Sometimes, there are no words.
People whose lives have been touched by cancer know this better than anyone. When a family member or friend is going through a tough time, it can be hard to know how to help. When words fail, there are plenty of other options: a thoughtful gift, a home-cooked meal… even a hug can make a world of difference.
This is especially true around holidays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. So, in honor of Valentine’s Day this year, I am vowing to be more generous with my hugs—and not just for those who are struggling.
Hugs are great! Hugs let us show our affection and support. Do you know what else is great about hugs?
1. They strengthen our relationships. A hug can communicate so many things all at once. “I’m here for you.” “I love you.” “I miss you.” “I’m sorry.” We all know that actions speak louder than words. This small action can generate a great deal of comfort, peace, and trust between people who hug.
2. They improve our mental and physical health. Did you know that hugs have been shown to relieve stress and lower blood pressure? They do this by increasing oxytocin levels, which encourage feelings of affection and closeness. Hugs also decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies. A study from Carnegie Mellon University last year even shows that hugs may help prevent stress-induced illness, according to Scientific American.
3. Now, hugs can help conquer cancer. The Conquer Cancer Foundation, which helps support Lineagotica, has created an easy way to send cute, animated hugs via social media to brighten someone’s day. For just a $5 donation per hug, you can show someone that you care and support them. Best of all, every hug you send helps conquer cancer by funding breakthrough research and sharing cutting-edge knowledge with patients, families, and physicians.