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10 Tips To Giving The Best Hugs

Mark Kolbe / Staff

Written by Jen Miller, Guest Contributor

Multiple studies have concluded that touch, especially hugging, provides numerous health benefits. If you’re looking for a great way to boost your immune system, reduce your stress, improve your sleep and even help cure depression, you need to consider hugging. Hugs have no side effects and require no prescription. Even better, they’re free and can be given and received anywhere, at any time.

Here are 10 tips to help you give and receive great hugs:

1. Make Eye Contact

Credit: Christian Petersen / Staff

The eyes serve as the focal point of the body.

People who maintain eye contact are perceived as more reliable, warm, sociable and honest.(47)

Eye contact opens the channels for non verbal communication.

2. Approach Slowly

Once eye contact has been made, wait for a signal which indicates that the hug will be accepted.

If the signal is given, approach slowly, allowing the other person time to move into the embrace.

Sometimes hand clasping, or arm grabbing happens before a hug; that’s fine too.

3. Read Body Language

Make sure that the person you are hugging is ready to accept physical contact with you.

Hug only when the person you want to hug extends his or her arms. If the person doesn't look like he or she is preparing to hug you, then don't force it. Lower your arms and try to back off gracefully.

4. Open Your Arms

Credit: Clive Brunskill / Staff

The act of hugging makes us vulnerable. As you open your arms you expose your heart and chest to the person in front of you.

Opening your arms shows that you are willing to take the risk and allow someone else into your personal space.

5. Take A Deep Breath

Once the hug has begun, take a deep breath.

This allows the two bodies to synchronise to each other’s breathing and relax.

6. Lean Into The Hug

Credit: Gregory Shamus / Staff

Many people nowadays practice the ‘tent hug’, whereby their tupper bodies touch briefly, but their lower halves maintain a distance. This type of hug does not give the benefits that full body contact does.

When our bodies make full contact, out chakras all line up and energise each other.

Without making the other person uncomfortable, lean your body into the hug and make contact.

7. Use A Light Touch To Start

Different people have different comfort levels with touch and personal space. For this reason it is important to approach the hug gently.

Avoid hugging the person too tightly. The best way to judge how tightly or loosely to hug is to let whomever you're hugging indicate what they want by how hard they squeeze. If they are soft, be soft back; if they like bear hugs and squeeze tightly, hug back the same way.

8. Be Genuine

Credit: Chris Jackson / Staff

Don’t expect anything from a hug other than a shared moment of warmth and bonding.

Unless stated otherwise, a hug is just a hug, and means nothing more.

Hug with genuine intent to share yourself and make the other person feel better, and your hug will likely be welcomed and appreciated.

If either of you requested the hug, then make the person you're hugging feel safe. Act as though the two of you are the only people who matter at the moment.

Most people appreciate a good hug. If you are genuine and comforting in your hugs, people will notice.

9. Hold The Hug

Credit: Sean Gardner / Stringer

Hold the hug for at least 20 seconds before letting go.

Research has shown that this is the minimum amount of time for emotional and physical benefits of hugs to start working.

A hug is a powerful way to communicate that you care for another person, so ending the hug too soon can make both of you feel awkward.

10. Release Gradually

Once you feel that it’s time to end the hug, disengage gently.

Most of the time this release occurs without any verbal cues, and is understood by both people.

If your partner is someone close to you, often the hug transits into stroking the arms or hands, or smiling.

Enjoy the feel good benefits of your hug!

Credit: Jim Rogash / Stringer


Originally published on Jen Reviews