Week 12 (Life): 12 Hugs a day keep the doctor away

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12 Hugs a day12 Hugs a day keep the doctor away- by Kelsey Taylor, Be BETTER Blog Writer Why do we need hugs? Few people really understand the importance of physical touch. In an increasingly impersonal world, we are often deprived of physical touch, which is a basic need. Eight hugs a day are recommended as a minimum for all adults, and even more for children. But for true growth, you need to get 12. That’s right, 12!

Psychologist Karen Grewen conducted a study that assessed the stress levels of more than 100 adults. Those who experienced physical touch for a 10-minute period each day were less likely to be stressed and also processed stressful events more smoothly. Effects were also physical. Those who hugged had lower blood pressure and heart rates, along with increased levels of oxytocin (happy hormones).

Other studies have shown that babies who are denied physical touch suffer, even to the point of death. In an article on infants and physical touch, Katherine Harmon describes just how important it is for our development and life success.

What is the catch? Hugging the wrong person can be a big no-no. Grabbing a co-worker or random stranger may not be the best idea. Lucky for us Be Better folks, we have lots of people in our lives we can hug. Squeeze your kids or spouse an extra time or two each day. Ask a friend if he or she wants a hug; you may be surprised at how excited he or she gets! Go out of your way this week to get all 12 of your hugs each day. You may notice an extra smile or two around you, plus you will feel great!