One day we were discussing how being a yoga teacher can sometimes mean that we will be confidants for our students. How you react to this is very important. Sometimes the student may just need an open ear, and other times something as simple as a hug. One quote that our amazing YTT teacher read us really struck a cord...
“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”—Virginia Satir, family therapist
I realized at that moment that one of the reasons I had been having such a hard time dealing with my own emotions, my families emotions and my baby's emotions was that I was not putting enough weight on the importance of touch. It's something so simple.
For example, when you first get married, you are so happy and excited and want to spend every second cuddled up on the couch next to that person snuggling. Then as time goes on, you still feel the same way, but you allow yourself to make other things priorities. Suddenly the cuddling doesn't happen as often. You realize you aren't holding hands as much. Before you know it, you realize you have been living two parallel lives under one roof. And even though you sneak a quick hello kiss or goodnight kiss as you each tuck away in bed for the evening, the amount of actual physical contact you experience is minimal. This is why so many seemingly happy couples can end up in unhappy marriages.
To take it to a personal level, giving yourself that mental hug of approval on a daily basis does wonders for the soul. Often we forget to show that love we have for others to ourselves from fear of becoming "vain" or "self centered" (but what good is taking care of someone else if you don't even take care of yourself?)
Or even just hugging your parents or loved ones when saying hello instead of a quick peck on the cheek. Little personal interactions like this can be so powerful to not only your emotional health but your mental health as well. I like to imagine little protons and electrons transferring between our bodies, creating happy positive energy with each hug.
So, I propose that you go and write down how you feel, at this moment. Then for the rest of the week aim to get 12 hugs a day in and see how you feel at the end of each of those days. And I don't mean 12 "awkward I really don't want to be doing this" hugs. I mean 12 "if I don't do this I am going to be dead so I am holding on for dear life" hugs, even if its just for a second. Do this for a week writing down how you feel at the end of each day and let me know what you think...
+s & -s,