I recently went to an event with friends where, when it was over, everyone was hugging, like people do after an evening when feelings of closeness and well-being surround everyone. As I leaned in to hug one person, she said, “Oh, no, heart to heart.”
I looked at her questioningly, quickly cataloging my hug knowledge. Regular hug, polite hug, bear hug, lover’s hug, one-sided hug, smothering hug – like the one from a relative you wanted to escape when you were a kid.
She saw I was in hug turmoil.
Following that, we danced a ballet of arms and heads. The trick to hugging heart to heart is to lead with the left arm rising, lean to your right, left cheek to left cheek. We finally hugged heart to heart.
Why did I feel so awkward?
I step into a hug with my right arm rising. The heart to heart hug felt strange because nothing seemed in the right place. I’ve been a right side hugger all my life.
Did the heart to heart feel more close?
I know the words “heart to heart” have an intimacy to them. We have heart to heart talks, why not heart to heart hugs? The idea of heart to heart also feels good. Maybe it’s a mental thing that prepares you for the heart to heart. Did I feel more warmth? More closeness? Did our hearts synchronize? If so, these are positive benefits, especially after one article I read stated that in a traditional hug we hug “liver to liver.”
But to answer my question, Did it feel more close? I’m not sure. I haven’t done enough heart to heart hugs, without self-consciousness or deliberateness. I’ll have to do more research. (Somebody has to do it.) But it felt good.
There are any number of articles and much research on hugging in general. According to a Huffpost feature called “Healthy Living,” here are some definite hug benefits:
- Hugs make us feel good and energize us.
- More hugs = lower blood pressure.
- Hugs may alleviate our fears.
- Hugging can be good for our hearts.
- Adults can benefit from hugging the most.
- Hugs are a natural stress reliever.
- Well-hugged babies are less stressed as adults.
You’ll want to decide for yourself if a heart to heart hug is for you, if hearts synchronize. If it’s more close, more intimate. However, whether you hug to the right or to the left, I think the most important thing when you do hug is this: your heart is in the hug.
Something to remember – from Bill Keane, American cartoonist: A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away.
And one last thought – remember to give yourself a hug. You deserve it. And add a little positive self-talk.