Are you missing your daily hug? Oh the daily hug…it has gone by the wayside as we socially distance, doing foot bumps instead of friendly hellos, and exchange a warm hug for a wave outside the social acceptable distance of 2 meters/6 feet. It is odd. I have to admit it is odd to not hug a friend you have not seen in person for months. It is odd to see a friend on the street and slap the side of your feet together in the new acceptable greeting that keeps us apart. Even the hand heart many of us are doing does not replace a good old hug. UUUggghhh.
I get it, we do it, and we will continue to not hug as we wait for COVID to settle down. But I have to admit, I feel something missing in my life. I miss the hug.
This is why you are missing your daily hug. Hugging a friend or family member does something to us. There is a positive neurological response that has us coming back for more. When we hug another we release, both the hugger and the ‘huggee’, oxytocin, commonly known as our love hormone. Oxytocin is one hormone that increases our happiness and decreases our stress. It influences mood, behaviour and physiology. It has the ability to alleviate social anxiety and produce feelings of trust. Sound familiar?
If you review the research on giving and happiness, similar brain responses occur when we give. Thankfully we get a few more neurotransmitters firing off to increase our happiness even more, but our Oxycontin increases, just like hugging. Hmmm.
So lets put this together. We are in a time when hugging and touching others outside of our bubble is not okay. To help the spread of COVID-19, public health professionals and doctors are asking us all to keep our distance. And we are. We are contributing to the public health of our communities by forgoing our hugs. But we still need that shot of oxytocin to keep our happiness up. And right now happiness is super important.
What we found is that keeping our daily giving going virtually and in person, has keep our happiness at a manageable level while everything else has changed. While giving every day we feel like we are giving our community both local and globally a great big virtual hug! Our bodies and minds also think our daily giving is great as we are firing off our oxytocin on a daily basis. I will fill you in on a secret. We are also firing off some other super important neurontransmitters as well, our endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. We are also decreasing our coritisol, our stress hormone.
So if we can’t hug outside our bubble at the moment, why not get our love hormone working and increase our happiness another way, by completing small acts of giving.
So if hugging is out of bounds at the moment, why not replace it with small acts of giving. Your happiness will increase and you can remain socially distanced as you give. I have tested this idea during the last few months and giving is a great replacement. When we can start hugging again, your hug can be a give (twice the happiness power) but you can still keep giving even as you hug your way through your day. More happiness to spread around!
Sign up for a free 365give community membership and find simple ways to give everyday that keeps your well being well tuned. Hugging will return, but in the meantime, try out daily giving to give you that much needed love hormone boost that will keep you happy.