In a Leaderonomics social movement known as 21 M.A.D. Days to empower anyone to make a difference wherever they are, there was a challenge on Day 17 which caught my eye. It read: “Give three people a hug (with prior consent, of course).”
Hugs. You wonder how such a seemingly insignificant act can lead to any difference at all. Well apparently, it does.
What’s more amusing was how Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool Football Club manager, is leveraging the science behind hugs to ‘man-manage’ his team of players, which might have led to its several impressive wins this season.
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was quoted saying, “He’s (Klopp) hugged with all the players and it gives you a good feeling because it means you know he is behind you and supporting you.”
A profound gift
Today is Christmas, and while giving away gifts to your friends, families, loved ones and the underprivileged, you probably gave away (and received) one of the most profound gifts for humanity – embrace.
The act of hugging is derived from one of our five human senses, i.e. touch, which is naturally a physical experience. To enhance the quality of human lives, we need to simulate all our five senses (the other four being sight, smell, hearing and taste). However, often times, people are touch-deprived, especially once we are grown-ups.
Psychotherapist Virginia Satir famously said:
“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
Research has shown that hugging releases oxytocin (known as “cuddle hormone” or “love drug”) which calms the nervous system and boosts positive emotions. The flow of oxytocin helps to lower our blood pressure and relax our muscles.
To say the least, hugs alleviate feelings of loneliness, isolation and depression. They soothe pain for both physical and non-physical aches.
Perhaps you have experienced a time of pain, distress or grief when you try to remain composed in front of others. But as soon as a friend or family member puts one’s arms around you and you respond with an embrace, you find yourself bursting into tears. In that moment, you feel a great sense of release.
This nurturing touch builds a sense of security and trust. It helps you be open and honest about your own emotions.
In a hug, there is an equal value in giving and receiving. The hugger who gives a hug is also receiving a hug in return from the “huggie”.
Giving is one of our Leaderonomics corporate values. The greatest form of giving is almost always the simplest. In this regard, as we near the end of 2015, why not be engaged in a gift exchange of hugs? Appropriate ones, please!
“A hug is a great gift, one size fits all and it’s easy to exchange.” – Anonymous
Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!