Today’s Inspiration is - HUGS!!
This brain of mine thinks of many things (curious and an observer, not too much unlike my furry friends ) , and one of the things I got to thinking about recently is how as children, we are both the receiver and the giver of hugs frequently! Often we received hugs from parents, other family, friends,whomever and gave them out freely as well. I have this theory that children tend to be more open to freely giving affection. There is a type of innocent, reckless abandon in youth that causes us to not typically over think things as much, or worry about what others think.
I can remember as a child not only receiving lots of hugs, but showing affection to others freely as well. It goes back to Kindergarten days where I would put my arm around a child in my class that maybe looked sad or hug an elderly person at the nursing home. I can remember being this way a lot back then. When I became an adult, that changed a little. You see really at the core of my being , I am a hugger. However, as I grew older, I became more shy with hugs, because I never knew how the other person would feel about it. I often had the urge inside to hug them, but didn’t want to invade their personal space, or didn’t know how they would react. I became a little shy. So I was a passive hugger-just standing back and waiting to see what the other person would do first. If they initiated then I would hug back. It is interesting how we form so many beliefs as adults. Maybe it comes in part from fear of rejection. Sure, there are some people out there who may not like it, but for the most part I have realized that people really crave affection and that human connection inside. The truth is people need hugs!
Over time I became influenced by the “reckless huggers” in my life. I can be a bit reserved until I know someone better, but these reckless huggers inspired me to come out of my shell again with the hugging and be more of an initiator. I can think of several people off hand that always offer me a warm hug upon greeting and parting-and they are not just family. A couple of friends come to mind, my N.D. and her daughter to come to mind, as well as some other ladies I have met via some common interests we have. One common factor that these people share, is that they can brighten up your day with their positive, hugging energy
Hugs FEEL good and so of course we like them! They are a way that we can express care and warmth to another. They give us a feeling of acceptance. They are an excellent way to share love (God’s love too). I have gotten much better about reaching out to others with hugs since freely receiving hugs from these (sometimes random) people I come in contact with. I still can be reserved at times though, especially with people that seem more reserved too. However, I want to keep moving forward with showing love to others with reckless abandon. I want to let my inner hugger free , throw my arms wide open, and greet people with exuberant love and joy! I want to be the initiator more frequently.
Did you know that Hugging has Health Benefits (Physical, Mental, and Emotional?) Here are a few:
- Lowering stress (studies have even shown it can reduce a stress hormone called cortisol)
- Lowering blood pressure and heart rate
- Mood booster
- Good for your overall mental health
- Some studies have shown hugging to help with heart disease and heart health
- Hugging releases a hormone called oxytocin which not only causes us to feel a bond or positive connection with people (and pets) , but is good in all the ways mentioned above
Don’t forget that animals count too! I hug my pets several times daily. I even hug the cat colony cats that will let me. You can literally see the effects hugging has on them. Everyone, be they animal or person , in some way responds to love. That is probably why many of the feral cats I help have become tame with time. Two of them in particular can’t wait to get their hugs and cuddles! You may want to take note of the positive effect hugging has on the people you freely give to and also yourself. I believe the more loving energy we put out there, the more we get in return.
If you are not already a “reckless hugger”, would you like to join me in stretching your inner “hug” muscles and making a practice of loving more with reckless abandon? Let’s make a positive impact in our corner of the world. Feel free to share your stories here or at the We Live Inspired Facebook page.
A hug from me to you, Rebekah
P.S.-there is something called the Hug campaign were people stood on the streets with signs that said “free hugs”. I found the video quite neat. Check out the YouTube video below to see the hugfest (I bet you will smile) or click HERE if you can’t see the video via email. (side note- the song Hallelujah in the video is a fav. of mine :))