Did you know there may be a way to prevent colds, lower blood pressure, transform both misbehavior and stress in your home, combat depression and anxiety, and even increase cardiovascular health? And it’s free. Hugging has numerous health benefits and is a biochemical super power to save the day in your family!
Why Hug Power?
A few years ago, I found myself really annoyed with my son’s developmentally-appropriate, but nonetheless irritating kid behavior. Simultaneously, my son was getting older. He no longer sat on my lap, rarely wanted to hold hands, and his preferred positive physical contact was a pillow fight. We needed some ways to keep the love flowing in our house and strengthen our mama-kid bond.
After reading about the scientific benefits of hugging, my son and I started a Hug Challenge. It was really sweet. We’d try and hug as many times a day as we could remember, and count how long each hug lasted.
Bingo! Hug power saved the day: it was both metaphorical and scientific love medicine. With each hug, time seemed to slowed down and my heart was infused with appreciation for my son. I noticed his sweet smile, the funny things he did, and felt those wonderful flashes of both unconditional love and gratitude for the gift of motherhood I had been missing. This transformation all came from hugging more! How could this be?
The Love Hormone and the Health Benefits of Hugging
There is myriad of health benefits from longer heart-to-heart hugs. Hugging for twenty or more seconds releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps combat depression and anxiety for grown-ups, aids in relaxation amidst all the stress of modern motherhood, and affirms and secures the parent-child bond for your kiddos. When your children feel connected to you, they are more likely to cooperate. Thus, hugs alone often transforms misbehavior cycles in families. The scientific health benefits of hugging may also include immunity boosting and cold prevention, lower blood pressure and cardiovascular heath, faster healing of wounds, and an increased ability to stay calm in stressful situations. All those health benefits just from a hug!
Get the Health Benefits with Your Own Hug Challenge
Find a calm and connected moment to share some of the health benefits of hugging with your children. Invite your kids to participate in your family’s own Hug Challenge, or, if you think there might be resistance, let your kids know you’re just going to try it out for one day. Involve your kids in planning the challenge. Will you aim for a certain number of hugs a day, or maybe set a phone alarm periodically for hug times? Will you try to reach twenty seconds or will you time each hug and see how long it lasts? (Less than twenty second hugs are fine too; just focus on the hugging, and work your way up!) Would a Hug Challenge sticker chart be fun for your family? How long will your challenge last?
It’s amazing how this simple tool of hugging more can make life smoother and less stressful, transform challenging behavior, and help you slow down, and love your life and your little ones amidst hectic family life. So hug away!