Dear Avalon family,

I promised to write something uplifting this week. 😃

You might say that my last few editions of Take Heart (Ignore HerThree Strikes – He May Be OutPeople Just Don’t Understand) were about tough love. Now, let’s get tender.

Do You Need a HUG?
Would you take ten seconds and watch this video? You may want to watch it several times as it is deeply touching. Then, come back to Take Heart! Don’t get sucked into the internet vortex. The first time I watched this “Do You Need a Hug” video, it brought tears to my eyes.

We have become a touch-deprived society.

We aren’t giving or receiving enough hugs. Psychotherapist, Virginia Satir, known as the ‘mother’ of family therapy, said humans can suffer from ‘not enough hugs” but never too many hugs. Here’s what she suggests:

What do you think?  How many hugs a day do you give? How many hugs a day do you receive? The better question may be – how many hugs a day do you want to experience?!

The average length of a hug between two people is 3 seconds
But a good hug is defined at least six seconds long because that’s when the brain’s chemical processing starts to alter. Researchers have discovered that a hug lasting 20 seconds has a therapeutic effect on your body and your mind.

Hugging for your health and well-being
During a hug, we release a hormone called “oxytocin”.  Referred to as the “bonding” hormone, oxytocin relaxes us and lowers feelings of anxiety. When it is released during a full 20-second hug, it effectively lowers blood pressure and reduces the stress hormone, norepinephrine. Hugging also helps to reduce pain. Amazing!

Don’t fancy yourself as a hugger?
If all this talk of hugging makes you feel uncomfortable, just allow yourself to feel the discomfort. It won’t last. Lots of people initially feel uncomfortable about hugging but it’s often what they desire as a vulnerable human being. 

Are you willing to embrace this aspect of your humanity? Start by hugging someone close to you to get more comfortable with hugging. I recommend that you make a simple request, “May I hug you?” You could even admit your discomfort by saying, “I feel a bit awkward asking, but could we share a hug?” You’ll be surprised at how many people are relieved that you asked! By the way, it’s okay if the hug only lasts for 3 seconds. 😉

Ask someone close to you for a hug 
It feels vulnerable. Often the people closest to us, are the hardest to ask for a hug. You may even live with that person. We get busy and don’t want to bother others. But when you get courageous and ask, request that you hug for 20 seconds. Yes, 20 whole seconds! 

Lean in. Notice your breath. DON’T TALK. Let go of some of the tension in your body. Feel the rise and fall of your breathing and their breathing. Move into the sensations of your body. Move out of your mind. Relax. YOU ARE HUGGING! Your brain is releasing oxytocin. 

You may even want to start each day with a hug and end each day with a hug. Replace that quick kiss with a longer hug. And then kiss! See how that shifts your relationship.

Do you live by yourself?
Pull yourself in for a hug. Take your right arm and wrap it around your left shoulder. Take your left arm and wrap it around your right shoulder. Massage your shoulders and neck. Or fold your arms on your chest. Feel your breath and feel your heart beating. You may even want to sway your body side to side, much like we do when we hold a small child. Relax and exhale deeply.

Then, drum up some courage and send this email to a family member or close friend. Ask them if you could hug the next time, you see each other! It may be just what they’ve been waiting for but were afraid to ask. In essence, make a date to hug!!!

Stop talking and start hugging
While social media and the internet are great tools for getting information and keeping up with people, it can’t replace real human connection. The simple and elegant gesture of a hug with our partners, our children, our grandchildren, and our friends can comfort and ease our bodies and minds. 

I want that human connection, each, and every day. 
And I want it for you!  That’s why I LOVE helping people hear the best they can and keep them connected to what matters most in life!

Remember, our sense of hearing is what keeps us most connected to people. So, if you’re not hearing and understanding as well as you’d like, call Avalon today at (916) 483-9064. You might even ask for a hug!


💙 Betty Vosters-Kemp, BC-HIS
Owner, Avalon Hearing Aid Centers, Inc.
Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist

P.S. Helen Keller said that if she could have one of her senses restored, she would want to hear and remain blind. She felt that seeing connected you to things in life BUT hearing connected you to people. Being deaf, she missed that human connection most of all.