Jennifer, one of our community managers at NextSpace Santa Cruz, gives great hugs.
You know the type of bear hugs that make you feel like everything’s ok?
She gives those ones.
Yesterday, Jennifer and I had a quick chat about hugs and the importance of human touch.
The Science of Hugs
It’s something I definitely feel, and it’s backed up by science. As the Guardian reports:
“A hug from a close friend isn’t only comforting, it also produces feelgood hormones in the brain like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin – all of which help boost the immune system and ward off illness. But it does more than just make you feel good, it can also accurately emotions like gratitude, love and sympathy.”
Free Mom Hugs
Our conversation reminded me of an article Daryn from Table Coworking shared about a group of moms and dads who showed up at the Austin Pride Parade offering people “Free mom hugs,” and “Free dad hugs.”
Just thinking about it makes me a little misty-eyed.
I’m really fortunate. I’ve never remotely felt like my parents wouldn’t, couldn’t or didn’t love me because I’m gay. But, I’ve known plenty of people who were disowned by their parents and families.
My parents and I have had a few bumps over the years, but I’ve never doubted their love or support of me in my life.
It’s hard for me to imagine losing their love, but that’s the reality for too many people.
I like to think that’s changing—that younger generations are more open-minded about differences in sexuality, gender, race, religion, culture. I see evidence of that all the time.
I hope we soon get to a place where connection, acceptance and celebrations of diversity are the norm.
The Loneliness Iceberg
There are enough of us that no one should ever have to be lonely. No one should have to feel alone. No one should have to wonder why they feel isolated from the rest of the world.
As social neuroscientist John Cacioppo points out, “Loneliness is like an iceberg, we are conscious of the surface but there is a great deal more that is phylogenetically so deep that we cannot see it.”
Maybe we can contribute to the massive task of dismantling loneliness with a few more hugs today—in our coworking spaces and beyond.
And huge props to the moms and dads who recognize that acceptance, love and hugs—from parents and our fellow humans—are something not everyone has but that we all need.
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