Why Do People Hug?

Why do people hug? To receive a hug is a very nice experience, especially if it comes from a loved one. But what makes a hug so special? A hug is the physical action of putting an arm or two arms across the shoulder or around the torso of another person. A hug has many nuances. A hug can say hello and goodbye, or it can mean you are welcome in this place. A hug when done by peers means acceptance as part of a group. It can mean everything is going to be alright and I’m here for you. It says that you are not alone and you’ve got a friend. A hug can say I’m going to miss you or I wish you weren’t going away. Hugs can speak volumes when words cannot sufficiently express what one feels. A real hug can warm a person right through a cold and suffering heart.

Is it any wonder then why people love to give and receive hugs? Hugging is also important for the development of a person. There is evidence that crack babies who were hugged cried less and put on weight faster than babies who weren’t picked up and hugged or cuddled. There is something that happens when we get hugged. Certain chemicals in the brain seem to get activated when a person is hugged. These feel-good chemicals are said to stimulate growth and even promote healing. Why do people hug people they love? Hugging a loved one reinforces the bond between people who love each other. It’s like keeping the furnace stocked with coal to keep the fire burning. When you love someone it’s important to sustain it with affectionate gestures. A hug can do that. Sometimes it can even help repair a broken relationship.

Some medical experts recommend hugging as a form of therapy. Regularly hugging a child helps him develop self esteem. Hugging a sick child is sometimes better than just giving him medicine. Nannies and nurses alike testify to the efficacy of a hug to calm a cranky, crying infant. There are so many good reasons for people to hug. There is also a social rule for hug giving though. One cannot simply hug a person you do not know. This is tantamount to harassment or disrespect in some countries. There are people you should not hug like a head of state or a government official, especially at a formal function. In an office, a superior hugging an employee can even be sued for unwanted advances. Hugging is only welcome in the correct circumstances. So be careful who and when you hug!

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