What’s in a hug?
I am a huggy kind of person. When I like someone or feel affectionate towards them I am the type to smother them liberally with hugs. Having spent a great part of my life in the Middle East, a little hug and three to four kisses on the cheeks as a greeting was a normal thing. My group of friends were from across the globe; Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, France, India, Portugal and so on. We very much melted all our traditions and habits into one big melting pot and took out the best to practice. Thus, the many kisses and hugs upon greeting!
When I moved to Germany some odd 20 years ago, naturally I was not giving up on this tradition. What I did not realize however was that your normal German is a rather reserved species and my extrovert and gregarious greetings often caused them to raise an eyebrow and probably feel slightly awkward. I admit, I reduced the four kisses to just two but it was almost comical the way many of them would freeze as I planted a cheeky kiss on each side with a hint of hug.
Soon however, they warmed up to the idea of hugs and kisses and continued the ritual amongst their own friends. The stiffness eased into a more relaxed attitude and I was often greeted with big smiles and many hugs when I joined my group of friends.
In our often impersonal virtual world I try to continue giving hugs to my dear friends to show them a token of my affection and will end my emails, tweets, chats with “big hugs” or “many kisses and hugs”. And you know what? It does not go unnoticed! The friends I have made over the years are some of the most fabulous people I have met, many of them becoming dear and close friends. I was lucky enough to exchange the virtual “hugs xoxo” to real life hugs with a few of them.
Hugs have a way of delivering messages of love, approval, congratulations, sympathy, happiness and bonds people together. The simple gesture of putting your arms around other people and enclosing them in a warm embrace makes them feel good and does wonders to uplift your own spirit. A hug makes a person feel loved and accepted.
Some people are natural “huggers” (like me) while others have to work a little harder to develop the positive affectionate habit. In addition to the “feel good“ factor, according to 10 reasons why we need at least 8 hugs a day hugging actually has health benefits, too.
We know that being hugged creates feelings of acceptance and compassion, but did you know that it actually lowers the blood pressure and slows the heart rate of the individual receiving the hug? Frequent hugging benefits heart health of both the hugger and the individual being hugged.
People both giving and receiving hugs are happier and more relaxed. Those of us who are uptight and stressed are more likely to experience physical symptoms, such as headaches, indigestion and other stress-related illnesses. Hugging is a great stress-reliever, potentially appeasing some of those minor stress-related health issues.
There are so many mental benefits of hugging. Those on the receiving end of affectionate hugs can ward off depression. Anxiety can be somewhat mitigated with a reassuring hug as a compassionate hug can ease grief and loneliness.
We are a hugging household here! I honestly believe that children who receives hugs of affection view the world more positively and are self-confident as they feel reassured and know that they are loved and accepted. There might be greater peace and harmony in the homes of those who hug on a regular basis. It is difficult to maintain a bad mood when you have just been hugged. Seeing your family off with a hug each morning could ensure they have a more positive day.
So, what’s in a hug? I’d say … quite a lot of good stuff.
Of course when vibrant Holly Becker created a #bloghug party I was up to embracing it with a huge hug. It’s my kind of party with the simple rules to spread a few hugs across the blog world.
Have you hugged a blogger today?
It will be no surprise to you that I would have a huge list of fabulous blogger friends I would like to hugs but I have been giving those on Twitter through the week so will contain myself here.
You see these three ladies here below? Well they of course do not need any introduction. Jeanne, Jamie and Ilva are three of my cherished friends I totally respect and adore. Luckily I’ve had the pleasure of hugging them a few times in person and I do it on a daily basis virtually. As I leave for London tomorrow, I’ll be certainly hugging Jeanne a few times this weekend. Then in May when we all meet in Ireland there are sure to be a few group #bloghugs happening over the weekend.
I am also sending a huge #bloghug all the way to Dubai to my dear friend Sally, whom I only met last year and hugged often, but we feel like we know each other so much longer. It’s the kind of friendship where we simply pick up where we left off the last time we hugged.
Sandy and I see each other on a regular basis as she lives just a few kilometers from Weimar. She attended my workshop in Ettersburg last year and since then we have had many sushi lunches, cake and coffee afternoons and hugs together. Soon we will be hosting a sensational creative workshop together. Big #bloghug to you for being a kind and gentle soul.
Many warm #bloghugs also going over to Simone, whom I also met for the first time, after a long virtual friendship, at our first From Plate to Page here in Weimar. Since then we have met a few times and we just click so well. Ours is an unpretentious and easy-going friendship. I love her hearty laugh and she always puts a smile on my face.
I’ve been blogging for seven years now and over the years I’ve made and met quite a few friends through this space and I am forever grateful for the love, the honesty, the loyalty and the support. There are times when there is negativity from the outside, but with such Class A friends in my corner, I always feel like a winner.
#bloghugs, my friends.
What better way to share a few hugs than with the sweet, syrupy and nutty iconic baklava. It is Middle East’s grandest pastry and a visit to any bakery in the vast Middle Eastern countries will have you truly lusting after the large variety piled high on large metal platters.
Apparently it is also an alleged aphrodisiac so … it’ll make a great treat for your Valentine tomorrow!
Make sure you use the freshest nuts you can find as the success of this dish depends on it. Do not skimp on butter as it imparts its flavors into the pastry giving it a richer and moister taste. I also add a few sticky dates to my baklava, which really adds a sensational highlight to the dessert. Use medjool dates, they are the “fruit of paradise” and bring along juicy sweetness for a great flavor.
The harmony of the warming spices, crunchy nuts and chewy dates layered between buttery pastry is irresistible on its own but the addition of the sweet syrup flavored with orange blossom water adds a touch of heaven. Sticky, sweet and wonderfully moreish. The perfect foodie hug for my friends, my readers and … my Valentine. Enjoy!
I’m taking off for London early tomorrow and really looking forward to my workshop on Friday and Saturday. We have a full house with delegates coming in from Norway, Germany, Austria, Italy and of course the UK. I just cannot wait to feel the energy and creativity flowing in the 2 days and I am sure there will be a few hugs exchanged during this time as these workshops are very intensive and emotional. London always is always so exciting and I love meeting blogger friends for dinner or cocktails to catch up with them. This time I am really looking forward to seeing Sarah, Jackie, Ren, Giluia, Nithin and Anne to name a few blogger friends I have made through the blog and past workshops. And I am very excited to finally meet my gorgeous hostess Sumayya with whom I am co-hosting the London Workshop. Last but never least I will be reunited with my sister-from-another-mother, Jeanne who as always gives me a free bed when I am in London.
So as you can see I will be hugging a lot of bloggers the next few days and partying wildly for Holly’s #bloghug party. Of course a very special #bloghug goes out to Holly, the organizer of the party too.
To you all ..
Have a special Valentine tomorrow and make sure you hug the special people in your life.
LONDON: If you would like to stay tuned to what’s happening during the London workshop you can follow the hashtag #LondonFoto or @MeetaWFLH on Twitter or my photography page on Facebook or catch me posting images on Instagram.
We are gearing up for a sensational workshop experience here in Weimar, Germany in March. Registrations have been filling up fast but we still have a few selected spots left on the workshop. Don not miss it!
More huggable treats for your friends and Valentine from WFLH:
|Matcha White Chocolate Pralines with Pistachios||Chocolate Espresso Sponge Pudding||Macarons - Rosewater and Raspberry|
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First