I have been offering small hugging workshops for men every month for over a year. During that time I have had a chance to witness what happens to the attendees when they participate, and why they often come back month after month.
It’s simple really. The touch that is given and received is gentle, but powerful. The men feel deeply restored by the experience. At the end, they are usually silent and it is hard to get them to leave. They are in a state of bliss.
Surprisingly, even when someone is paired with someone they have never met before, and possibly someone who is very different in age…they still go to that incredibly peaceful place.
When we feel safe, our bodies respond chemically in very positive ways. Oxytocin and serotonin get pumped through us and the result is a rich sense of comfort, connection and well being. We are designed to benefit from being held.
Though our culture tells us we shouldn’t need this, that outside of a romantic relationship it is “weird”, the body doesn’t think so. We’re encouraged to hide vulnerability and to stand on our own, but it isn’t working. Judging from recent studies, about 40% of people report being lonely…almost half of us all!
After my very first “hugging” experience 16 years ago, I remember thinking, “How is it everyone doesn’t know about this?!?” I’m still wondering the same thing.