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THERE'S no doubt that we all wish to have optimally healthy bodies. We’d do physical exercises, control our food intake and take measures to ensure that our surrounding is free from illness-inducing viruses. However, are we aware of the viruses that attack the sense of love and care inside of us? Love shapes the behaviour and thoughts of an individual and he/she can be affected negatively if love isn’t being well taken care of.

I like to call this phenomenon the Love Virus. The idea is that if the loving relationship between family members depletes, it would serve to ruin the strong bond that had been enjoyed by the family. For example, when parents scold their children too harshly, the latter’s feelings would be hurt and in turn, cause a gap to be developed in the relationship between the children and their parents. This is the Love Virus.

If this happens continuously, with the children as the victim, it’s possible that the children’s feelings of love and care towards their family will begin to decline and eventually fade away. The absence of love in family relationships is one of the contributing factors of family issues such as teens running away from home, rebellious behaviour among the children and more. Parents must therefore take the initiative to cure the Love Virus. We should treat this Love Virus as how we would a common cold — that is, with the help of antibiotics. Just like any other sicknesses, the Love Virus too has its own antibiotics.

But before we go too far, let’s return to the basics. One of the basic needs albeit one that’s not easy to do consistently, is to hug your family. Allow me to introduce this concept called “10 Seconds Family Hug”. It may sound simple but you’ll be surprised at the benefits.

MEDICAL BENEFITS

It has been proven that hugging, much like laughing and smiling, can in fact boost our health. Researchers have found that two types of natural drugs may be released by our body when we hug. They’re oxytocin and serotonin. Oxytocin heals the feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger while serotonin can increase our moods and create that feeling of happiness.

Young children are especially in need of a lot of hugs and kisses. Fortunately, they’re born cute, making them irresistible to the adults around them. This is one of life’s miracles because the more we hug them, the healthier their growth.

Numerous studies have shown that massaging, hugging and holding your little ones can speed up their physical and psychological growth. In addition to medical benefits, there are also psychological benefits of hugging. But we’ll explore that in the next week’s article. Stay tuned!

Zaid Mohamad coaches and trains parents to experience happier homes and more productive workplaces. Reach him at [email protected].

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