Excerpt from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“A hug is a form of nonverbal communication. Depending on culture, context and relationship, a hug can indicate familiarity, love, affection, friendship or sympathy. A hug can be given as an indication of support, comfort, and consolation; particularly where words are insufficient. A hug is usually a demonstration of affection and emotional warmth; sometimes arising out of joy or happiness at meeting someone or seeing someone that they have not seen in a long time.
Unlike some other forms of physical intimacy, a hug can be practiced publicly and privately without stigma in many countries, religions and cultures, within families, and also across age and gender lines. It is generally an indication that people are familiar with each other. Moving from a handshake (or touch-free) relationship to a hug relationship is a sign of a new friendship.
Hugging has been proven to have health benefits. One study has shown that hugs increase levels of oxytocin, and reduce blood pressure.”
One of the aspects that surprised me when I became a home health care consultant in 1989 was that most everyone hugs each other when meeting regardless of if it’s in the office, the trade show, or at a conference. Gee, nobody hugged me when I was a Medicare auditor from 1977 to 1989. Generally it is a woman hugging a woman, or man and rarely is it man to man. Man to man hugs have recently gotten more common. I reluctantly practiced hugging at first, as being a consultant; it seemed to be part of the job. Over time this got to be enjoyable and I found myself looking forward to it (my protocol is still letting the other person decide, other than my grandchildren who have no choice). It is very hard be in a bad mood or depressed after a hug.
Remember when you hug someone you also hug yourself.