This year, my company is offering a series of employee wellness seminars. They’re based on the concept of self-improvement and encourage 21-days of personal wellness.
Last month the theme was gratitude. Interested employees attended a seminar with lifestyle and fitness expert Sean Foy. He led the group through a presentation on gratitude and then distributed a workbook so that participants could practice gratitude for 21 days. This month, the theme was “21 Days of Love”.
The “21 Days of Love” session was interesting: we took a pre-test to see where we ranked and discussed ways that we could practice giving and being loved over the next 21 days. We discussed our love languages and how learning someone else’s love language allows you to better understand, appreciate and serve them.
While all of this was interesting, a fascinating learning that really stuck with me was the important role hugs play in the human experience.
I am not a hugger.
In fact, any kind of personal touch makes me super uncomfortable.
So I was not thrilled to learn how important hugging is.
According to family therapist Virginia Star, we need 4 hugs a day for survival.
She went on to say, we need 8 hugs a day for maintenance, and 12 (!!!) hugs a day for growth.
I found this absolutely unbelievable and went back to my desk to ask my co-workers (all of whom happened to be male at that moment) if they thought the hugging research was a hoax.
It turns out ALL OF THEM ARE HUGGING MACHINES.
And, they all received upwards of 8 hugs a day, if not 12.
Also, if we’re being honest right now, I was a little mad that I was such an emotional underachiever–I take pride in being good at a lot of things–especially simple things. This was shocking and unacceptable.
A little more research revealed that according to a University of North Carolina study, simple acts of hugs and hugging increased levels of the hormone oxytocin and lowered blood pressure.
I probably give and receive a total daily maximum of 4 hugs–and that’s IF I see my girlfriend at work.
In light of this information, I thumbed through the journal to look at the taskes. Day 9 of the 21-day journal encourages participants to “make it a point to give 8-10 hugs today” and journal your experience.
I’m a little concerned that I’m not going to get anything accomplished if I have to give out 8 hugs-but I’m going to try!
Do you get the recommended daily hug quota?
Happy Hug Day! Be sure to hug someone today, and get a little oxytocin too!