“Give me a hug, slug!”
Five little words that mean so much.
My 6-year-old daughter knows there is nothing in the world that makes her mommy smile faster, brighter and longer than hearing her utter the words: “Give me a hug, slug!”
I don’t know exactly how or when she came up with the phrase, but I know I will never forget it for as long as I live.
Hugging is commonplace around here. We’re huggers. Serious huggers. And proud of it. In fact, there is little that a hug doesn’t make better in our family. Hurt feelings. Hug. Bad day. Hug. Face plant off the bed. Double hug.
“How ‘bout a hug” and “Let’s hug,” are among the top 10 phrases that pass by my lips each day, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that my little hugger coined her own expression to encourage physical affection.
Given all of the cuddling that goes on here, you’d think we’d be the ideal candidates to take part in a study about the benefits of hugging. But, alas, the folks at Duke University turned to others when it came time to prove that babies who receive “above-average levels of affection and attention from their mothers are less likely than other babies to grow up to be emotionally distressed, anxious, or hostile adults.”
Ah yes, the power of a good hug.
According to researchers, who traced the behavioral patterns of nearly 500 men and women from infancy to adulthood, babies, whose mothers consistently snuggle with and dote on them, grow into adults with “better than normal psychological health.”
Duke researchers believe that the release of oxytocin reduces anxiety and promotes happiness. “Oxytocin adds [to] the perception of trust and support, and hence is very helpful in building social bonds,” researchers explain. “It’s plausible that close parent-child bonds help support the neural development of the areas of the brain that make and use oxytocin, setting up the child for more effective social interactions and mental health in the future.”
So, finally, we have scientific research to prove what seems so common sense to me: A simple hug can make a world of difference.
Have you hugged your baby today?