I’ve been carrying a special weapon with me for a long time

I’m not too sure, but I’m assuming my Mom gave it to me when I was still a baby. She opened her arms around my chubby, yet fragile, body and embraced me. I rolled a little to the side, my body shook and I surrendered. She pulled the trigger: my mother gave me my first special and powerful hug.

When growing up I didn’t pay too much attention to this powerful weapon. I used it many times without even noticing how I affected other people. I would say that it took me 21 years to learn how to handle such a special thing. A friend of mine reminded me the power of a great hug while I was struggling to learn English. It was a stressful time in my life. I had recently graduated, I got my first job as a reporter at a big newspaper and I was planning my first trip abroad. Every time I felt sad, insecure, or exhausted this friend would show up and share his weapon with me: a friend’s hug.

Last year, I joined an entrepreneurial program in Silicon Valley for the Summer where I met Yay Shin. She has a beautiful and thoughtful purpose in life: to give people hugs. During the program, she created a hug machine called “Baymax”. Yay discovered her mission after a girl at her college jumped of the roof and died. I still remember Yay’s sweet, warm and gathering voice as she shared the story. She said:

I didn’t know the girl. In fact, I might have seem her once through the aisles. I have no idea what was she going through, yet I felt responsible. What if I had said “hi” to her? What if I had invited her to do something? Or even better and more simple: what if I had hugged her?

Yay believes a hug can save the world. I believed in that too. I remembered this tweet:

On that day, I was having some problems with my coworker. After tweeting this, another colleague came to my desk asking if I wanted a hug. Then, I decided to stand up and hug the colleague that I was having a problem with. The energy in the environment changed immediately. My tension ceased, the muscles on my face became relaxed and I smiled. I felt him. I touched him with compassion and love. I hope he felt the same.

Today, after hugging the man I love long, deeply and intensely I felt the connection that I’d lost. (BTW, You should totally try Pillow episode “As simple as a hug” with your partner!) By having his arms around my body, placing my head on his shoulders and letting any anger, fear, or insecurity go away.

Hugging activates a response in the brain that is responsible for release of Oxytocin, a hormone, that cause contractions and speed up the birthing process, stimulates the release of breast milk and also has a significant role in sexual arousal and in orgasm, in both men and women.

Oxytocin is the bullet that comes out of our brain as a neurotransmitter that acts on the limbic system, which is the brain’s emotional center. That’s why after a hug we feel that contented and we can watch our rates of anxiety and stress drop.

After all, I’m pretty sure that if there is a weapon capable of saving the world, that it’s not the power of the United States, China or Russia. It’s in each of us! Liberate your Oxytocin, hug someone!

Journalist. Sustainability, Social Justice & Gender Equality. Becoming Odara daily. Passionate about life, sexuality & wine. Mugs lover.

Journalist. Sustainability, Social Justice & Gender Equality. Becoming Odara daily. Passionate about life, sexuality & wine. Mugs lover.