“I’ve been reading a lot lately about good mental health and simple ways to get happy. One thing I’ve read over and over is getting/giving 5 – 8 hugs a day. (The other methods to happiness don’t necessarily require help from others.)
I’d like to test this hug therapy theory. I need people to hug. Guys, girls, don’t matter. I can come to you, or you can swing by where I am. Contact me to make arrangements (920) 983-0966 email@example.com
This is not a joke. This is not intended to be “creepy”. This is a sincere test.
In this current world, I’ve never felt more connected and at the same time disconnected, and it’s really starting to feel unhealthy.
“Virtual Hugs” don’t count.
Bonus: You get a hug too.”
The above was my Facebook status today. It go 17 “likes” 2 offers for hugs today. 2 solid offers for hugs in the immediate future. And one offer for a hug next time I see the person (I haven’t seen her in person for at least 5 years, so who knows about that one.) Anyway, for starters, my first observation is that it’s way easier to click “like” than to follow through on some action. And the “likes” were nice, but did not give me anywhere near the same good feeling as the people who offered actual hugs. I think that’s already a big take away… not that it’s not obvious, but somehow it’s more obvious to me having actually experienced it. Virtual connections with people are a much much weaker connection than actual ones.
#1. From my daughter. These are always good. I’ve known all her life that she has the same effect on me as Vitamin D, only x1000. She knew I was doing this experiment, so she did make the comment; “Is that why you hugged me longer than normal?” Yeah, yeah it was. I don’t get to see her every day, so it’s not a given that I’ll get to hug her every day. I do enjoy the hugs from her.
#2. My neighbor. He lives 3 doors down from me. He’s in a band (guitar and singing) we’ve talked before about performing, and music, etc. I was strangely really nervous about this hug. He was the first to offer, and I didn’t see that coming. We’ve talked… I don’t think we’ve ever shaken hands before (probably did, but I don’t recall.) But, I honestly felt nervous. Was this too weird of a request? Will I be perceived as “strange” or “needy” or “gay” or … any number of other things. I almost didn’t do it. I was supposed to swing by at 5:30. He said he’d be home making some kick ass Marinara sauce. As it turned out, my landlord stopped by right at 5:28 to fix my bathtub and was getting chatty. I probably should’ve offered him a hug, but I don’t think he’s ready for that, and I’m certainly not ready to hug my landlord yet. The point is, I was now running late (still had to get dinner ready for the kid) and when I went to my neighbor’s (Johnny Mazz, by the way.) I was feeling nervous, and frantic. The hug was good. A little longer than a normal “guy” hug. We talked about hugging. We talked about the addition he’s putting on his house. It was nice to learn a little more about him and his family.
#3. Johnny’s wife, Amy was home too, so I got a bonus hug. I knew this already, but confirmed, women are better at hugging than guys are. There’s more sincerity there. Johnny actually woke her up for the hug, she’d been napping on the couch. To her credit, she took a couple minutes to wake up completely before hugging.
They both wished me well. They asked how long this was going on for and I said “Four weeks… or, maybe the rest of my life if it really works and makes me happy.” I really have no larger goal in mind, but Amy said “who knows, it’s these small changes that become bigger movements in the world.” She’s probably right.
#4. Reanna Reimer. She has Hot Yoga about 1 minute away from my house. She let me know she was done and I zipped right over. Reanna suggests that the average hug is usually 3 seconds, but to be effective they should be 20 seconds. Our hug was a little longer (not 20 seconds… that’s a long time.) She apologized for being sweat, which she wasn’t that I could tell, just warm like you’d be after hot yoga. It was raining a light drizzle. We talked about her goal of not having sugar or alcohol for one month. It’s going well, but now she craves salt… weird.
The goal is 5 hugs from 5 people a day. Started the project a little late in the day, so I’m excusing myself from getting to all 5 on the first day.
Immediate results. Well, there’s no denying, it feels great. Not just the hug, the hugs were all good. The after effects. I felt bubbly. Musical. I felt a bit of euphoria. The actual euphoria wore off back to normal levels within 15 – 20 minutes. But the general happy feeling lasted longer. Not sure how much was due to the excitement of a new project vs. the actual hugs.
Writing this, I’ve noticed that I can feel the adrenaline rush of excitement (I just got back from Reanna.)
On days when I don’t run into people normally, besides my daughter (Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays) it’s going to more difficult to get the hugs in, but I’ll do my best. On those days, sometimes I can manage to not encounter or talk to anyone. I hope this experiment changes that.
Thanks for reading. I’ll keep posting daily results as they happen. And, as always, if you want a hug, just let me know.