Thursday, December 3, 2020

"Virtual Hugs"

In studying the impact of “hugs” in helping to protect individuals from getting sick and/or the severity of illness symptoms, Dr. Sheldon Cohen reported that the apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself and/or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and affection. “Well,” I can hear you say, “big deal about that research since we are supposed to keep 6-feet physical distancing from others—forget about hugging.” Yes, currently, physical distancing is advised. But you and your brain can still be benefited by “virtual hugs” in my brain’s opinion. Studies have shown that when you think of something in the past that triggered laughter and you choose to laugh in the present reliving that memory, the same chemicals that were released during the actual event or episode are released again. Think of the best hug you ever had or a person who you really love to hug. Now rehearse that hug in your mind’s eye. Close your eyes and “feel” again in memory the sensation of being enveloped in a safe, secure, affectionate hug. . . 

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