Friday, December 11, 2009

Counting Hugs

As I quoted in my last post, "We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth," says Virginia Satir, family therapist. In response to that quote, one of my college students joked, "If Virginia Satir is correct, then I am going to die."

The quote prompted me to count hugs for a week. Here is the raw data-

Saturday- 13 hugs
Sunday- 4 hugs
Monday- 6 hugs
Tuesday- 10 hugs
Wednesday- 6 hugs
Thursday- 1 hug
Friday- 1 hug

41 hugs in a week! It isn't the 84 needed for growth, but I am doing better than survival! And it was fun to pay attention and really appreciate the hugs I got/gave this week.

Here was what I learned from this experience-

1. There is a inverse relationship between the age of the students I work with and the number of hugs I get.

2. To get hugs from my son, I had to pay him. ("Here is how it works. You get 50 cents per hug. You have to mean it. Limit of two per day.") He only did it one day, however.

3. Thinking of hugs as a daily vitamin made me a lot more excited about each hug I got. I felt like they were little gifts of health. I tend to hang back and wait for the other person to initiate a hug, but this week I found myself inviting more hugs than usual.

4. For adults, hugs seem to be delegated to special occasions when you haven't seen someone in a while or for romantic relationships. So, there were days that went by for me that were relatively hug-free. If I had tried to hug the people at work, or the people who were waiting in line at the post office or at the grocery store instead of just saying hello and smiling, it would have been awkward for all involved. Hugs offer comfort and warmth and that isn't something that we often share with strangers or even with people with whom we have a professional relationship and see everyday.

5. Kids have it right. They are uninhibited about showing the joy they feel when they see someone that they like.

We adults, I think, are too grown up for our own health.

Have you hugged someone today?

Wishing you balance,



  1. i love this post :) and love getting and giving hugs..and i love "We adults, I think, are too grown up for our own health."

  2. Thank you Marinik! It was a thought that occurred to me as I was writing. It's true isn't it?


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