Hugs are free. They can come in unlimited supplies. They are readily available and accessible. So far they aren’t taxed. And if the Federal Reserve starts handing them out in droves, it won’t even dilute the ones you already have. :-)

When we give or receive a hug, our bodies release a naturally occurring hormone called oxytocin. The effect is what makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside and promotes our ability to emotionally bond. Psychologists think this contributes to the physical aspect of how we establish and maintain trust and develop ties of commitment.

Not only does the act of hugging increase the good aspects of how we feel, but it helps eliminate the bad by drastically reducing our levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Hugging stimulates dopamine, the pleasure hormone, and serotonin, for elevated mood, leading to happier places.

But wait, there’s more. Hugs make the part of the brain known as the orbital frontal cortex light up the same way as when we eat chocolate, only less fattening.

Hugging doesn’t just make us feel better, it actually improves our health. Studies have shown hugs lower heart rate and blood pressure. It improves our memory. More hugs mean more oxytocin which equates to less fatigue, fewer infections and a boosted immune system.

Finding a reason or excuse to hug is easy. Many occasions such as hellos, goodbyes or congratulations are wonderful ways to share a hug. Holidays, special occasions and events present many opportunities for hugging. It is a wonderful way to express appreciation.

But you need to be aware there are side effects. Hugging can cause habitual smiling and sometimes lead to laughter. Hugs can sometimes result in hand holding and promote feelings of devotion and connectedness. Hugs should not be attempted while on tall ladders, when driving or traversing tightropes. The person beside you should be consulted in the case of occasional group hugs. Hugging is not for the deliberately grumpy or intentional misanthropic.

A genuine hug is a beautiful thing.


An epic video about hugs:



With age, you get to a place where you don't want to knock people out. You just want to give people a hug.  Vin Diesel


Touch, a key component of traditional healing, is being increasingly studied in mainstream medicine, with some trials showing symptom benefits in a number of areas, from asthma and high blood pressure to migraine and childhood diabetes. Other research findings hint that not only does touch lower stress levels, but that it can boost the immune system and halt or slow the progress of disease.

The surging of oxytocin makes you feel more trusting and connected. And the cascade of electrical impulses slows your heart and lowers your blood pressure, making you feel less stressed and more soothed. Remarkably, this complex surge of events in the brain and body are all initiated by a simple, supportive touch.

Happiness Weekly compiled even more fun facts about hugging that highlight just how incredible this act of touch really is. For instance, a full-body hug stimulates your nervous system while decreasing feelings of loneliness, combating fear, increasing self-esteem, defusing tension, and showing appreciation.

The Science of Hugs: The Most Undervalued Gift You Can Give

How hugging can lower your blood pressure and boost your memory

10 Reasons Why We Need at Least 8 Hugs a Day

Benefits of Hugs, for Mind and Body

10 Reasons Why Oxytocin Is The Most Amazing Molecule In The World

The Healing Power of Touch

free hugs

7 thoughts on “Hugs”

  1. Diary of an anti- Hugger

    A little background on my hugging phobia. I’ve never been a hugger, even though my late Mom was a great hugger. She would hug everyone and always brought a smile to their faces. This article brought back memories of my Mom’s funeral service in the chapel my brother had everyone stand up and hug the person next to them in honor of my Mother.

    I would actually run from hugs or go out of my way to avoid them. You might even say I feared them in away. So this being a fear that needs to be faced, Mr Pepper is on it:-)

    Day 1 Nov, 6 ,2014:
    I go into work Like I do everyday and I go up to my boss we exchange hello’s and I then say I want to hug her, she said okay and then started laughing. She said I’m glad you’re in a good mood today Mr Pepper. I’m amazed at this new found power that I never knew existed. I then proceed to go on a hugging rampage if you will and I think I got a total of 15 for the day.

    Now during my hugging exercise I found that there are others that have the phobia also, how do I know this? they told me flat out they don’t hug anyone. I ask one lady if I could give her a hug and she said no. “Quick Mr Pepper think” I then said will you give me a hug and she said okay. Again I’m totally blown away at this new found energy.

    The last hug I got at the end of the night was the best one. Why? Because the younger man said if more people did this there would be a lot less problems in the world today.

    Keep calm and keep growing, Mr Pepper

    Hug Count

  2. Day two continued Nov, 7, 2014

    Now since discovering what is equivalent to Gold in my mind with this hugging thing. I wanted to see if I could follow up like the day before. Was I really over the fear? Can I be a good hugger or huggy? Was it all a dream?

    I go to work early and I find my first participant, he’s an ex army drill sergeant. I said hey can I get a hug and he said no way, as I was walking away I mumbled something about being afraid of a hug. He then said bring it in over here Mr Pepper and gave me a great big hug. That’s a great way to start the day off. I proceed with my hug filled day with some new participants and I can feel the difference inside me.

    The best part of the day was when I was leaving for the day. There were four guys and two woman standing by my desk. I hugged two of them because I wouldn’t see them for a few weeks, as I was walking out all the other people said “what no hugs for us” so I hugged them all. That was pretty freaking cool:)

    Keep calm and keep growing, Mr Pepper

    1. Bravo Mr. Pepper, the world can certainly use your cheerful inspiration. I wish I was a fly on the wall to see how many of these people went home or off into their world and hugged it forward. Well done.

  3. Hmmmm…. This essay has a lot of thoughts stirring around in my head. For one: I am very tactile/kinesthetic by nature BUT I no longer touch many people. I have been interested in the psychological and sociological consequences of touch since I first studied the topic when I was a precocious teenager.

    Hugging narrows social distance, like using nicknames. As an adult, I find than I rarely want to narrow social distance with the vast majority of people: hence, I don’t want them hugging me any more than I want them using my nickname. Unfortunately, once a pattern of either one is begun, it is very difficult to “go back” to a greater social distance with an individual without avoiding the person in question entirely, which can get comically difficult in some situations. Fortunately, in the last few years I have gotten much better at going unnoticed in group environments.

    I hug my husband, and my son; I don’t hug my daughter as that is her preference. I exchange arrival/departure hugs with my mother and members of her side of the family who expect it as a kind of ritual bonding behavior — mostly I am very grateful that my mom is satisfied with just a hug, as she used to expect to kiss me on the mouth (*shudder*).

    My resistance to hugging more people may be related to one of the reasons given by my daughter when we discussed the subject openly last week — both she and I have large breasts, and so hugging someone feels excessively intimate very quickly. In fact, when faced with the prospect of being unable to escape a hug by someone I don’t want to be so intimate with, I have been known to pull an arm in at the last minute and elbow-block to keep my preferred distance. (“Whoops!”).

    A few years ago I was involved in community theatre. One of the “traditions” of such theater involved a pandemonium of enthusiastic hugging behind the curtain just after the show. This is understandable, with all the nervous excitement and the camaraderie that builds during the extended months of rehearsal, where some real friendships do develop. However, there is a phenomenon I noticed during my involvement: in some shows, some fairly creepy men would be allowed to join the cast during the last few weeks of rehearsal, and after the “wrap” these guys turned out to be VERY ENTHUSIASTIC “huggers” of the well-endowed female members of the cast, while skillfully avoiding everyone else. Yikes!

    Like I said, my thoughts on this subject are tangled. In an ideal universe, all hugs would be above-board, platonic, and no-strings-attached; at least for me, the reality is much more complex. Nonetheless, I am willing to consider that my list of close-enough-to-be-huggable people may be too short, and perhaps I should be willing to consider adding some.

  4. Nov, 10, 2014

    No hugging way, that’s what he said. I said you don’t like the new and improved Mr Pepper? He said yeah I do , I just can’t do the hugging thing with a guy. I said okay and right then another guy came up and gave me a hug. I guess he had no problem with hugging another guy. That’s just hugging weird..

    I’m working with this customer that I’ve done a lot of business with in the past, she has her daughter and husband with her also. The guy that gave me the hug was there also and said I think Mr pepper needs a hug and she gave me a hug. She then asked if everything was okay and I said yes. I told the group of them that I was trying something different, that I try to get at least ten hugs a day. The daughters husband who is this big EVAC guy said, I like what you’re saying Mr Pepper, I could tell that he was moved by the whole conversation.

    I don’t think I got ten hugs for the day, but that’s okay I’ll get there one day at a time.

    Keep calm and keep growing, Mr Pepper

  5. Hug update

    Nov, 15, 2014

    So I’m at my hugging palace ( AKA Work or Slock ) and I’m averaging around five hugs a day, which is pretty darn good progress from a non Hugger. Anyways I had just given a hug to a long time friend( first time) and the leader of the Slockies was standing near by smiling and I said, Do you want a hug? He said no thanks. I said are you sure because I’ll give you one right now, he said no I’m good and his grin was even bigger now. I then said you haven’t heard about my antics this past week, I was careful not to say Hugging antics, I saw no reason to give him any clues. He said nope all is good Mr Pepper. He then said why don’t you go sell something and I replied will do:)

    Keep calm and keep growing, Mr Pepper

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