Is there anything better than a big delicious I-MEAN-IT-MAN hug? I wholeheartedly believe not! Dashama’s Hug Challenge (read that to catch up) has been one of my favorites of them all. Thank you to all who participated and shared your hugs and hugging thoughts! I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s taken something so sewn into the fabric of my life already – hugs – and forced me think about them in a new light. While in the act of hugging, I now actively acknowledge the many health benefits I’m getting AND giving, such as reduced blood pressure, increased oxytocin levels and improved long term mental health. Touch has been proven to help fight the scary affliction of Alzheimers Disease, which runs in my family. Happiness AND health, all from a hug, what more could we all hope for? Here are some of my categorized hugging musings from the past month: PARENTAL SQUEEZES: Hugging my parents makes me a feel like a little girl all over again – but only when I let myself. While in the past I have been guilty of being more of the “huggee,” letting my parents enjoy the moment, I now feel myself enjoying them just as much as they do. With every squeeze, I can feel how much they love me, how special I am to them, and how much joy I bring to their lives. And I feel exactly the same way. LOVING AFFECTION: Hugging my boyfriend brings instant happiness, infinite comfort and heightens all my senses, making me feel more alive than ever. These kinds of hugs are so addictive that I actually feel physical withdrawal when they are over. Oxytocin at its best! I’ve realized there’s no such thing as too many hugs… or a hug that lasts too long. FRIENDLY EMBRACES: Hugging my friends varies, depending on the friend. There are certain close friends who I can feel that cosmic bond with, that everlasting squeeze when we haven’t seen each other for a while, or even when we’re just saying “see you tomorrow.” Others, it’s more casual. If diagrammed, my relationship with each friend would correlate positively and perfectly with the oomph of our hugs. HUGS HAVE BEEN STRANGER: Hugging strangers can be quite joyous. On my cruise over break, I was sitting next to a large, frizzy-haired woman alone at the bar. She was wearing glow stick accessories in her hair, around her neck, wrists, and purse. She had a big smile on. She was a mess. BUT, she radiated such positive energy that I couldn’t help but lean over and ask if I could give her a hug. She accepted, and it was delightful! PROFESSIONAL BEAR HUGS: Hugging coworkers and bosses should feel different, but it’s still quite nice to have that slight pause at the end that indicates “I really mean this.” Before we left for our week-long holiday break, our CEO Cheryl (who you know I’ve hugged before) stood by the front door as we all walked out and hugged each and every Spa Week employee. A beautiful way to say goodbye! And now, let’s hear what YOU had to say! Vida H – I got to *hug* some friends that I do not get to see so often over the weekend during our annual holiday party. The hugs almost make the fact that we don’t see each other all year. OK. Almost. Sondra Santos D – My husband is walking past me (as I sit at the computer) to go to the bathroom or the kitchen and I’m insisting that he hug me as his ‘toll’ to get through. So far, he’s playing along… we’ll see how long it takes him to start wondering what the hell’s going on! Ava Rox – Gave my daughter a big hug last night when we got home from an amazing trip with friends from a shopping trip to NYC this weekend! Wendy B – Hug my yoga students every day, and my cat, and my beloveds. Lisa D – I hugged a random lady behind me in line today. Once she realized I wasn’t completely crazy, she smiled and gave me a hug back. Tranquil Blessings – This is just the catalyst I need to commit to hugging my oldest daughter (who I’ve rarely hugged in her whole 16 year lifespan and is currently reestablishing a bond with) every day, just like I do my youngest daughter(who takes her hugs from me liberally)….Thanks Spa Week…Evon – SingleMamaPreneur! www.singlemamapreneurs.com Foregoing shame in the name of growth! Kathy K – Hug Glenn every day. Last night hugged my Mom, Dad, Anne, Christine, Megan, Ian, Gia, Liam, Jessica and Sean. Oh, and hugged our dogs, Charlie and Moe. Our Cat, Coco is roaming around so she will be in for a hug as soon as she decides to return 😉 Love to hug and be hugged back! Lisa Grassetti – Today I gave my cat lots of hugs and kisses 🙂 Jill H – I had lunch with my BFF today and gave her a hug… I pledge to hug someone every day! I love this challenge and love to give/get hugs! Melinda C – Today, I hugged my dog 🙂 Yesterday I hugged the best hugger EVER! (((Dale))) Nan S – Hugged my grandaughter and daughter! will go to the mall and hug anyone who needs a hug. Mary D – Just hugged my little guy who was upset about his game not working. It cheered him up. A bit. 🙂 Susan K – Hug my husband – what could be better? And the two huggers we’re sending $50 Spa & Wellness Gift Cards to are… Aimster B – On the days I didn’t get up early enough to hug my husband before he left for work, I hugged my cat. Over the weekend, I had many friends and family to hug! Carolyn L-C – I was at am/pm the other night, and there was a old woman trying to keep warm in a tshirt and jeans on the curb by the front door. She was obviously homeless. It bothered me to see someone like this. I remembered I had a ski jacket in the car I barely wear, so I got it, walked over and draped it around her shoulders. I bent over, and hugged her and said keep warm… she looked up and had a tear in her eye and stood up and hugged me. The feeling I got walking back to my car was a rush through my body… that feeling right there is so unbelievable… makes me want to help more. Winners, please contact daily(at)spaweekmedia(dot)com within 3 business days to redeem your prize. We’ll expect a nice big hug next time we see you. 😉 Thank you again to our Joyologist Dashama for hosting such a loving and inspiring holiday challenge. And of course – for all those free hugs!