Smoky River Family and Community Support Services – In Focus

Jean Moore-Lemoine
Community Development Coordinator

A Hug Rewind

I wrote this article about a year ago to encourage people in our region to do the “healthy hug” thing! A few recent happenings made me realize I needed to redo the message.

A hug is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “to press tightly in the arms, to hold fast, to stay close to”. Hugging therapy is definitely a powerful way of healing. Research has shown that hugging (and laughter) is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress.

Smoky River FCSS staff are always open to listening. Sometimes, we can help with a concern, sometimes we will refer you and, sometimes we can even offer a cup of coffee!Always, we will give you a hug! We have seniors who have no immediate family here but they trust the FCSS staff or “my girl” to be there for them. It’s always amazing to us how easy it is to help someone feel better.

Virginia Satir was a well respected American author and therapist best known for her pioneer work in the field of families. She said “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” Eight or more might seem quite high, but ask a child “How many hugs a day would you like?” and they will tell you “I do not know how many I like, but it’s lots!”

There are at least eight benefits to hugging.

These activities relax the body and build trust and a sense of safety. Hugs also boost oxytocin levels which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation and anger.

Hugs strengthen the immune system and help relieve pain which help keep the body healthy and disease free!! Hugs also boost self-esteem, building a sense of self-worth and connecting us to our ability to love ourselves.

A healthy individual leads to a healthy community. Hugs and communication balance out the nervous system and teach us to let go and be present in the moment, to give and receive. The energy exchange between people hugging is an investment in a relationship. Hugs encourage empathy and understanding.

Scientists say that hugging is a form of communication because it can say things you do not have the words for. And, the nicest thing about a hug is that you usually can’t give one without getting one!!

So, if you feel lonely, are having a “bad day” or need someone to listen, someone to hug, please stop at the Smoky River FCSS office. You are always welcome!!


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