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Big Hugs

Submitted by ub on Sun, 01/13/2019 - 17:56

As a romantic Latino, I like to hug and kiss, but over the years I have learned the hard way that a good hug has consequences, especially at a work environment and the situation could get dicey, I know from personal experience.

A hug is a form of endearment, universal in human communities, in which two or more people put their arms around the neck, back, or waist of one another and hold each other closely. If more than two persons are involved, it is referred to as a group hug.

When I first met my mother-in-law, I reached out to hug her and she almost had a heart attack. You see, in Asia, folks don't normally show this type of affection, and especially in public. Today, I am sending a cyber hug to my son Yiliang for his birthday!

Others hate being hugged, the world can be a challenging place. You never know when someone you’re meeting for a quick coffee will approach you, arms open wide, coming in for an embrace. The options are limited: you can awkwardly dodge the gesture, stick out your hand for a handshake, or submit to the unwanted hug.

Regardless of whether you are pro or anti-embrace, here’s the real deal... some people love to hug, while others not so much. It depends on how the individual was raised. Whether a person grew up in a family that was always hugging or was brought up in an environment that lacked touch, these factors can leave a lasting impact.

As NY Bureau Chief for The Associated Press, I visited my colleagues in Tokyo. I entered the bureau and the Chief introduced me to his newsroom staff, I gave him a big hug in front of his entire staff and everyone seemed shocked, including the boss. He later wrote me a note explaining his reaction but added that his people were beginning to hug in the newsroom.

There are two main ways that not being touched affects a growing body: it can lead to an underdeveloped vagus nerve, which runs from the spinal cord to the abdomen. This can decrease the ability to be intimate or compassionate and can lead to an underdeveloped oxytocin system, the glands which release the oxytocin hormone that can help humans form bonds with others.

Without this hormone, it can be harder to pick up on social cues and even be more sociable. So hugging and touch are incredibly important for youngsters and not sending them to military school, even if you don’t particularly like them as an adult.

OK - Are you thinking what I am thinking?