Sit back, relax, and take a couple of minutes with this blog post. You’ll be glad you did. Take a couple of deep slow breaths.

Now picture yourself receiving a hug from your loved one. Imagine their arms around you…the hug lasts more than a second so give yourself time to imagine this as a real hug from that special person in your life.  Your bodies close, arms around each other, their smell, the feel of their hair on you, that feeling of safety and love…

Next picture yourself being hugged by one of your parents.  Imagine how that feels.  How long does it last? Are they long hugs?  Think about the different emotions that come to mind.  How your body fits that of your parent. All those years of knowing each other…

Now what about the hug from a little child….maybe your child or grandchild, or your friend’s little kid….maybe you are bending down so they can reach around your neck…or you have lifted them up…how their head nestles into you….those sweet little arms trying to encircle you….

Image showing a young boy being cradled in a hug from a loved one and looking content, as described in this article on CALMERme.com

And what about a hug with a dear friend.  How does that feel? Picture that in your mind now.

Image shows two good friends enjoying a happy hug

Or hugging a favorite pet, be it dog, cat, bird, or…..

Image shows a woman hugging a cow while the cow's cute face shows over her shoulder; warm feelings are expressed in this picture as described in this article on CALMERme.com

Just think about how those hugs feel. Each hug we imagined felt different from the previous one. The person makes a difference, even in our imagination. What different feelings came up –  feeling loved, supported, safe, touched, strong? ….  Just imagining a hug creates changes in us, both physiologically in our body and also emotionally. Its powerful.

So remember this hug imagery.  It can really help us.

I have clients and friends who have been told that they shouldn’t hug anyone as they have been through chemotherapy and there is concern of getting an infection. But people miss those hugs. This is a time in their lives when they really need a hug.  So, why not use hug imagery instead.  Next time you meet someone who you can’t hug, both close your eyes and imagine that hug.  It will still mean something to you both – and you will both feel like you have been hugged.

And if you can’t be there to give someone a hug, send them this blog post and help them to imagine the hug you are sending them.  Maybe they live far away, maybe they just need your hug today.  Suggest they take one minute and imagine a hug. It can do wonders!  My mum often sends me hugs down the phone- and they are definitely mum hugs. 

And as you finish reading this, close your eyes and imagine me giving you a big hug, right now.

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