16th December 2020

The power of hugs

Hugging each other is a tradition at Broadway Lodge and we really miss them! Since the coronavirus outbreak, hugs have been off the cards here as one of many measures to minimise the spread of the illness.

One of the challenges that a number of clients reported about the new infection control practices we’ve had to introduce, was that they found it difficult not being able to give a peer a hug when facing an emotional moment to show their care, reassurance and understanding. Broadway Lodge is a place where people’s traumas and difficult experiences are shared, sometimes for the first time, so naturally, peers want to show empathy and affection with a comforting hug.

The warm embrace of a hug can be hugely beneficial, especially during rehab which is an emotional time of constant ups and downs. Here’s why.

A hug releases the hormone oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’ which has been found to play an important role in emotional, cognitive and social behaviours. When released, it can create feelings of calm, closeness and trust. It also promotes feelings of love, bonding and wellbeing and helps to heal feelings of anger and loneliness. When you embrace in a hug with another person for a duration of time, these positive stress-reducing pay offs can be experienced as oxytocin is released. Considering addiction is a very isolating illness, the bonding effect of a hug aids the ability to feel connected with others and it’s important for our clients to feel understood, supported and not alone anymore.

As 2020 is coming to an end, we’re hoping that by this time next year hugs will be commonplace once again. In the meantime, we will continue to support each other at a distance.