Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A hug a day keeps the doctor away :)

Reprised and updated from January 2011

It's that time of year again - time to celebrate one of my favorite forms of therapy - hugging. Yes, folks, today, January 21 is National Hugging Day. As I say with most holidays, National Hugging Day needs to be celebrated every day for us to thrive. Virginia Satir, a Wisconsin Marriage and Family Therapist agrees, "For human beings, you need two hugs a day to survive, four hugs for maintenance, six hugs to grow." 

The hug is one of the most common human signs of love and affection.

My Dad was the first person I knew to celebrate hugging! He was truly an inspiration to me and many others. Talk about a giver! He wore a button on his suit coat that said, “Everyday is a hug day” and treated his employees with compassion, honesty and integrity. His team knew they could count on him for support, no matter what, and they knew they’d get a big hug when needed!

According to an article I found in his effects after he died, “Hugging is painless, unless you are hugged by Hulk Hogan." The article ran June 11, 1986 in The Way We Live section of The Detroit Free Press and was titled, “Get Ready for the Big Squeeze” celebrating the 3rd Huggers Holiday. What better way to get your mojo on than a friendly hug.

There are some pretty basic hug styles. Below is a list of the most common types:

• The A-Frame: Shoulders are barely touching. Mostly done by members of the opposite sex
• One Sided: Moving only slightly closer, the huggers have close contact at one shoulder
• Two-Sided: There is close contact with both shoulders, but both stand with lower torsos apart. Sometimes the huggers may even step back and kiss each cheek.
• The Full On: From shoulders to the tips of your toes and every place in between!
• The Group Hug: You get it! Someone in the group yells, “Group Hug” and everyone joins in a big hug!
• The Run-and-Jump: Ever watch reunions at the airport? Those are my favorite – when two people run and jump into each others arms, with huge smiles on their faces – sometimes even tears!

One of my very favorite hug styles is in the form of a "Deep Hugging Meditation". A few years ago my friend Sean, Director at the Detroit Lotus Sangha, and I shared this practice with the group. It is one of the most powerfully moving styles of hugging I've experienced. It truly connects you with the person you are hugging in a way that shows a deep honor and regard for that soul, affirming that you are really there for them. In his book, Teachings on Love, Thich Nhat Hanh writes, "To be really there, you only need to breathe mindfully, and suddenly both of you become real. It may be one of the best moments in your life."

You might want to let people know ahead of time that you are celebrating National Hugging Day. Click here now to watch a few great National Hugging Day videos!! Brighten the life of another with a hug and a smile. 

For free meditations and more visit the resources page at

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