I walked into the kitchen at work today… let me re-phrase that, I stepped into our kitchenette at work today to be confronted by very excitable colleague.
Our kitchenette, being around three foot wide and six foot long, is over crowded when more than one adult, of normal size, inhabits it.
So it felt quite claustrophobic finding Kane standing there, possessing a grin, which struggled to fit into the rooms width, along with a disturbingly expectant look in his eyes.
“Alright Welshy?” he said giving me a buddy like dig on my shoulder, with his clenched fist.
“Yes thanks Kane. What are you so excited about?”
“I just sold my car. Want a hug?”
“Do you fancy a hug?”
Kane’s a nice lad, he’s 21 and has a very likeable character but even so, I felt this was a little too much.
“Why not?” he persevered.
“Because we are two fellas standing in a very small kitchen! What would it look like if someone walked in on us mid-hug?”
“I don’t know, it doesn’t matter does it?”
In my head, I oddly thought, if one of us was crying then it would’ve been ok.
At least there would have been a legitimate reason to be in an embrace but two guys hugging just for the sake of it? That would surely mean, to an innocent bystander, that we were nothing short of lovers.
“Yes it does Kane. It’s slightly odd”, I calmly explained with a tone of suitable seniority.
“Oh ok” Kane said looking slightly disappointed, as he picked up his coffee and left the kitchen.
He sat down at his desk he said, “I think everyone should hug more, it would make the world a better place”.
This hung on my mind all day.
He was right. I should have just hugged him. What was I worried about? Surely the benefits, of hugging another man in work, far outweigh the disadvantages of being caught doing it.
I got home and Googled the benefits of hugging and this is what I found out.
According to psychologist Dr Jan Astrom who led a study into the effects hugging reported, in the journal Comprehensive Psychology, that regular embraces can have several positive benefits.
4 good reasons to give someone a hug today
1. It’s lowers the risk of heart disease.
2. It combats stress and fatigue.
3. It can boost the immune system and fight infections.
4. It eases depression.
Dr Jan found that just ten seconds of hugging can lower blood pressure and after this time elapses, levels of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin increase, while the amounts of stress chemicals, including cortisol, drop.
So even though Kane is 21 years younger than me, he demonstrated a lifetime of wisdom in offering me a hug.
Either that or he fancies me.