A Hug at the Right Time is Priceless
The embrace of a loved one at the right time helps us to free oxytocin and allows us to feel better in the moment, as much if we give it as if we receive it.
There are few things that reassure us more than a hug at the right time. These gestures heal, calm worries, and snuff out those fears that make us vulnerable, estranged in our own identity.
Our brain, curious as it is, is programmed to connect with people, to build links that guarantee us the ability to survive.
Also, they validate us as capable beings, confident and worthy of giving and receiving happiness.
When emotional caresses don’t show up in our everyday contexts, when nobody touches us, hugs us, or tells us that “I’m here with you; I’m thinking about you and I love you”—then something inside us disappears little by little.
Neuroscience explains to us that no child develops optimally if he isn’t nourished with displays of affection, if he’s not consoled after his tears, if he doesn’t feel loved and protected.
As we grow up, we clothe ourselves with that armor where we convince ourselves we are strong and invincible, that we can do anything, and that nothing really affects us.
However, our emotions continue having the same needs as those of a child. We all need to feel loved by the people who are significant to us, and certain that we’re not going to be abandoned.
Hugs won’t solve the greatest problems in the world, but they are the essential solution in the moments of most need.
Hugs make us close our eyes for a very concrete reason
A caress, a light brush, a hug from a loved one suffices—at the very instant—to release a special neuropeptide that also performs the function of a hormone: oxytocin.
- This magical compound is the “glue” that unites souls, the motor that ignites the relationship between mother and child, between lovers and between friends that appreciate and help one another.
- Also, animals have this neurotransmitter available that produces those ties between wild packs and social units that dwell in a determined ecosystem.
Oxytocin lights up the brain, inviting us to be more friendly and caring. It has great power in those areas related to the emotions, and at the same time, it gives us a way of communicating in a kind of language that needs no words.
One curious fact that without a doubt will have called your attention is why when we kiss or embrace, it is common to close our eyes.
In those instances when emotion is intense and we find our brains immersed in the liberation of oxytocin, we choose to shut our eyes. This way, we are able to focus on what really matters: our emotions.
Hugging or kissing with open eyes completely breaks that intensity and doesn’t make it authentic.
Absence of hugs, emptiness of soul
When we have a bad day, when we are deceived, afraid, insecure, or simply have a common cold or other sickness, we commonly need to lie down on the sofa and curl up for awhile.
- We eventually end up in a fetal position and cross our arms in that instinct almost natural. It is that instinct to feel physical contact, even if it comes from ourselves.
- We need to be enveloped, clothed, and covered with love. In those cases, few things are as therapeutic as receiving a hug from a loved one, whether it be a partner, our mother, or a friend.
- The physical need of security and support through touch never goes away.
- These acts confer to us a calming effect that sometimes can speed up the curing of many illnesses.
- Feeling supported and loved strengthens our immune system. That sincere, altruistic, emotional support does much more than a simple vitamin.
- In fact, sometimes even the hand of a doctor on our shoulder at the right time gives us encouragement and reassurance.
To go without these natural showings of consideration creates deep hollow places in our soul and in the emotional part of our brain.
The rules of a good hug
Something we all know is that, for all we are told, not all hugs work and not everyone can cross that personal boundary to physical contact.
A stranger’s hug is not nice, reassuring, and comfortable to us. In fact, in our social circle, we also have family and friends who we don’t want to have this contact with.
At the same time, it is also common to have people we love but who don’t know how to give hugs, who don’t take the risk. Therefore, this advice will always serve us well:
- A hug should be spontaneous, sincere, and intense. If you love someone, hug them. Don’t wait for them to offer one to you. Do it at the right time.
- Children always reach an age in which they seem to defend themselves against hugs. However, although they express themselves otherwise, it pleases them and makes them feel good.
Hug them for a few seconds.
In those situations when you realize that words don’t work anymore or the conversation is heading in a hole without an exit, don’t hesitate—give a hug.
Because sometimes, a hug at the right time can be the solution for many things.