I can’t deny the feel-good factor of a really great hug, sometimes it is the thing that will completely make your day, but the idea of snuggling up to a total stranger? I have my reservations.
Nonetheless, it’s Random Huggers Day on Sunday (yes, you heard me), and so this seems as good a time as any to explore the pros and cons of a really good cuddle. Well, on a psychological level we know that a nurturing touch helps to build a sense of trust and safety; it can be a very honest form of communication that has a wider effect on our wellbeing. We know that babies who are cuddled have a very positive response distinct from those who are not, so this is instinctive all the way from the cradle.
On a physical level, an extended hug is known to lift serotonin levels, elevate your mood, and create a general sense of happiness. More practically, it has even been said that it can strengthen the immune system, balance the nervous system, release tension, reduce aches and pains, and increase circulation. In fact many see a good cuddle as tantamount to meditation, helping you to be in the here and now … which is always a good thing.
London’s Cuddle Workshops are run by Anna Nathan Shekory and Tom Fortes Mayer, and can see up to 20 strangers spooning, holding hands, and generally getting up close and personal for up to four hours at a time. In a world where we can all be pretty stand-offish, I can see where they are coming from and no doubt there is a market for it. Much as I like a hug though, I am still a little reserved about the situation. What do you think?
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