What makes you want to hug yourself

Hug yourself

Hug yourself. This is something you can do every day.

Hug yourself with your own arms. Feel the warmth and the love.

Hug yourself because this is something that each of us needs. And because 2020 this simple gesture of togetherness has drastically limited us.

If you hug a lot, you give a fleeting hug.

From Sicily


In 2020, distance meant that we want to value and protect one another. Paradoxically, we are used to it the other way around. People who hug each other in an encounter is a natural image that is stored deep in our images of normal life. OK, some peoples greet each other more with a nose stub or a touch of the forehead, but this gesture is also rare this year.

I recently watched the movie Actually Love, which starred Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin First, Keira Knightley, and many other great actors. The film starts and ends at Heathrow Airport, where people are filmed in the arrivals area. I cried like summer rain, warm and silent.

What if these pictures stay just a movie longer? I asked myself. We are currently being put off bit by bit for a possible date where we can meet and hug each other again. Month after month we are asked not to meet - and if so, then not to hug.


What made the “free hugs” so popular is the fact that hugs make us feel better.

The little hormone science:

  • Dopamine is the most important messenger substance for our feelings of happiness. As a “messenger”, it forwards feelings and sensations in the body and controls the blood flow to the internal organs so that impulses are passed on to the muscles. In combination with fresh air and exercise, it leads to a lively mix of wellbeing with serotonin and adrenaline.
  • Endorphins work as the body's own pain reliever and alleviate symptoms of fatigue. In addition, they regulate the feeling of hunger, our mood and the production of sex hormones.
  • Norepinephrine lifts our mood, controls our level of alertness and alertness, increases motivation and promotes mental performance.
  • Oxytocin is known for reducing feelings of fear and stress, promoting general well-being and increasing cognitive empathy and social skills.
  • Serotonin participates in processes in the central nervous system and affects our pain perception, sleep and sexual behavior and our emotional state. Especially when the days get longer and lighter again, the serotonin takes over the regime and provides more vigor.

What does science want to tell us with these facts? That a hug is a wonderful way to keep ourselves healthy. And because we are experiencing fewer hugs especially during the 2020 holidays, which is otherwise common, we should take care of ourselves and not let our batteries run down too much.

We are invulnerable in a hug

Hug yourself and enjoy that you are there. Accept yourself as you are in the moment and grow out of your self for yourself and not for others. Find yourself valuable and tell yourself how great you are.

Nadja Petranovskaja, from the podcast with Marc Löffler

At the very beginning of this blog series I mentioned the term Salutogenesis thrown in the air. Which paraphrase of health is at home in your head?

  1. Health is there and has to be from time to time repaired when it's broken. There are experts and resources for this.
  2. Health arises automatically and sustains itself if it is not blocked.

What is the biggest difference between description 1 and 2 for me? In the first description I use health as a resource and, in case of doubt, hand over responsibility to experts and pills - they should make me whole again.

In the second paraphrase I take over that responsibility for my health and realize that I am contributing.

That's why I hug each other whenever I miss another human's hug. And if you want a little more, then:

  • I brush my hair carefully and with relish
  • I take plenty of time for skin care in the bathroom (shower gel, soap, care products for skin and hair with wonderful scents and structures)
  • I take care of my feet and hands
  • I hide under a cozy blanket and enjoy the warmth on my skin
  • Incidentally, seat heating in the car is also great ;-)

So hug yourself and take responsibility for maintaining your health. In a hug, you are invulnerable to stress and the negative feelings that attack our immune system. You are invulnerable to the negative headlines and inner turmoil that ruins your sleep. You are invulnerable to the feeling of dejection.

And that's how I want to see you - unassailable, strong and confident.

I hug you, mentally. From the heart. The inner images and the images from the film “Actually… Love” help me not to make this hug arbitrary.

The “Healthier in the Future” diary

  1. Departure, healthier into the future
  2. Don't think about the pink elephant
  3. The waves of life
  4. Sing wrong and right

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