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Happiness Tip: Give Someone a Hug

We don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day to generous with our hugs! Dacher Keltner’s studies show that touch is the primary language of compassion, love, and gratitude–all positive emotions. Read all about the way that hugs make us feel better in Keltner’s terrific book, Born to Be Good, and in this essay.

Take Action: Hug someone you wouldn’t normally every day this week. (I don’t really need to say this but…please make sure it will be appreciated, first!). If you’ve no one to hug at the moment, watch this “Free Hugs” video.


One comment

  1. Karen says:

    In my opinion, drinking 8 glasses of water a day definitely doesn’t even come close to the health benefits of giving/getting 8 hugs a day! Face-to-face physical connection – I’m not talking sex here, just real, depthful, caring attention to, interest in, and acceptance of one another –  is what we’re built for as human beings. When we starve ourselves of this intimate, real connection with others consistently over long periods of time, we become anxious, unsettled, depressed, and literally sick and tired. Just look at the obesity rampant in our country…and now spreading throughout the world…we’re trying to fill our broken hearts and lost, lonely souls with food (and bad food at that) or pharmaceuticals (which are only masking the problem or making us sicker) instead of seeking what we really need.

    There’s an interesting article in the May issue of The Atlantic that speaks to the fact that we all are feeling lonelier and more isolated than ever before despite the high degree of constant technological connectedness we now live with in the age of Facebook, etc.  “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” by Stephen Marche is definitely worth a read and some quiet reflection on the research and insights therein.

    I heard Dacher Keltner and Christine Carter speak at Tam High School in Mill Valley about a year ago. As I understand it, they had been asked to come share their GGSC research & insights with Mill Valley parents concerned about the alarming rate of rising suicide in Marin County – one of the most beautiful and over-privileged places on the planet – so why are kids so sad they’re killing themselves?!? The science behind their work is fascinating – the funny thing that struck me is feeling that the research really only tells the story that we all already know intuitively deep in our souls…if we just would be still enough to listen.

    We simply need to take the time to pause and redirect our daily actions to fulfill the needs we have sloughed off as unimportant in our great haste to produce and consume more and more as if that will somehow save the world. We need to all look inward and focus on saving ourselves and listening to the hunger and yearning of our own souls…then, 1 hug at a time, with 8 of them a day, we can collectively save ourselves and our planet 🙂

    Just my $.02. Hope it hits home and makes at least some people be present long enough to think and change as I am trying to…hug by hug, day by day…

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