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In 2011, AWARE brought FREE HUGS to Art Prize, downtown Grand Rapids MI. We hugged 4000 people in three hours. We shared stories of healing and recovery, and we shared hope and connection. In these times we all need hope, and the only way we are going to get there is by staying connected.
AWARE has gone global with its mission of sending hugs across the globe. We want people to know they are loved and to love others. Trauma is real and recovery is probable. Save a friend, hold space, spread awareness, and connect with others.
When you receive a hug, a chemical is released in your brain called oxytocin. This chemical is proven to reduce inflammation in the body, slow your heart rate, blood pressure and improve your mood. Hugs lower cortisol levels.
Cortisol in the body is so debilitating to the body because of how it weakens & attacks through stressful situations, a hug quite literally neutralizes this chemical & makes it easier for our bodies to be able to repair and also connect with others.
Hugging for longer than 20 seconds gives your body enough time to release this chemical in your brain and also let your brain receptors carry them to where they need to go.
The more often your brain releases this chemical and practices using it, the easier it'll be to handle stress in the future.
At Lake Havasu