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The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

Your secret superpower: hugs 

Clip+art+of+people+hugging
An often critiqued form among the love languages, physical touch is frequently associated with sexual intimacy, but sometimes all people really crave is the comfort that hug can provide. Graphic by Meghan Holloran | Photo Editor

The first thing we ever learn is that the touch of someone else’s hand can ease pain and make things better,Jim Butcher said in his novel “Skin Game.” 

Hugs remind us that we are loved. They show us that we are cared for. Most importantly, though, they tell us that we are not alone. Deep down, hugs matter. They have the power to provide real help to people in need. With Valentine’s Day approaching, it is important that we hug not only our family and our romantic partners but also our friends.

The power of hugs is deeply rooted in our humanity. When infants are born, they are first given to their caregivers to hold. Skin-to-skin contact creates a bond between the child and their guardians that helps with the newborn’s emotional and physical growth. As humans grow, hugs become less frequent. A hug goes from an essential part of life to something you share with your significant other and sometimes your grandparents on holidays. Hugs need to be normalized for platonic relationships as well.

A hug is a sign that you care about the person and you are there for them. A hug tells the other person, “I will be by your side in your troubles. I will stand by you in the storms. I am with you.” 

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When your roommate gets back from a long day of classes and has to muster up the courage for a long night of studying ahead, give them a hug to show that you understand their struggle and you support them. This action might turn their day around. If your friend just had a test they failed, you might be able to help them by giving them a hug to show that everything will be okay. If the rock in your life starts to share their anxieties and the thoughts that keep them up at night, give them a hug to show how much they mean to you and that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel they are experiencing. 

Now, it is important to understand that not everyone reacts well to hugs, and that is okay. We all have different attitudes, emotional connections and life experiences that may influence how amenable we are to physical touch. If you get the inkling that someone may be in a sad state of mind and you want to help, first ask them if they are okay with receiving a hug. They may not, and that is okay. In that case, you can still show support by listening to whatever they feel comfortable sharing. If someone is uncomfortable with personal touch but still desires the benefits of a hug, a good alternative can be a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets provide a soft pressure that can help with anxiety and stress and can help a person feel more grounded.  

If you are ever in a bad mental space, a hug from a good friend might help elevate your mood. Whenever my brain starts running wild and my anxieties surface, my friends have been known to ambush me with a (consensual) group hug. Hugs are one of the best and simple ways to share support with the other people that are on the journey of life with us. It doesn’t matter if it is a bad day, or even a neutral day. Hugs are a secret superpower for healing the soul

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