By Vic and Avelynn Garcia

Payakap Nga!” Don’t you just feel oh-so-good each time someone approaches you and tells you this? Isn’t it so fulfilling to know that your ‘simple hug’ can make a person feel better and even make his day especially in times when this individual is feeling down?

But what will your reaction be if someone you just bumped in on the streets and don’t even know at all comes to you and tells you, “Payakap Nga!” Strange, isn’t it? Normally, I would feel the same way.

But after I learned some truths about hugs, I realized two things: that hugging is the best therapy one could ever get to feel better and help in unleashing one’s potential!  The good news is we have the freedom to give it to anyone, anytime, anywhere we are!

According to family therapist Virginia Satir, in each day of our lives, “we need four (4) hugs to survive, eight (8) hugs for maintenance and 12 hugs for growth.” Relationship coach Mihalko Baczynski on the other hand says, a good hug speaks directly to one’s body and soul that makes him feel loved and special.”

Indeed a good hug makes a happy heart. The scripture says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit Proverbs” 15:13.

What I’ve learned to love most about the powerful “hug’” according to Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD, is that, it is “all-natural, organic, naturally sweet, no pesticides, non-fattening, no-carbohydrates, no preservatives, no artificial or genetically engineered ingredients and 100% wholesome!” Therefore, hugging is healthy, supply is endless and it is definitely free of charge!

Indeed, hugging results to many benefits! In one of my seminars, one of my participants shared the prescription that her doctor wrote when she went on a consultation about her health conditions. She was expecting that the doctor will write a certain medicine that she will buy but the doctor wrote “Hug cures!” What a powerful prescription from a doctor! Indeed hug makes a heart cheerful, thus it can heal!  As the scripture says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

When one asks for it, be generous in giving it because if we do, we don’t just make one healthy but we too, become physically fit as well because we are getting hugged back! Let me tell you what these benefits are: a hug reduces heart disease so if you give at least one or two each day, you’re certainly giving your heart a favor.

Hug it minimizes stress so this is best given to your bosses and officemates inside your workplace; hug gives one long life so if we want to spend more time with our loved ones, let’s start giving people our warm hug; it lowers blood pressure simply because hugging is far from making you feel angry or irate that is most of the time the root of high blood pressure; lastly, hug lowers heart rate since it’s one of the most relaxing gestures we could ever give a person.

Free Hugs All Over the World

What we thought to be a simple and most of the time meaningless gesture is actually very important to others. And the truth is it is now widely spread all over the world—again at no cost!

Please allow me to share this beautiful story behind a social movement whose aim is to make people feel better no matter what they are going through and regardless of where they are coming from. This movement is called “Free Hugs” campaign initiated by an Australian known named Juan Mann.

This campaign engages individuals to offer hugs to strangers in public places and it has been changing lives all over the world since 2004. Some may have heard of this, but I’m sure, still, a lot of people, may have yet to find out about and discover this life-changing advocacy.

The very thing that inspired Mann to push the “Free Hugs” campaign was his experience of being alone after he discovered that all his friends, family and relatives had moved away just when he decided to return to his hometown in Sydney.

When was the last time you hug your parents? They might be waiting for it for a long time. Your depressed brother or sister might be at the verge of giving up, your hug might be the used by the Lord for him or her to move on. A conflict with a friend might be resolved in just one hug, you may not even have to say anything.

All alone at the airport with no one to welcome him and after watching others exchanged hugs and kisses with their families and friends, Mann got  a cardboard and a marker and with those writing materials he wrote in big bold letters: “FREE HUGS.”

People just stared at Mann as they passed by him. And finally 15 minutes later, a sad-looking woman approached him and tapped his shoulder. She told him how her pet dog died just that morning and that, that same day was the first death anniversary of her daughter.

Without hesitancy, Mann reached out to the lonely lady and exchanged hugs with her. That very moment, this man thought, hug was the only thing this person whom he had never known needed to feel better.

From then on, carrying a “FREE HUGS” sign, Mann started giving out hugs in the Pitt Street Mall in Central Sydney. His first attempt at this random act of kindness though was not that easy. It took him 15 minutes to finally get a hug and this was from an elderly lady who came across the street.

Certainly many people showed distrust in Juan Mann’s motives. But more and more have started to believe and joined him in giving out Free Hugs to those who want and need them.

However, there were attempts to stop the campaign but because Mann’s ‘hugging’ companions continued to increase in number and when they were able to raise 10,000 signatures in favor of the “FREE HUGS” campaign, the advocacy was finally allowed.

Juan Mann, I believe is a blessing for each and everyone of us. With just one simple hug from a person he didn’t even know, his then depressed life turned into a more meaningful one. Instead of dwelling into his personal feelings of sadness and emptiness, he submitted himself into a mission—that is to spread hugs to all those in need of them.

We need not be in other countries nor reach out the whole world to hug, ease people’s feeling of difficulty and change lives. We can start within our own workplace by giving each and every member of the company a hug assuring them that they are not alone. In the very place we work at, let us show love to one another with a simple hug.

One of the many things I discovered about hugging is that it ensures us a more positive day if we start our day with it.  I learned that children who are recipients of repeated hugs of affection have a more positive outlook in life. So, if you want your child to have a very enlightening day, give him or her a hug.

Hug unleashes one’s potential! It makes ones heart cheerful thus a person who is a recipient of a good hug can do much more in life.

When was the last time you hug your parents? They might be waiting for it for a long time. Your depressed brother or sister might be at the verge of giving up, your hug might be the used by the Lord for him or her to move on.  A conflict with a friend might be resolved in just one hug, you may not even have to say anything.

Your spouse might be waiting for a tight hug that you have neglected.

Your children are facing problems that they cannot discuss with you, your hug might be the key, it will unlock something within them. It will even assure them of your love. What’s keeping you?

Let us all be Juan Mann to everyone. So, if you want to unleash your lives for the better be it of the person you know or somebody strange to you, generously spread your arms and give your warmest hug to those who tell you, “PAYAKAP NGA!

Hug now before it’s too late, if you wait it will probably too late!

Unleash your highest potential_book cover for web(Excerpted from Avelynn Garcia’s upcoming book Unleash Your Highest Potential)

Avelynn Regalado-Garcia is currently the Executive Vice President of Unleash International Corporation, a high-tech, high-touch, high-impact training company whose main mission is to unleash the highest potential in people towards success, happiness, and significance. For more than 20 years now, she passionately conducts seminars, workshops, conference, and conventions for top local and multinational companies, schools, and organizations in the country and abroad.

Follow Unleash International on Facebook and their website: www.unleashinternational.com.