Someone I know recently shared the following post on Facebook:

We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we are frustrated…

Posted by Merih Büyükcivelek on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I encourage you to read the whole thing.  It actually contains a lovely sentiment, though I think it’s somewhat misguided.  At the end, it contains these fairly famous lines:

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

Work like you don’t need money,

Love like you’ve never been hurt,

And dance like no one’s watching.

Although I understand the idea behind “work like you don’t need money,” the problem is that we actually do need it.  I am major financial support for my family.  I am the health insurance that will keep us from going bankrupt in the case of a medical emergency.  I have to work and think about the money.  Of course, we all wish we didn’t have to, but that’s the world we have created and that we have to live in.

So one problem with this advice is that for most people, it’s not doable.  The other problem is that when we look at the other ideas for happiness, they’re just so abstract.  And maybe that’s good in some ways because it makes it more applicable to more people, but how about some concrete ideas for improving happiness?  Well, another person on Facebook shared an article called “Researcher reveals 4 rituals that will make you happier.”  It’s definitely worth reading when you have a moment.  For this post, I want to focus on this tidbit:

“Research shows getting five hugs a day for four weeks increases happiness big time.”

Big time.  Hugs.  How simple.    According to the article, physically touching people reduces pain, and it’s not just hugs.  It’s really any meaningful contact.  The article even says, “Don’t have anyone to hug right now? […] Neuroscience says you should go get a massage.”  (Great excuse to book one today, right?) So any kind of physical human contact will do.

December is starting very soon, and I’ve decided to name it Hugcember.  My goal will be to get five hugs and to make sure that each person in my family receives five hugs.  And don’t be afraid to hug me when you see me.  I know it’s Hugcember.  You know it’s Hugcember.  Let’s try to spread a little happiness this month in a tangible way that costs no money and benefits everyone involved.  I can’t think of a better time of year to give this a try.   



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