To survive, you need 4 hugs a day ; 8 to feel ok and 12 to grow and really feel happy, stated the American psychologist Virginia Satir.
Yes, human beings can die if they don’t get enough hugs.
For example, « hospitalism » is a term originally used by René Spitz to describe in the Thirties the early and brutal separation of babies from their parents, when they had to stay at the hospital because of a disease. Nowadays, the hospitalism diagnosis describes the state of depression of a baby when he or she lacks affection and tenderness. Meaning they’re provided everything they need to grow — food, water, medication — everything but love. Nobody really talking to them. No hug. And sometimes it even leads to death.
We all need to be touched
Oxytocin is one of the keys to understand this. It is the hormon of love. Some research have proved that good level of oxytocin in your brain even boost your immune system.
In these troubled times of lock down, some of you may be isolated. Or some members of your family or your friends.
So what can we do ?
- If you live with other people, hug them, and ask them to hug you.
- If not, maybe you have a pet to hug ?
- Other ways : maybe you already tried to roll yourself up in a blanket, maybe it worked. Today, I wanna talk to you about a kind of hug you can give to yourself, which is called the butterfly hug.
How does the butterfly hug work ?
Butterfly hug is a kind of hug originally used combined with EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy), a kind of therapy used to heal PTSD (Posttraumatic stress disorder), depression, anxiety and so on. But it actually shows effect even used on its own, as a grounding technique. It helps calming down, dealing with anxiety, panic attacks, stress, or to simply improve your weel-being on a daily basis (I mean you don’t need to feel bad to benefit from it or offer it to yourself). It works because it is a kind of bilateral stimulation, which connects both hemispheres of the brain and gets the all central nervous system to work as one. To learn more about the process, you can check this link and dig in this website.
How to butterfly hug yourself ?
Sit in a comfy position, maybe close your eyes if that helps. You have to do it hard enough, fast enough, and please dont forget to breathe to bring oxygen to you brain (noisily if you have to). You simply need to tap gently (but firmly) on your opposite shoulders or collarbones, alternating between both sides. In just a few minutes, you will feel a relief. Here’s a video showing the process, but you can find dozens on the internet. Go try it, give yourself a hug, and maybe share the idea if you know anyone who could benefit from it. Let’s spread the love.
Know also that you can do it on yourself but as well on somebody else in case of crying or pannicking for example, to support them and help them dealing with the emotion.