December is one of my favorite months of the year. That’s because I see my friends and family in December more than any other time of year. In addition to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we meet up at school concerts, class parties, church, cookie swaps, and gift exchange luncheons. We may shop together, cook together, or celebrate together, but December is always the time when we are together the most.
Whether it’s been years, months, or even days since we’ve seen each other, we always greet one another with a great big hug. Then, when it’s time to say good-bye, we hug again. By the end of the season my touch-love tank is full.
In January, after the school winter concerts, holiday parties, and dinners have become happy memories, things slow down and return to normal — and I find myself missing hugs the most.
Did you know that it’s scientifically proven that hugs contribute to one’s overall well being?
Hugs instantly boost oxytocin levels.
This causes the huggers to bond. The release of this hormone is associated with contentment and relaxation. It even has the ability to heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
Hugs boost self-esteem.
Touch, especially from a parent, communicates to a child that they’re special and that they are loved. Memories of these physical interactions remain with children well into adulthood.
Hugs are an investment into a relationship.
The action alone, even without the exchange of words, speaks volumes. It encourages empathy and understanding, plus it builds trust and a sense of safety which facilities open and honest communication.
Hugs not only benefit our emotions but our physical bodies too.
It relaxes muscles and releases tension in the body. Hugs can actually take away pain and soothe aches.
While I don’t need a scientist to tell me how wonderful hugs are, these facts serve as a great reminder to share them all year.. If not just for our well-being, then we can share the love for the sake of our children and the friends and family we care about.
If you love hugs as much as I do, then you will love the book I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug! by Caroline B. Cooney. Beautifully illustrated by Tim Warnes, it imagines all the wonderful ways a child might give and receive a hug. And who better to demonstrate those ways then a huge cuddly bear?
As you snuggle with your kids, you can try out the different kind of hugs presented in the book. I guarantee your children will love the time you spend together, sharing both the physical and emotional connection.
Just like hugs, I will be sharing this book all year round with my little ones.
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In case you were wondering, our favorite hug from the book is the slippery fish hug. However in real life, my family is a fan of the group hug. Do you have a favorite kind of hug?