“BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE A HUG?”

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The Loneliness CureAs we live in ever-more-populated communities, it is ironic that we feel more isolated than ever.  Our interpersonal communication is often through the cloud and tech devices rather than the face-to-face.  For many, Facebook friends are more real than filial relationships.    If we have so many friends, why is it that loneliness has increased by 15% in just the last decade?  Why, with all these new ways to communicate, do we feel like these electronic relationships have less value than with a person we can actually touch? With more Americans living alone, why is it that one in four Americans say they do not have one single person they can talk to about important issues?  We are “affection deprived” as a society and actually (so says research) touch our cell phones more than each other.

Dr. Kory Floyd has spent his career discovering and proving why affection and close relationships are so important to us as a species;  they are, in fact, critical not only to our happiness, but to our survival as humans.  Belonging benefits us physically, while not belonging is actually hazardous to our health by interrupting eating habits, sleep patterns and immunity, among other things.  Affection actually makes us healthier!

As a “stress-buffer”, affection shelters us from the hard knocks in life.  Dr. Floyd speaks of an especially awful day when everything went wrong, and a random hug from a fellow professional gave him assurance that the bad things are manageable after all.

Dr. Floyd shows how challenging it is to maintain healthy, affectionate relationships.  The bad ones will cause a downward spiral that is often worse than having no relationship.  There are ways to create solid relationships that are mutually supportive, but they require attention to the other person’s needs.

“The Loneliness Cure” is a cross between a professional journal and a self-help book.  Certainly, if the reader is a college or health care professional, he or she would recognize the format as a long form “Continuing Education Unit” (or CEU for short).  Someone who is just picking this up off the shelf as an interesting self-help topic, might get a bit mired down with the proofs.  “The Loneliness Cure” dissects the issue of affection in order to show why love is so necessary to us – this might turn away some who really need the book’s message.  As a person who has experienced a lifetime of different kinds of relationships, all were found in the pages of “The Loneliness Cure” along with a lot of great suggestions for improvement.

One man, “Juan Mann”, pays his human connection forward by hugging strangers.  One hug just might give these people affection, connection and hope.  “Juan Mann” can make a difference in the lives of others.

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