5 Ways to Give Yourself a Hug

Weekly Photo Challenge--Reflection

Weekly Photo Challenge–Reflection

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a hugger. I hug my sons 20+ times a day; the Hugging Saint, Amma, is my guru; I hug trees, dogs, large fruit, unsuspecting acquaintances; you name it, and I’ll hug it.

I grew up in one of those households where no one hugged, so I guess I’m making up for lost time.

At certain times in my life, I didn’t have anyone to hug–sigh. I know the feelings of loneliness that are immune to social interaction–the kind of loneliness that one can feel in a room full of friends, music, and good food. Looking back, I wish someone had taught me how to hug myself.

So I offer you, 5 ways to hug yourself:

Hand on Heart Hug

“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.” Wayne Dyer

This is very simple and can be done anywhere. My wife, who has a PhD in psychology, taught me this after she attended a self-compassion workshop.

Put your hand on your heart. Breathe. Voice what you are feeling. Re-assure yourself by telling yourself that it will be ok. Be kind to yourself: Do not try to fix anything, and do not judge. Act like you would if it was your child or friend that needed a hug. Added benefit of this practice is that it makes you a better friend or parent. Do this whenever, where ever, and as many times as needed.

Forgiveness Hug

An important aspect of self-compassion is to be able to empathically hold both parts of ourselves–the self that regrets a past action and the self that took the action in the first place.” Marshall Rosenberg

Oftentimes we feel as if we aren’t worthy of our own affection. For whatever reason, we have learned to hate ourselves or at least a part of ourselves. Forgiveness is the first step to loving ourselves again.

Try this. Imagine the part of yourself that you are upset with. Picture it with all its faults, insecurities, and ugliness. Imagine wrapping your arms around this wretch as if they were your child who just had a nightmare. Whisper in their ear, “It’s ok. I still love you.”

If you are able to do this with sincerity, self-love and endless hugs are heading your way.

Universe Hug

“I love myself for I am a beloved child of the universe and the universe lovingly takes care of me now.”
Louise Hay

One of the things that fascinates me is sewage treatment. It amazes me how spraying poo poo water in the air over and over can make it clean. (Obviously, there are other mechanisms at work, but what I noticed while visiting treatment plants were the aeration tanks.)

In my experience, the Universe is like a huge aeration tank. You just release all your sh#t to the Universe, and it will make you clean again. I practice this Thich Nhat Hahn style:

Breathe in tension, suffering, sh#t.

Breathe out calm, compassion, clean.

A few minutes of this, and it feels like the Universe is hugging you.

Laughing Club Hug


In Santa Barbara, I used to be part of a Laughing Club. We would gather in a park and just laugh. Have you ever seen a picture of someone laughing so hard that they fall on the ground and hug their stomach? This is the goal.

You can start by standing in front of a mirror and going “ho,ho,ho” like Santa Claus. Try some different laughs like the laugh you make when you aren’t suppose to laugh, a witch’s laugh, liquid-out-the-nose laugh. Imitate your favorite cartoon character’s laugh or celebrities laugh. Whatever you do, don’t stop laughing. Try this for 30 seconds and slowly build up to 5 minutes. You might get to the point where you instinctively hug your sides.

Post-it Hug

“Writing has helped me heal. Writing has changed my life. Writing has saved my life.” Louise DeSalvo

I originally came up with an idea to put post-its around the house that said “hug,” but the title gave me a better idea. Many of us bloggers need a hug, which is why we blog. Many of us need to tell stories of heartache and loss. Life happens fast, furious, and full of emotion. It is only when we later go back and recount an event that we are able to structure, define, and make sense of it. This storytelling process is like hugging one’s past. We accept it, embrace it, and, sometimes, even learn to love it.

In addition, when we tell our stories on WordPress, we get virtual hugs from our followers. People who have had similar experiences empathize and embrace us with their comments. We are accepted with open arms.

What story do you need to tell? Tell your story, and I promise that I will listen and give you a virtual hug.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.

What methods do you use to give yourself a hug? Please share.


42 comments on “5 Ways to Give Yourself a Hug

  1. NIKOtheOrb says:

    It’s posts like these that inspire us all to remember that we are human beings. Lovely post and a reminder that not only do we need to stop and smell the roses every day, we also need to hug the flowers. 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      I agree that hugs do make us remember that we are all human beings–or spiritual beings having a human experience. I’ll try hugging the flowers as soon as these flash floods stop. I have to say that I spent some quality time hugging your blog today. Thanks.

      • NIKOtheOrb says:

        Have the flash floods stop?

        Those virtual hugs must’ve been why my blog has been in a good mood lately….I’ve had no glitches, no disappearing images, and no hair-tearing weird things that only seem to happen in the middle of the night. LOL

      • NIKOtheOrb says:

        EDIT: Have the flash floods stopped?

      • Kozo says:

        Yeah, the floods have stopped. Weather warnings in California are usually like gossip–not too important, but widely circulated, except when we have an earthquake or forest fire.
        Thanks for asking, Niko.

  2. I also grew up in a house where hugs were a rare commodity. This in turn made me a crazy hugging kind of mom and as a result my children are huggers. Your post, is the perfect reminder that hugs can make the world a better place and starting with oneself is the way to go. Beautiful reminder Kozo

  3. Thanks for all those hugging methods Kozo 🙂
    The Thich Nhat Hanh one is similar to Tonglen in the Tibetan tradition…have been doing alot of that lately.
    a hug for you..

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks for the hug, Annie. mmmmuuuuuhhh. That’s the sound I make when I get a really nice hug.
      I’ve never been trained in Tonglen, but I will look into it. I feel so connected to everyone after doing this type of meditation. I really need to work on meditating for others well-being rather than just my self improvement, so this is a very powerful meditation practice for me.

  4. Dieu says:

    This post made me smile. I will definitely try some of these methods. Also, your blog was exactly what I needed at the moment. Thanks Kozo for the daily dose of positivity. 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      No worries, Dieu. Glad I could give you a virtual hug. Try the laughing hug. I did it last night for the first time in a few years and had a blast. You just have to keep forcing yourself to laugh, even if it is fake. At some point a real laugh will come out, but the whole time you will be smiling. This really feels amazing, fake or real laugh. Hugs, Kozo.

  5. diannegray says:

    What a wonderful inspirational post! I’m hugging myself right now 😉

    (((*hugs*))) to you Kozo for giving me more ways to hug myself and the universe 😀

    • Kozo says:

      {{{Hugs}}} back to you Dianne. Isn’t this great. I’ve already gotten 2x the hugs than I normally get in a day.
      I’m thrilled that you are hugging yourself. I have been making it a point to use these techniques everyday, especially since I posted them for others, and I really believe that they make our lives and the universe better.
      Can’t wait to one day give you a real hug when we share dinner at your friends place. 😉

  6. Tracy says:

    Hi Kozo, Hope you’re having a good day. I’ve nominated you for an award, for inspiring me in so many ways. http://wp.me/p2MIsj-hI Thanks for always sending me {{{Hugs}}}

  7. MindMindful says:

    Amma is my guru too — woohoo! Sometimes, when I most need encouragement, unconditional love, nurturing, I imagine, FEEL myself being hugged by Her …… always, something shifts. And What I Need shows up……………. Nice post, btw!

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks, Mindminful. I just spent the last half hour on your blog and had a blast. Funny how we find each other in this huge universe of the internet.
      I had an amazing experience with Amma in India. I wrote about it if you are interested.
      Thank you for the re-blog as well. I look forward to more conversations with you via WordPress. {{{Hugs}}}

      • MindMindful says:

        I shall read your post in just a bit — always glad to meet & commune w/ other Amma devotees:) I too love this blogging — I’ve “met” so many INteresting folks!

  8. MindMindful says:

    Reblogged this on MindMindful and commented:
    I give YOU a hug ……… & another ………. & another…………

  9. Mystery says:

    Loved it!!! I am in a family where none of us hug each other, but I hope so that my future family would be a hugging family 😀

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks for the visit and comment, Mystery. You can ensure that your future family will be a hugging family by hugging everything in sight. I actually turned my parents into huggers after I got hooked on Leo Buscalia books in college. Let’s start now. {{{Hug}}}

      • Mystery says:

        Ha ha Yeah! I am going to create a full family of huggers!!! 😀 🙂 It would be hard to change my parents but I can always try 🙂 Thanks Kozo, ((Hugs))

      • Kozo says:

        You might have to get some stiff cardboard hugs for a few months, but everyone seems to soften up after multiple hugs. My parents are great huggers now, even though they were anti-huggers before. Most of all, enjoy it and don’t expect much in return. Thanks for the reply.

  10. I became a Hugger, there are never enough Hugs in the world…. Thank you for the share…. came via MindMindful’s reblog..

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks for the visit and comment, Sue. I agree there can never be enough hugs. I once visualized the whole world group hugging with me in the center. It was egotistical, I know, but it felt great.

      • Its never egotistical to imagine the good of the whole.. The Whole world would benefit if we visualised it hugging itself.. THANK YOU! 🙂

      • Kozo says:

        Thanks, Sue. It was actually a really beneficial exercise, because I imagined my wife and children in the inner circle, then my family, then my friends, then people I knew, then strangers, then people I disagreed with, then enemies, then countrymen, etc.
        I had to drop all my grievances and prejudices to complete the world hug. I need to do this more often, now that I think about it. Thanks for reminding me of this experience–I had forgotten until I read your comment.

      • Oh if only we all could do that, what healing the world would then experience… Yes keep doing this and you also have given me an idea for my own world Hug visualisation.. thank you Also… Kozo… 🙂

  11. eof737 says:

    Yes, Amma’s hugs are the best! I hug in real life too but there has to be a connection not random as I wouldn’t want to scare people away in public… 🙂
    Virtually I’m all for hugs! {{{HUGS}}}

    • Kozo says:

      Yeah, I have some friends who stiffen up like old tortillas when I come around because they hate it when I hug them. I’ve learned to be more mindful of who to hug.
      I hope I don’t drive too many people crazy with my virtual hugs. {{{Hugs}}}

  12. […] you need a hug? This blog is my attempt to give a virtual hug to anyone who needs one. GET A HUG NOW. Actually, I’d love to create a community of everyday gurus who uplift, embrace, and inspire each […]

  13. Your words are write ON!!!!! LOL

  14. […] You NEED a HUG…so, go get one from Kozo…GET A HUG NOW! […]

  15. gita4elamats says:

    Did you know that “Amma’ is tamil for Mother? {{{HUG}}}!

    • Kozo says:

      Amma, the guru, is considered mother to us all. She certainly feels like a mother when she hugs you. If she heads your way, make sure you cue up for a hug.
      Thanks for reading older posts, G4E. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  16. I love this!!! The surprising thing is, I’m not a touchy feely person at all. I have very specific ideas about personal space. Despite that I’m an unashamed hugger. I’ll hug any and every animal I meet, I’ll hug friends and not very good friends, and hmm.. basically anyone who needs or wants it (genuinely though, not the creepers lol). One of the biggets setbacks of having friends online is the nonhuggable distance.. 😦 But oh well!! I’m storing those hugs up for when I finally meet them!! =D

    YOu have a great day!


    Ps. How do I add the bloggers for peace badge to my blog? I’m a bit of a technofool. 😦

    • Kozo says:

      Hey, Cookie. Sorry it took me so long to respond. I got a bit behind due to “real life.”
      Here are the instructions.

      First, right click on the badge on my site and “save image as…” on your computer.
      Next, you need to upload it as an image in your media file as if you were going to put it in a post. I see that you have images on your site, so it is the same process. Go to Dashboard>Media>add new. Upload image from your computer to wordpress–it is probably in your downloads folder.
      Then add the “image” widget to your sidebar–dashboard>appearance>widgets>drag image widget to sidebar.
      Then you go back to the media and click on edit next to the badge. You will get a “file URL” on the right.
      Copy and paste that in your image widget where it says “image URL.”

      Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for joining Bloggers for Peace. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

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