“Hug someone.  Really hug them and take three deep breaths together.  Even if they don’t breathe with you, your breathing will ground both of you.”  Thich Naht Hanh.

Hugging meditation, made famous by Zen Master and global spiritual leader, Thich Nhat Hanh, is rooted in the belief that a good hug can have transformative effects.

“When we hug, our hearts connect and we know that we are not separate beings,” Hanh writes. “Hugging with mindfulness and concentration can bring reconciliation, healing, understanding, and much happiness.”

At the heart of hugging meditation are the core Zen principles of interconnectedness and ‘interbeing’ with each other, as well as the universe.

Scientific research has further supported the benefits of hugging. For one, experts say that interpersonal touching decreases stress levels by slowing down our heart rate and production of the stress hormone, cortisol.