How many hugs a day do you need to survive?
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How many hugs do you need?

Love and Hugs

12 Hugs for growth

How may hugs do you get a day? How many do you need?

Well eminent US family therapist, Virginia Satir, regularly made a startling claim:

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

When I first heard about this I shared it with my son, who was then 8 and just going through the no hugging in public phase. Well… result! I got them all at once…he wanted to be tall.

I also enjoyed every minute; I love to hug. For me it’s such a gift to give and receive. After the gorgeous hugging we talked about how hugging is a good way to show you care. I added in a little about personal growth and how hugging makes you feel good from the inside out and most of us want to feel love and connection with our friends and family, and some are happy to share hugs freely with strangers.

Bear hug

I believe hugging is good for the soul and most people who know me know I am always up for a hug. As many children get older they go through the no hugging stage and in time it comes back. Having said that, my 21yr old daughter is still fighting it! I trust my intuition that when she is ready it will gently come back in. As my grandma used to say “Patience is a virtue!”

Now she was a great one for hugs. She always knew when I needed one and without the need for words a hug was there.

So are you getting your 12, 8, 4 or 0? When Satir was talking, it was in the context of family life. Her statement seems true for all of us. Most places are good for hugging: home, office, school, park, school, church, synagogue, temple, a party, a conference, a seminar. When I take my son to school I have a few good friends that I often hug with especially on a Monday and it’s a great start to the day.

However, for most hugging at work is the least comfortable place to hug – although possibly the place where it’s most needed. That in itself is another post for another day and perhaps one day we will have a national Hug at Work day.

Free Hug

21st January is National hugging day in the US. It started with Juan Mann, an Australian from Sydney, setting out to give and get his 12+ hugs a day – and sparked an international social movement. He has a great video showing what a difference a hug makes and they are free, click here for more.

So you know how many you need, you know how to do it, the next step is action. I urge you to share more hugs – they are a great gift and the more we give the more we receive, and it’s fun!


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