Are you a “hugger”? You know what I mean. Some people are big huggers and some… not so much. I came from a family that was in the “not so much” category as it applied to physical affection. How about you? Here’s a test… if someone hugs you, who lets go first? It wasn’t until I was an adult that some of my friends started to win me over the huggy side of the fence. And you know what, I’ve never looked back.
My wife and I are super affectionate to our now 9½ year old girl. I recall reading studies that animals who were provided plenty of food, water and warmth, but no touching, grew weak and even died. Our daughter certainly is in no danger except perhaps from an overzealous hug. 😉 But what about us adults? Do we need hugs, too? I think the common wisdom says we do… that it affects our happiness and health, BUT…
We live in a world that’s increasingly distancing us from other people. Families live in other states or even countries. And we spend increasing amounts of time online instead of together. So can friends, maybe even friends we’ve never met in person, contribute to our health and well being via social media as an article on BitRebels by Dianna Adams asks, “Can Twitter Hugs Improve Your Health?” She says, “Yes”, and I agree. So here’s my question… do you hug online?
I do. On Facebook and Twitter when I notice someone seems to be having a rough day I take a moment to check in, ask how they are doing, and offer a hug. It goes both ways. Just yesterday one of my online friends sent me a *hug* via tweet. And you know what? It made me feel better! So I’m committed daily to trying to make a difference in at least a few peoples lives by caring and offering *hugs*. Maybe it’s a small thing, but cumulatively…
I’ll bet if more and more people offered genuine caring positive thoughts and hugs, even if it’s just online via social media, that it will have a very real physiological and psychological effect. I’m no scientist and I can’t back this up, but what do you think? It feels right, and certainly can’t hurt. In fact I’ve just coined a new Twitter tag, #IHugBack! I see people post #IFollowBack, but wouldn’t it be great if we all hugged back?
For all of my dear friends online, many of whom I’ve never met in person, thank you for the difference you’ve made in my life. I like the idea that if our 9 year old must grow up in a world that’s increasingly disconnected physically, while super-connected technologically, that she’ll have an ongoing source of *hugs* when the day comes (I pray a very long time from now) when Daddy’s not there to give them.
So… go out an hug someone. Hug several someones, whether in person or online. Oh, and let them know #IHugBack!