Will We Ever Hug Again?

“One day someone is going to hug you so tight that all of your broken pieces will stick together.”Anonymous

Three months and counting…Covid-19 is still looming over us. The unpredictable nature of this pandemic has affected us all in different ways — mentally, physically, and economically. Even though most of us have managed to adapt to the new routine, being home all day, wearing masks when in public, not being able to travel etc., deep down many have doubts of how things will be when all this is over.

For the past month or so, my friend Ms. G and I have been walking together in the mornings. Well, we live about 400 miles apart and if walking at the same time while talking on the phone counts as walking together, then that’s what we have been doing. During one of our walks, she said “I asked my husband if things would ever go back to being normal; will people ever shake hands, will we be able to hug our friends again?” I am quite sure she’s not the only one who has had these thoughts.

Personally, I strongly believe that hugs work miracles. From a congratulatory hug to simply holding someone close as they go through a tough phase, a hug helps make a deep connection with the other person. It’s like a smile, there’s no cost involved in giving them out and both the giver and receiver benefit.

I remember writing a post about the benefits of hugging, a couple of years ago. In that I had mentioned that according to some studies, a simple hug could calm the nerves, reduce heart rate, relieve menstrual pain, lower blood pressure, and even slow down the aging process. Isn’t that amazing?

A hug is also said to release feel good hormones that help you calm down and feel joyful. Experts also claim that a hug can improve mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. I guess the phrase “a warm hug” quite literally describes the relaxation and joy that spread through the body like warmth when being hugged. While reading through the draft, my husband reminded me of the movies Munna Bhai MBBS (Hindi)/Vasool Raja MBBS (Tamil) and I was like, darn, why didn’t I think of it? Anyway, in the movies the protagonists believe in the concept of ‘jadoo ki jhappi’ (magical hug)/’kattipudi vaidhyam’ (therapeutic hug) and offer it to anyone who needs a little boost to go about their everyday life. One scene that is flashing before my eyes right now is that of an old man mopping the hospital floor while constantly cribbing about how the passers by don’t care about the work he is doing. The hero notices this, stops, hugs the old man and thanks him for his service. This calms the old man down and he continues mopping, with a smile on his face. There are many other scenes in the movies, which demonstrate how a simple hug can help pacify people facing stressful situations.

Children benefit from hugs too

And it is not just adults who experience this; children benefit from hugs too. Right from a newborn who is swaddled close to the mother’s body to an adolescent in need of a little pick-me-up, children feel secure and loved when hugged by a parent or older relative.

Remember that “A hug is the perfect gift; one size fits all, and nobody minds if you exchange it.” — Anonymous. So, the next time you see a loved one feeling down and low, just go give them a big bear hug! I am sure you both will feel better. Friends might have to wait though…

Here’s to a future (hopefully not too far) where hugs will be back in circulation!


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