I have just had nine glorious days of love, connection and a whole lot of hugging, and jeez man, that stuff is the business!

We all need to be hugging more!!

I have recently gotten home from a Tony Robbins event called Date with Destiny.  It’s a six day event and it really is a life-changing one, not only for the participants but for everyone who is involved in it. The energy of that environment, I believe, really does change people on a cellular level!

There were just under 1700 participants and about another 250 trainers, coaches, leaders and crew which actually makes for a relatively intimate environment – crazy I know!

This time I was there in the capacity of crew member. Being a crew member means that we help: we help move chairs, we help participants get registered, we usher people, greet people, we clean the main room, we run microphones, we dance a lot, but most importantly (I believe) we hug!

I’ve realised that it’s the hugging I love most of all! I am naturally very tactile but so often in life I am moving quickly or trying to get stuff done so I don’t stop and take the time to hug the person in front of me.

This is actually a great tragedy! Our world desperately needs more hugging.

Being back in that beautiful environment, I am reminded of the importance of hugging and just how good it makes me and the people around me feel.

Not only does it feel amazing, it is doing good in my body at the same time.

Just this week, The Evening Standard published an article about the health benefits of hugging.

The article explained that hugs are an amazing provider of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone”.  Oxytoxin has been recognised as being of great benefit for several mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts on the brain’s emotional centre, promoting feelings of contentment, trust, intimacy and bonding. Now that’s the good stuff I am talking about!

Another huge bonus of our friend oxytocin is that it causes us to feel more relaxed, decreasing tension as well as levels of cortisol – the body’s stress hormone. Cortisol plays a key role in increasing blood pressure and heart disease so if we have less cortisol in our system, we are winning!

Not only are the hugs increasing our oxytocin but they give our serotonin levels a boost as well as dopamine. Both of these hormones play a key role in our emotions and how we feel. Again, the more the better!

Date with Destiny really is a marathon event! As crew, we are there for nine days. We spend three days preparing and then on our day four, the participants arrive and the games begin. A normal Date with Destiny day is somewhere between 14 to 18 hours, and normally towards that higher end of that scale. Based on that, it would be easy to expect a whole lot of illness from burning the candle at both ends. I am definitely a “nine hours sleep” a night sort of girl so this event is particularly gruelling in regards to sleep deprivation.

Interestingly enough though, I don’t get sick. Even though my body is exhausted and I feel like I am running on empty over the last few days, I keep going and I keep going with a smile on my face.

It’s because of the hugs!!

In a 2015 study involving 404 healthy adults, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University examined the effects of perceived social support and getting hugs on the participants’ susceptibility to developing the common cold after being exposed to the virus.

People who perceived greater social support were less likely to come down with a cold, and the researchers calculated that the stress-buffering effects of hugging explained 32 percent of that beneficial effect.

That is huge!

Interestingly, even those in the group who did get a cold had less severe symptoms. This was directly attributed to more frequent hugging and perceived social support that the hugging gave them.

If you want to feel better about life, if you want to be healthier and if you want more connection in your world, start hugging others. Do it frequently, with presence and enjoy it!

It appears to me that hugging is just another vehicle that our Creator/Universe/ God/Source Energy gave to us to live an even happier and healthier life.

Time to get using it!!




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