Hug Me Now

"One day someone is going to hug you so tight that all of your broken pieces 
will stick back together." ~ Anonymous
{Quote share credit: my cousin Josh's beautiful wife Jen posted this on facebook last night}

When I read the words of that quote on my computer screen last night, I literally felt the warm energy of a tight hug and the comfort it can bring. I saw in my mind broken pieces getting clasped back together through the power of touch and expressions of love. 

Nothing like hugging your very own motha'

There is healing power in touch. As a parent, I am constantly reminded of our instinctive need for touch. You have likely noticed that children run to a parent or caring adult when they are in pain, scared, or just needing an extra boost. My children want me to hold them, kiss their wounds, and give them regular hugs. And I need it too! I have a much better day when I get a good hug, and a bad day can be made a little bit brighter when a trusted friend offers a gentle touch.

I experienced the healing power of touch most dramatically during the labor of my last baby. I was (purposefully) working through contractions without pain medication, going through an intense transition time when my doula spoke empowering affirmations and put her hand on my shoulder. Immediately my shoulders, neck, and back relaxed. In that moment, I felt like her touch was magic. Her continued touch (and others) helped me work through those hours and focus so I could naturally birth my 10 lb 4 oz baby girl!

Skin-on-skin with my newborn Miss N

We are born to make connections through touch. Studies are increasingly showing the value of skin-to-skin contact for babies to thrive. Early childhood education experts talk about the value of touch for brain development (learned a little bit about this at the Science Museum of Minnesota's new Wonder Years exhibit yesterday) I enjoy giving hugs to my children, my family, and favorite friends. Those hugs are communicating something that I don't have to say out loud (or maybe I should also do that!). Connections made through hugs (and other physical touch) are valuable for both the giver and the receiver.

"The first sensory input in life comes from the sense of touch while a baby is still in the womb, and touch continues to be the primary means of learning about the world throughout infancy and well into childhood. Touch is critical for children's growth, development and health, as well as for adults' physical and mental well-being. Yet, the American society is dangerously touch-deprived." 
~Tiffany Field, PhD

"If touch is a language,
 it seems we instinctively know how to use it. 
But apparently it's a skill we take for granted. "
From an article 
on the Power of Touch 
from Psychology Today HERE 

The emerging science of touch is fascinating. Even more amazing is that each of us have the power to make another person's day better by a gentle touch of the hand, a pat on the back, or a tight, broken-piece-mending hug. 

Noted family therapist Virginia Satir is quoted as saying, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day 
for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

How many hugs will you share today?

On a similar note: check out  this video about a NYC photographer whose social experiment reveals a lot about the way touch connects people.

Every day in November!  NaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month. Write a post on your blog every day in November. For the 3rd year, I've decided to tackle this challenge & enjoy the opportunity to switch to writing mode. Want to join me? Leave your blog link in the comments so I can follow you too! 


Katie Bradley said...

Sometimes I'm too hesitant with a hug, wondering if the recipient is a "huggy person." I should just go for it when I feel I should. And if they didn't want it, tough! You've been loved!

JosephJ said...

I liked the video. I am a moderately huggy guy, and recognize that there is something special about physical contact with a person. And yet, sometimes I refrain from putting my hand on a person's shoulder because I don't want to encroach on their space. I need to get better at reading social cues to know what works best in which situations.

Emily Johnson said...

I want you to know that I hugged someone I may not have normally because of this blog post...and it seemed to be well received. :)