Hug more often.

In the city of Vienna, Austria, lives a young man by the name, Thyago Ohana.  Let’s call him an angel in disguise. You will soon learn why.

Every two or three months, he goes out on the busy streets with a big smile and a sign that says, “Free hugs”.  He opens his arms for an embrace to whoever may be in need of a squeeze. Reader’s Digest did an article on the power of touch, where it narrated Thyago’s heartwarming tale.

A few years ago, when he was stressed out during a visit to a new city, Thyago was hugged by a stranger that  left him feeling calm and joyous. It was this feeling that encouraged him to give back what he had received!

Thyago recalled an incident about an elderly woman who watched him as he offered hugs to passersby and asked him for a hug, herself. After a few moments, when they broke their embrace, she held on to his shoulders,  looked into his eyes and thanked him saying she couldn’t remember the last time someone had hugged her that way!

Wow! Isn’t that so very touching!?  Now do you agree that angel would be the perfect epithet for this young man?

I love hugs. I am quite a tactile person, who can be quite touchy, feel-y when with people I love dearly. Be they my close friends, my parents – I need to hug them to feel their presence; hold them by their arms, pinch their cheeks if they say something really cute, or even silly, in short, I need to feel them.

It suffuses me with warmth and an assurance that I have some really fantastic people in my life who not only love me, but look out for me, tolerate my craziness and will never let go of me.

When Chikoo was around, I would cuddle up to him every now and then. I loved hugging him, burying my face in his satiny fur and run my hands all over his warm body. I would pinch his cheeks, play with his soft, floppy ears, in general, drive him nuts by my tactility!

He enjoyed it when he was younger and reciprocated with much enthusiasm,  but in the past couple of years, he had become very possessive about his space. So, whenever I would snuggle up to him, he would indulge me for a minute or two, after which he would shift uncomfortably in his place and give me a give-me-my-space-woman look.

I would leave him alone after threatening to overdo it all the next time. Tee-hee!

Sigh. Those were wonderful times, when I had Chikoo’s instant hugs whenever I needed them. Now, I have to wait for the time when I can go, meet my parents, or my friends to get my quota of the comforting hugs.

Half of my friends, whom I communicate with online, send me virtual hugs. They are comforting, too, but I am waiting for the day I meet them in the real world and give them real hugs. Those will be beautiful moments!

A hug is the therapy we all need to indulge in much more frequently than we do.

We like our space, and unconsciously build invisible walls around ourselves– a boundary others aren’t allowed to cross. It does leave us bereft of the kind of comfort we, ironically,  seek everyday!

A hug expresses a million emotions. It conveys empathy, love, reassurance, appreciation, care and extends a kind of calm and happiness that no other therapy can.

Scientists have studied the effects of hugs and I am sure you must have read/heard all about the magic of hugs. So, I won’t go into it in detail, lest my post come across as a scientific piece on touch therapy!

All I would like to urge you to do, is go hug! Just do it, or get into a huddle, if you have a large group of friends, and feel your pain, your sadness physically leave your body!

I am aware of some people being allergic to physical contact. Ahem…this is actually a sarcastic remark for my best friend of 30 years who is so allergic to hugs, she has never allowed me to hug her in all these years! Can you believe it?

So, for people like my dear, idiot  friend, do give it a try!

Hug someone and feel for yourself the warmth that will wash over you, leaving you feeling relaxed and happy.

Go on…just do it, and let me know how you felt!

Until later,



A hug is the best therapy we can get from our loved ones!

*Linking this post to #writingwednesdays at Write Tribe

Published by shilpagupte

Do you know the secret to living a happy life? Eat. Pray. Love. Or, watch what you eat, wish well for all and fill your heart with love! That's precisely what I try to do through my blogs: 'Metanoia', the wellness blogazine, and 'Fictionista', my blog for fiction and non-fiction. Welcome to my virtual homes!

38 thoughts on “Hug more often.

  1. I love hugs too. Having said that not all people (even those closest to me) are “huggable”. I am completely sane only due to the hugs showered on me by my 6 year old and she gets her fair share from me too. I am dreading the day my daughter will be all grown up and refuse a hug. Boo Hoo!


  2. Hugs, Shilpa! Totally with you…I do believe in the power of the “jaadu ki jhappi”! Creates magic wherever there is one…nothing warms up and lights up the hearts and souls as much as a hug does!


  3. Hugs are something most of us need. You are right, though, there are those who perceive them as painful (autistic people don't necessarily enjoy hugs, but they do enjoy certain types of pressure on their bodies – I have a brother in law who is autistic, so I've seen an example of this). Few of us, though, can thrive without some type of touch.


  4. I love hugs. I keep hugging my mom and dad when I am home. My mom often shoos me away… Saying who will do the dishes if I just stand here holding you… So typical mom … 😀 I miss hugging my furry pet too. She is so good at giving comforting hugs. Loved reading this feel good post.


  5. I always feel good when I get a hug. Hugs are live savers really. When I'm down & out, I need to feel the physical connect of a hug or a touch to feel better. So, I loved reading this first thing Monday morning:)


  6. As a family, we would not hug too much but that changed once I got married. These days I even hug dad who we would never dare to hug in our childhood. 🙂 I love to hug friends and of course my husband, family and kids. Coco is always willing with a hug and both my kids always give me willing hugs. 🙂 I think there is a healing power in hugs, for sure.


  7. I love hugs, provided they come from people I love 😉 You would definitely fall into that bracket. There's something extremely warm, comforting and soothing about a hug. I know you must be missing Chikoo dreadfully. I know a virtual hug doesn't feel quite the same. But I believe in the power of virtual good vibes and I am closing my eyes right now, sending you the largest, most expansive hug ever. You should feel the warmth all around you. That is me, by your side. Smile 🙂


  8. I love genuine hugs. Yes, I can make out the fake ones from the real ones. Have you read that hugs that last a certain couple of seconds convey more about the person?
    Loved your post. Such a feel good one. Yes – wish we could meet. These virtual hugs are ok but never better than the real ones 😉


  9. I love hugs too! I so relate to it when you said you need to FEEL people. It is so like me! When I am at home, I go around randomly hugging my mom and my sis every now and then. These are the things you miss out on to at times when you start to live alone!

    Loved the 'free hugs' concept. It is so important these days, when people are lonelier than ever!


  10. I love hugs too and I get plenty of them with the children. Oh I know people who don't like hugs – my sister for one. The best part is when I have to get her to do something all I have to do is threaten her with a hug :-). Oh and like your Chikoo my son too has of late turned into a reluctant hugger in public. That's such a pity.


  11. Hahaha! I am just the opposite of you! Totally non-feely non-huggy kinda person! 😀

    No no! I am not allergic to touch like your bestie! I suppose I'm a just bit scared (make that “panicky”) of sudden outbursts of affection. Be it humans or animals. I just need ample warning, that “okay… I'm coming in your space now… be prepared!”

    I wonder what will happen if you an I get to meet in real life! 😛


  12. A big jadoo ki jhappi from me to you! There is indeed something very comforting about hugs. Sometimes a simple hug can say all you want to express. The most beautiful feelings are the easiest to come by, yet we never get enough of it. Strange world we live in.


  13. Oh yeah! How many times I have heard parents cry how their kids are averse to hugging them once they are all grown up! Do give your little one loads and loads of hugs, while you can! 😀


  14. True, Alana! I have had the opportunity of knowing some special people who have been averse to hugs, but they do spread their love and warmth through some subtle touches that speak a lot about their feelings!


  15. Awww, that's such cute stuff you have shared with me, Raj! Moms do that, don't they? You hug them, they shoo you away, and when you don't, they wonder what's the matter! But, there is this really beautiful feeling in hugging your parents, and of course, our fur babies. Their love is so pure and so unconditional! ❤


  16. Oh yes, Vishal! I know he does it, it's just that I don't get to feel his hugs anymore. I guess, I need to just pay attention and I will know when he hugs!
    I hope you find the warm and cosy feeling hugging your dear ones!


  17. True, Rachna. Marriage changes things so much! I, too, never dared hug my dad as a kid,but after I got married, he too mellowed and turned into this puppy who loves getting hugged whenever I visit! Hugs from mum dad, from our babies…they are like rainbows on a rainy day – tender and so soothing!
    How lovely hugs are!


  18. Thank you, sweetie!
    Sending one to you, too!
    Yes, hugs are really beautiful, comforting and special when given by your loved ones! Wish we would indulge in this touch therapy oftener.


  19. Ooohh, my sweet friend, what a lovely post. I love hugs too, and think I'm good at giving them out too. And I mean everyone of them- If I can put it like that…:-) Can imagine you miss your sweet dog… a warm caring friend hug is all it takes. Sending you loooots of warm hugs dear Shilpa:-)


  20. I am exactly like you, a big proponent of hugs. I am sure Chickoo must be sending his share every day too, like this virtual hug from me right here. *insert virtual hug* 😀 Looking forward to one day meeting you in person, and giving you a real hug. ❤


  21. Oh, I love hugs and there's nothing more comforting and relaxing than a hug from your loved ones. But I love those real big hugs not some half-hearted attempts. 😃


  22. This is the “angel in disguise” writing you to express my utmost thankfulness for the beautiful words. I'd invite you who believe in the power of hugs to follow us on Facebook and let yourselves be energised by the gallery of smiles we compile after each Free Hugs action in the Austrian capital. I hope this might inspire others to spread the same idea in every corner. Sending you lots of love and hugs filled with the best and most positive energy! Someone in Vienna loves you! 🙂


  23. Wow! Thank you so much for visiting my blog, Thyago! it's a pleasant surprise to see your comment here…the person I wrote about, wrote to me! Wonderful, indeed!
    Lots of love to you, too, for all the love you spread around you!


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