Tag Archives: hugs

The secret to a great hug: just breathe

25 Oct
Stormtrooper hug

On The Happiness Project blog, this week’s resolution is to “hug more, kiss more, touch more.” I’ve been thinking about that a lot today.

Last night, ignoring my friend Jenn’s very smart advice that you should never work late on a Monday night (it sets the whole week off on the wrong foot), I stayed up until midnight finishing up some work. And of course, I burned myself out. By 2 pm (since I had also skipped lunch), my mind was a mess. I came home early, as my neighbor Pat was out back having a smoke.

Pat, a former hospice nurse, is a great neighbor and human being — he’s amazingly empathetic and very much in tune with the people around him. As we wrapped up the conversation, he gave me a big hug. We talked about hugs, and he said, “What I like to do is not hug too tight, but just to wrap your arms around someone” — he wrapped his arms around me — “And just breathe. I used to do that to my patients.” We took three deep breaths, then let go.

His hug reminded me of Fr. Andy, a Jesuit who worked at a retreat house along the Oregon coast and who was the best hugger I have ever met. Fr. Andy was tall, and his arms would encircle you. He’d hold you close and safe but not too tight — and then just breathe.

Photo: Some rights reserved by Kalexanderson