orphanages where tiny babies and children sat in dirty cots, rocking and damaged for life as a result of no physical contact from another human being.
Meanwhile, we’re living now in a society where it seems to me that more and more people are having relationships with computers, instead. And we’re building ever smarter AIs.
But it may have an even deeper impact on our society. I wonder if it is perhaps one of the reasons why it seems so easy now for some of us to appear to feel nothing when we, participate in, or see, the many horrible atrocities we visit on one another?