I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words.

Ann Hood

Sometimes you just need a hug, a kind word, a warm smile. And that’s what this post is all about.

The importance of human touch

About eight centuries ago, Salimbene di Adam wrote about an experiment conducted by Frederick II aimed at discovering what language children would spontaneously speak if no one spoke to them.

In the experiment, a group of babies were taken from their mothers at birth and placed in the care of nurses that had to follow two strict orders:

  • They could not talk to them
  • They could not touch them

According to Salimbene’s writings, the experiment ended in tragedy as “touch deprivation” meant the babies suddenly lost weight and died shortly after.

Important: all the above should be taken with a grain of salt — it turns out that Salimbene really didn’t like Frederick II and often tried to discredit him in his writings.

Therefore, the story of the touch deprivation experiment, as well as other stories about Frederick II, may be completely made up, or exaggerated on purpose (and we all hope they are).

Still, the story makes us reflect on the vital importance of human connection and human touch in particular.

And while Salimbene’s chronicles may be inaccurate, we do find a confirmation of that in recent scientific studies such as the following ones:

  • The importance of touch in development (NCBI)
  • Early life touch for psychosocial development (Springer)

And here’s the thing — while physical touch is definitely more important for children, what about us adults? We grow up, but our fundamental needs as human beings don’t change.

The truth is that touch remains an important element of our wellbeing well after our childhood.

Ever wondered why getting a professional massage feels so great and helps with anxiety and stress, sometimes more than any pill or therapy session would do?

It’s not just physical relaxation and trigger points; it’s human touch. It heals, it makes us feel alive, it empowers us. There’s even a hormone linked to it — oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone”.

Embracing vulnerability

No one likes to be vulnerable. We see vulnerability as a weakness, and learn to become guarded over time.

The issue with such behavior is that when taken to unhealthy levels it protects us from pain but it also builds a wall between us and the things we need the most.

Sometimes you just need a hug, a kind word, a warm smile. That’s not going to happen if you refuse to be vulnerable, to be human.

Ask yourself…

  • Am I comfortable asking for help?
  • Do I ever feel guilty for needing help?
  • Am I able to communicate my needs?
  • Do I allow myself to connect with others?
  • Do I hold myself to unattainable standards?

And the miracle of changing your mindset from rejecting vulnerability to embracing vulnerability is that everything around you will reflect that.

By embracing your own vulnerable side, you’ll find that others are just the same — they have needs too, they need connection and empathy too. Yes — they, too, are human.

Sometimes you just need a hug (quotes)

I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words.

Ann Hood

By throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your heart even, you experience them fully and completely.

Mitch Albom

When we feel safe enough to expose our shadows, that’s when we become free.

Gabby Bernstein

You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.

Brene Brown

We are at our most powerful moment when we no longer need to be powerful.

Eric M. Leventhal

What happens when people open their hearts? They get better.

Haruki Murakami

Nothing eases suffering like human touch.

Bobby Fischer

Sometimes you just need a hug (more quotes)

The best gift you can give is a hug: one size fits all and no one ever minds if you return it.

Marge Piercy

I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug or just a friendly pat on the back.

Maya Angelou

When we were children, we used to think that when we would be grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability. To be alive is to be vulnerable.

Madeleine L’Engle

The best advice I can give to anyone going through a rough patch is to never be afraid to ask for help.

Demi Lovato

You are in a much better position to serve others when your basic needs are met and your “tank is full”.

Michael Hyatt

You don’t protect your heart by acting like you don’t have one.


Be a love pharmacist: dispense hugs like medicine — they are!

Terri Guillemets

Open your hands if you want to be held.