Hugs are behind Day 8 of the Build a Better You Advent Calendar. Or, as my friends and clients in Stockholm call them, kramar.


Hugs Keep Us Healthy!

Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist, said “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

Current research supports Satir’s prescient wisdom. Hugs and social support have a “stress-buffering effect.”

Frequent hugging is associated with developing fewer colds and respiratory infections.

You’d think coming into contact with more people would make you sicker. All those germs! Etc. But no. A study published in the peer-reviewed Psychological Science journal found that:

  • The more often people were hugged, the less likely they were to get sick.
  • This held true even for people who had a lot of conflict in their lives.

8 hugs a day

Hugging is good medicine and it feels good. If you want a layman’s breakdown of the study I recommend this article.

Why is hugging so important?

Touch builds trust and emotional safety. It improves the chances of having open and loving communications.

Hugging instantly boosts hormones which promotes feelings of connection, belonging, and a better mood: oxytocin and serotonin (the same chemical mentioned in the name of a class of anti-depressants). More hugs mean more happy feelings.

Hugs are part of perceived social support, or that feeling of being cared about by others. They’re a deposit in the emotional bank account of your relationship. They foster empathy and understanding between people and promote positivity.

Hugs definitely belong in your first-aid kit for anxiety and depression. They’re as important as laughter and meditation. They keep us present in the moment, and pull us into a living, loving flow.

Your homework assignment today is to give someone else a hug

Since I can’t hug you via the internet, please go hug someone else (with their permission of course). You’ll both get a wonderful boost.

Remember, you need at least 8 hugs a day to keep you healthy. So get huggin’!

Image Credit

Free Hugs” by Flickr user Matthew G is licensed under CC BY 2.0.