Opinion - Hugs are back and experts say they are good for us

Who would have thought something as simple as a hug with loved ones would be causing so much debate and angst.

By Jill Buchanan
Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 12:30 pm

Let’s be honest, in early 2020 who would have thought this would even be a topic for conversation.

But after more than a year of tight restrictions and social distancing, we’re finally being allowed to show a little love and hug our nearest and dearest.

However, as with so many things today it still comes with a health warning and advice on how to “hug safely”.

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Hugs are back on the list of things we are allowed to do

It seems that despite now being on the list of things that we are allowed to do there are concerns in some quarters that it could still put us at risk of passing on the virus.

Like so much of the information given out over the pandemic, it depends who you listen to and not all agree.

But if we want to err on the side of caution and keep those of our nearest and dearest safe, then there are some easy rules to follow.

It seems we should be selective with our hugs – so don’t be demonstrative with any Tom, Dick or Harry!

We should also make our hugging quick. Turn your face away when throwing your arms around those you love and, if they are vulnerable, like elderly grandparents, still wear a mask is the best advice.

Some think hugging should only take place outdoors – what even given the Scottish weather? – and we are all being encouraged to take rapid lateral flow tests even if we are not showing any symptoms.

While taking on board all this advice I’m choosing to pay a bit more attention to the scientists because, on this occasion, they’re telling us that hugs are good for you.

Apparently touch is really fundamental for humans and to go without risks weakening our close relationships.

Now there are those out there, you know who they are, who definitely don’t like their space being invaded and tend to recoil from arms round the shoulder, pats on the arm or similar physical interaction.

But for the majority of us, touch lowers heart rate, blood pressure and reduces stress, all thanks to triggering endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in our brains.

So be reassured that yes, it is fine to hug your loved ones, but please stay safe.