Monday, 4 July 2011

Time for a hug

Time for a hug
Nivea’s professional shot.

Me and R7 recreate the image at Folly Farm (with my camera phone)

I don’t come from a very ‘kissy cuddly’ family so when I had my own children I’ve rather made up for it. I hug them and they spontaneously hug me back (even in their sleep). It’s lovely and I’m never going to stop.

They hug their dad too (he IS from a kissy cuddly family) and I think that closeness with their parents helps them feel safe, secure and loved.

Some people are definitely more kissy than most – I have friends that I hug, friends that I kiss and friends that do neither. Sometimes it seems to be related to distance and how recently I have seen that person. The further away they are and the longer it is since we last saw each other, the more likely it is that they get a hug or a kiss (or both).

I hug my dogs, my ponies, our pet sheep Chops and one of the hens (Amelia) who is a cuddly sort of hen and likes to sit on my lap when I’m weeding the garden. Occasionally I still hug my teddy bear too.

All this talk about hugging is because Nivea, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, is marking the occasion by celebrating closeness in 21st century Britain with its Million Moments of Closeness Campaign.

Over on Nivea’s Facebook page they are discussing closeness and asking: “Do you hug your best friend when you see her, or are you more likely to give her a peck on the cheek? Do you remember being cuddled a lot as a child, and how do you feel this has impacted on you as an adult? What do you think about elderly couples who still kiss and hold hands?”

Nivea is inviting everyone to help celebrate 21st century closeness by uploading photos of themselves sharing a cosy moment with a friend, colleague, sibling, partner, parent or child at Also you can catch up with the campaign at road shows throughout the UK where you can jump into a photo booth and have your picture instantly uploaded. Either way all photographs will be entered into a competition to win one of 100 prizes worth £100. Every day, a picture of the day will be selected by psychologist Professor Geoff Beattie, who’s studied closeness for NIVEA.

There’s scientific evidence for why touch is so important. It plays an important role in baby brain development, childhood stress management, bonding in a relationship and in recovery from sickness too.

Hugging produces higher levels of oxytocin, a feel good hormone associated with feelings of intimacy. Even a light touch on the hand can reduce heart rate and blood pressure – something cats are well aware of!

So do we touch each other enough and why do we sometimes shy aware from it? What’s your take on hugging?

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million moments of closeness

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  1. Oh, what an opportunity to be first in the queue.

    I grew up in a family that was not very huggy, kissy.

    I grew up, moved to another part of the country and encountered all sorts of folks from other family traditions. I found out that I really like being able to feel free to give someone a hug and/or a kiss. (And to be able to notice if that is not comfy for them.)

    And, as we know, there are many levels of hugs and many, many levels of kisses.


  2. One of the most rewarding sights can remember is seeing my husbands best friend in Wales put his hand out to shake Chris's hand and Chris who had spent over thirty years in Australia spontaneously hug his startled friend.
    I smiled to myself and thought of our Italian friends at home and how much we owe them when it comes to greeting our loved ones.
    One of the saddest sights I've ever seen is watching my brother kiss my father before he died. We come from an English family where kissing is reserved for such sad occasions.
    Bring on the hugging!!


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