I love a good hug. I love to greet people with them – even folks I don’t really know that well. I even hug people in my life that I don’t have a lot in common with. It can trip them up a bit when I get into their personal space like that – and it often brings an instant comfort level that allows for a free flowing communication, putting “the guards” at ease. In our culture, hugging seems to be saved for your family and close friends.
A recent article in Fast Company suggests we should make it important to also hug our co-workers, vendors and clients. Some of our clients might think it odd to give a hug each time we see them, especially if it’s a few times per week. I think a simple handshake will suffice to make that “contact.” The article, by Dawn Lim, talks about a brain chemical that’s released called oxytocin. “It’s the brain chemical that makes people cuddle and bond-affects people’s economic decisions.” Does that mean we should get a hug when we show up at the mall? Will we buy more stuff if we’re feeling good all over? (Yes!) I know that’s over the top and what we’re really talking about is connecting. And love.
In my life, love is the most important thing. I never miss a chance to tell a friend, family member or co-worker, “I love you.” Or more often, that I love the way they handled something. It’s a “verbal” hug that touches that person when I physically can’t or it seems inappropriate.
Paul Zak, aka “Dr. Love” advocates eight hugs a day. “It’s the human stimulant of empathy, generosity, trust and more.” Think about that and how great we’d all feel if that was our daily dose. After all, our moms and caretakers held us for hours when we were babies. And, as we grow up the hug quotient seems to diminish. I’m thankful to be in a society that freely gives and receives hugs. I don’t know about giving eight hugs each and every day, but I’m definitely going to look for every opportunity.