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After my morning two minute bed-making session and before my evening one glass of champagne comes another favourite part of the day — the one minute hug.

The one-minute hug is a technique used in marriage seminars to lead couples to a place of emotional closeness. After a talk session, the couple is asked to embrace in a full body hug for a full minute.

At home, Mr Swinging sets the timer and we're off! It's a wonderful, sixty-second journey.

A full body hug is a visceral reminder of why you love each other and says, "You are the most important thing to me right now". There's also a bunch of health benefits that occur during this one minute of intimacy.

A surge of the hormone oxytocin is released (1) which, as you may know, alleviates stress and promotes relaxation. It also plays a role in your ability to trust and be trusted. No wonder it's called the bonding hormone. In fact, it's a technique employed with children who have attachment issues, something that can crop up in adoption situations, where regular, long hugs can help to "reset" the child's brain.

To get the full benefit a hug has to be more than a simple pat on the back, it has to be a full body squeeze. When we hold tight (while still being able to breath!) the deep pressure sends a signal of safety to the parasympathetic nervous system, the one that turns down the anxiety dial.

Adding one minute of a heartfelt hug each day is yet another small way to build connection, decrease stress, and to bring emotional closeness.

Did I mention hugs are good for your heart health? In the study I referenced above, the hugging group had lower blood pressure rates and higher oxytocin levels than the non-hugging control group, leaving the researchers to link hugging with improved vital signs.

Don't have a Mr Swinging in your life? Next time you see a friend (a close one) ask for a hug and hold them tight for at least ten seconds. Even with a shorter duration, you may just find that you can feel the benefits.

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