LFY 4 | Hug It Out


It’s not about what’s happening outside of us that matters most. It’s what’s happening within. If you don’t have healing, understanding and gratitude within, how in the world can you show up for others in that way? On the show today we are talking to Hilary Russo. She is an award-winning journalist, transformational holistic health coach, Havening Techniques practitioner and all around wellness warrior who helps purpose-driven minds transform to perform and be kind to their minds at the same time. In this 1st episode, we will be talking about her HUG it Out challenge and how it can help transform your mind. Join in and learn how you can treat yourself with kindness so you can move into a higher state of alignment.

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Hug It Out With Hilary Russo

Episode 1

In this episode, we’re talking to Hilary Russo. She is an award-winning journalist, Transformational Holistic Health Coach, Havening Techniques Practitioner, and all-around wellness warrior who helps purpose-driven minds transform to perform and be kind to their minds at the same time. In this first episode, we will be talking about her HUG It Out program and how it can help transform your mind. Sit back, relax, and get ready to live forever young.

I’m here with Rollie and our very special guest, Hilary Russo. Hilary and Rollie, how are you doing?

What’s new and good?

We’re doing great. We’re happy to be here. I’m excited. We got Hilary on and I’m excited to hear what she has to say.

I see you guys synced up the colors of your garb. Rollie’s got his yellow hat. Hilary’s got her yellow dress. We’re ready to go. Hilary, thank you so much for making time to come on here with us. There are so many different things that we can talk about. You are an accomplished practitioner on many different levels, so it’s hard to decide where to start.

We know you have this amazing program that you refer to as Hugs or HUG It Out. We were wondering if you might start telling us a little bit about that. As we go, you can tell us things about yourself, how you got into the HUG It Out program that you created, and how you got into Havening, holistic nutrition, and life coaching. We’ll get a chance to go into all of those things, but how about we start with the one that sounds most compelling, which is the HUG It Out program?

Thank you so much. I’m glad it sounds compelling. I’m doing something right. I appreciate that. HUG It Out is a signature system that I created and basically, with the work that I’ve been doing for quite some time in the field of holistic mental health and holistic health in general, I realize that it’s not about what’s happening outside of us that matters most. It’s what’s happening within.

It's not what's happening outside of us that matters most. It's what's happening within. Share on X

HUG It Out is an acronym for the word HUG, which is Healing, Understanding, and Gratitude. If you don’t have those three essential things that you’re focusing on within, about your own healing, about having an understanding of who you are, your essence, your purpose, and also having a deep appreciation and gratitude for the person that you are and what you’re putting out in this world, how in the world can you show up for others in that way?

It is almost like we’ve heard the phrase HUG It Out before. You get into a kerfuffle with somebody and somebody comes along and goes, “Why don’t you two hug it out? Just bygones be bygones.” The thing is, the person we never do that with is ourselves. The self-doubt, depreciation, imposter syndrome, all of those things show up and we are not hugging it out with ourselves first.

This system that I created is in alignment with those three pillars, but it goes much deeper because it is about empowering you. It’s not me empowering you. It’s giving you the tools, being the guide by your side to give you the tools to empower yourself, to heal yourself because, again, I don’t have that control. The only person I can do that with is myself.

Being the guide by your side, it’s giving you a gift and a reminder and mirroring back at you what you sometimes don’t see in yourself. That’s the true power of having a practitioner or a coach by your side to be able to do that. To see the transformations and the shifts from the clients that I support is quite beautiful. By the way, anything I do, I’m a guinea pig for my own work and that’s important. That’s truly, in a nutshell, what HUG It Out is.

It goes along beautifully with the work I do in Havening. As you’ve talked about on your show, as I talk about all the time as a practitioner of the work, hugs are very important because hugs are also oxytocin being released. It’s the happy hormone. It’s the love hormone. That part of my system is bringing in the power of the Havening technique so that you are truly showing yourself that love and then you can go from there.

Tell us a little bit more about the Hugs program. If somebody was engaging with you, they received your beautiful workbook, and they were listening to you for 1 of your 14-day events, what would they experience? What types of things would you be presenting to them? What types of exercises? Most importantly, what feedback are you getting in regard to how people feel while they’re going through the program and making their improvements?

I had a HUG It Out Challenge that I did. The thing that I love to share is that no two days are ever the same. No two clients are ever the same. No two sessions with the same client are ever the same. In a nutshell, when I did the HUG It Out Challenge, we covered a lot of areas in general because I can’t support thousands of people who are tuning in in an intimate way. I can give them little tools of what you might see within a deeper program working with me one-on-one or if we’re in a workshop. The first step to any change is awareness. That is first and foremost.

For you to realize that something is a little off-kilter in your life, you need to realize that a change is needing to happen. The three approaches that I use, I call the triple A’s, is you need to be in a state of awareness first. You move into a state of allowing. You need to allow yourself to say, “This doesn’t feel right. I’m going to allow myself to look into this possibility.” You move into that state of alignment.

Once you start allowing it, once you’re aware of it, aligning with that new way of being is where the changes start to happen. It becomes this beautiful flowing thing. Also, having the support of somebody like myself gives you the ability to move forward and let the trajectory of things continue. Sometimes, after we’re done with these challenges, these workshops, and these programs out there, you sit there and the last day almost feels like the last day of camp and you’re like, “I got to go back to school. Now I got to practice,” and you don’t have any support.

That’s where it comes into working with me because you’re learning all my approaches. You’re learning my techniques and what I put into it. Going back to that, first, there’s a step of awareness and declaring what you want in your life to change. Once you declare it and put it out there, you’re manifesting it because you’re changing your mindset, which is so important. Mindset is so important. Connecting with it, you can be wishful thinking of everything, “I want the relationship. I want the job. I want the home.”

Whatever it is that you’re thinking about, if you’re not truly connecting, aligning, and calibrating with it, you can’t psych yourself out because the brain is conditioned to go to the negative anyway. What I’m working to do is to get you to change your thoughts, moves, behaviors, and habits and create a new space for the neuroplasticity in your brain. We need to give more credit to our brain, that it is something that can be changed.

You’re then going into the self, the words that you use towards yourself. That’s important. It’s having a clear understanding that the words we use and choose do matter, not only to others but truly to ourselves. There’s the element of going through word choices, understanding yourself better, and getting in a frame of mind that even if a word sounds like it’s positive if it’s used in a negative connotation, it could completely throw you off kilter. It’s affirming those things that you want to happen, affirming things that you want to happen in your life.

The words we use and choose do matter, not only to others but truly to ourselves. Share on X

I bring in the Havening technique because that’s the jam of my practice, being one of only 700 to 800 in the world now. There are only that many practitioners and I’m one of the first 150. I take that seriously, especially being so closely associated with the cofounding doctors and knowing them personally. This is a gift I want to give people that you can do every day. You can self-apply, which is beautiful. It’s a modality that you can do that with.

Moving into the space where it’s all about choice, you choose to choose. It comes down to working specifically with me. Each person, as I said, is different. It’s all bio-individuality. Each session is different. You can show up in a happy-go-lucky mood one day, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be working on yourself because you’re in a state of joy. It means being in a more state of joy. That’s about the appreciation moving into the HUG It Out. At that point, you start realizing that it is an inner healing journey, understanding yourself, and having that appreciation and gratitude.

We keep moving into the system without going through everything. It’s understanding your core values, the essence of who you are. We go through that. I have a beautiful name game program that lets you break down. You’re given a name, I’m given a name, but what does your name mean to you? It’s creating core values around the name that’s used every day to identify you. That’s one of my favorite things to do that I started to do with my students at St. John’s University because I was a college professor there for over ten years. It was like a way to break the ice with these new kids showing up, having to be on camera, feeling uncomfortable, and having stage fright. That moved into my client work.

A lot of stuff I tested out with my students, I use with my clients because those 18 to 22-year-olds are a tough group to get appreciation from. From all that, gentlemen, you get into that state of aligning, allowing, moving into the allowance, releasing and letting go, surrendering your story, your agenda. What you think is supposed to happen in your life isn’t necessarily the best thing to happen in your life.

When we surrender, that is truly where manifestation can happen in our life. I don’t mean that in a woo-woo sense. I mean that truly. Things change in your life when you let them go, release them, surrender them, and realize everything comes to you at the exact time it needs to. We hold on to things deeply and that’s something I work with my clients.

LFY 4 | Hug It Out

Hug It Out: Things change in your life when you let them go, release them, surrender them, and realize everything comes to you at the exact time it needs to.


There’s a side to me that’s the empathetic coach and then there’s the side that’s the tough coach. There’s a balance there as a practitioner in the work that I do. I want to show up for people where they need me the most. Beautifully, you move into that state of alignment, which I call the perfect now. We tend to forget these moments that are happening right now, sitting here with both of you, being able to have the gift of communication conversation is perfect now.

We get so caught up with the negative that we forget about the now. As I said, all of this is creating the space and the mindset, and then you move into that state of that shift and stay. Having the support with someone like myself, obviously with HUG It Out, it is me because it’s my program, where you can truly find the balance and maintain it in the most beautiful and authentic way.

In regard to surrendering, are there specific techniques you use to help people surrender? People love the status quo. They’ll hang onto it even if it’s causing them pain, whether it’s physical pain. A lot of people won’t make any choices or changes until something becomes acute. They’ll live with pain in their shoulder or pain in their knee for 10, 15, or 20 years and not do anything about it until it’s time for a knee replacement. That’s humans. We tend not to change things until it’s painful. If people are doing work with you, it’s not necessarily they’re in pain. They might be joyful, but they want to continue their evolution. How do you get them to surrender their old self so they can become the new?

I love this question because I was with a client that was going through some physical pain. This is something she has been dealing with for quite some time. I totally get it because one of the reasons why I took a deep dive into this work was my own chronic pain from TMJ surgery. I had TMJ surgery when I was fifteen years old. It was probably one of the most painful things I went through. I had no idea what I was going through. I use these tools with myself every day, but with this client specifically, a perfect example of this and how it works for her and many that I hold space for is that creating mantras that work for you has to be very fine-tuned to who you are.

I don’t cookie-cutter boilerplate anything. I spend a lot of time and attention on each person. What needs to happen, and this can be an overall starting point, is realizing that your body has the ability to heal itself. A lot of times, if you’re waking up in pain, take a moment to sit back and realize you can’t be calm when you’re in chaos. The worst is over, as we say. Being able to sit there and say, “All is well,” deep breaths because when you deep breathe, that activates the parasympathetic nervous system. Calm yourself down a little bit, releasing some of those happy chemicals and hormones in the brain, and give yourself the space to sit back and imagine.

I share with my folks to imagine from the crown of your head going down to the tip of your toes that some healing energy of light is nurturing parts of your body that need it the most. That goes back to hugging it out and giving yourself the healing. Imagine it. Maybe it’s a color that looks healing. I bring this in more powerfully with Havening because that puts you in that delta wave state and it does change the landscape of the brain. Say things like, “All is well. I am healthy and strong. I have the tools.”

I am statements are probably the most powerful things you could possibly say to yourself. There are no words more powerful than I am. It’s what follows that messes us up. When you fill in that blank with, “I am strong. I am healing. I am on a journey that is making me stronger.” I choose even are good words. The words that follow are so dynamic and powerful. It’s very important to choose the right words that follow I am.

LFY 4 | Hug It Out

Hug It Out: “I am” statements are probably the most powerful things you could possibly say to yourself. There are no words more powerful than “I am.” It’s what follows that messes us up.


At that point, your subconscious is tuned in, so you want to make sure you’re saying the right thing. If it misunderstands, you’ve not helped yourself. You went backward.

“I am in pain,” is likely going to cause you more pain. I am not saying avoid the pain because I understand it myself, but change the words to, “I am in a moment of discomfort, but my body is healing.” Words like pain versus discomfort are very different. If you are in excruciating pain, whether it’s physical or emotional, maybe you went through a breakup and you’re feeling the pain of that, I get it. I understand it. Feel it. A lot of times, people try to eliminate the feeling. You can’t do that.

Part of the process is to feel and to know where it’s coming from. Why are you feeling this way? Those are the things I love sharing and holding space for my clients. It’s understanding where it’s coming from. Is that pain coming from a deeper trauma, abandonment from something from childhood, or an accident that you might have had? In the situation with my client, the fear of the pain came from something that happened much earlier in her life, being in the space of fear that it could happen again.

Your brain hates uncertainty. Your brain would rather go to a negative space than face uncertainty. It’s up to you to bring it to a state of certainty that all is well. Everything is happening for the highest good. I’m safe. I’m protected. I trust all is well. It’s simple things like that. I love to fine-tune and create mantras with my clients. That becomes their own. Paste it up on the board. Put it on your phone so you can look at it. Memorize it so it comes out of you like a sonnet.

LFY 4 | Hug It Out

Hug It Out: Your brain would rather go to a negative space than face uncertainty. It’s up to you to bring it to a state of certainty that all is well.


It becomes the new you. You become the mantra.

Mantras are very powerful.

When you first created the HUG It Out program, how long ago was that? What gave you the inspiration and how did you get the acronym? Tell us how that was all created.

It’s because I love a good hug. I was already working in the field of neuroscience, holistic health, and havening as a practitioner. Part of it was knowing the power. I work with a lot of children too. Knowing that we need to be embraced, knowing the power of that love hormone and the physical touch is essential for our emotional and physical well-being, emotional especially. Seeing over time how you are impacted when a hand touches your arm to say, “All is well. The worst is over. Everything’s okay.” Picking up a child when they fall and skin their knee and they need to be hugged and said, “Everything’s okay.”

I realized it wasn’t about the outward. Why are we not doing this for ourselves? I have been in a state of negative self-talk and doubt and imposter syndrome. When I started turning around and realizing this is not helping me, it was when I started creating that. It’s been a couple of years now that the actual HUG It Out system came about and I keep building on it. That’s the beauty of it.

There are a lot of people out there in the coaching world that see the value and continuously bettering whatever they’re doing because things change. The ones that take the courses, get the certifications, don’t do anything, have the same thing over and over, and never do work on themselves, are the ones I question.

It becomes mechanical and a lot less like what you were saying. In general, if you’re a good practitioner, you want to take the time to not cookie-cutter anything because, as we talk about with our supplements, everybody’s body is different. What they’re going to respond to might not be the same and work the way it did for this person here. To take a cookie-cutter approach and try to do that is not beneficial. It could be more detrimental than anything.

One of the things that we’ve found working with all these people and helping them with their issues is that it does take a lot of self-discovery. We have people that come in and say, “I’ve tried every health supplement in the world and I still feel like crap and nothing works for me.” That’s where we get onto that question of, “Maybe we need to look deeper. Maybe your body is still responding to something that you don’t even realize.” It’s responding to the traumas that you were mentioning.

A lot of the time, people don’t want to feel that. They want to, “It happened. Move on,” and not be in that moment of, “What did it do to me? What could it affect me in the future?” A lot of people never think about that. When they’re having issues, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m a bad person.” That’s something we’ve run into a lot, especially when people, in the physical sense, “I took this and it’s not working. You said it works for everybody.” We never say anything works for everybody because it doesn’t. Sometimes those people need to have their focus turn to, “Maybe we need to look internally.”

Bob and I talk a lot about craniosacral therapy and ways to pull out and relive these traumas in a healthy environment with professionals. As you say, you don’t want to do this with people that don’t know what’s going on. It could make it worse. You could get into a state of trauma that you can’t get out of. These are the things that I can connect to. I believe that is exactly why Havening and the things that we’re talking about with the HUG It Out can help people to realize. That alone is a huge step.

The one thing I always say is, “The best coaches have coaches and the best practitioners have practitioners.” I don’t want to go to a doctor, practitioner, or therapist or hire a coach that isn’t working on themselves. We are works in progress from the day we’re born to the day we die. Who knows what happens after that?

We are works in progress from the day we're born to the day we die. Share on X

On top of that, going back to what you’re saying in the integrative nutrition world, as a holistic health coach, we call it bio-individuality. No thing is going to be the same for another person. Diving deeper is important. By the way, the word trauma has become a buzzword. Everyone’s using it and it can be very scary to hear that because there are big Ts and little Ts in the trauma world and we’ve all experienced some traumatic event or trauma and sometimes it impacts us differently.

We’ll call them upsets if it’s not a trauma if you’re not comfortable with that. When you don’t face those upsets, it’s not about getting rid of them. You never get rid of those things. You build relationships with it. You learn how to manage it. You understand where it’s coming from so when it shows up, you know how to say, “Let’s steer things in this direction. I got you. I know where that’s coming from.” That’s what empowers you when you realize you have control over that by releasing control. The true control is releasing the control.

Hilary, in the creation of the HUG It Out program, you came to that partly through your experience with Havening. I assume when people engage with you, you use Havening. You teach them how to take care of themselves with Havening when they’ve engaged with you. Before we start talking about Havening, if someone wanted to get in touch with you in regard to working together with you for the HUG It Out program, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you?

I love talking about this and sharing this with folks. You can go to my website at HilaryRusso.com/havening and there is a link to book a one-on-one complimentary Havening session with me. It’s a weird link once you go to the Booking link. If you go to HilaryRusso.com/havening, you’ll see a link where you can book a free HUG It Out session with me.

That is the most important thing. It’s a gift I want to give people because many people might not know what Havening is. My desire is to put it on the map and help it get out there because it is neuroscience-based. It is a beautiful modality that I use in my own practice and in my own life, by the way, numerous times a day. It’s allowing people to see, being aware something needs to change, and allowing themselves the gift of trying it one-on-one with me. I used to not do that. I used to have, “Let’s talk about your health concerns and if you want to sign up for a Havening session.” I want to give people a taste of what it’s like to experience it by working with me because you view it differently.

Tune into the next episode where we will learn about Hilary’s first encounter with Havening and how it changed her life and how you can learn this amazing technique. Thanks for reading. Check us out at LiveForeverYoungRadio.com.


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About Hilary Russo

LFY 4 | Hug It OutHilary has more than 25 years of media experience.

She’s an award-winning television journalist, producer and multimedia host. Her work has allowed her to cover some of the most intriguing and influential people, products and companies on many platforms from live TV and events to virally all over the world.

A shift in her life presented her with a unique opportunity where Hilary blends her media expertise and storytelling with her love of health and wellness. She currently hosts “Healthy Communities News”, a monthly travel show for CVS Health.  She also makes regular appearances as a health/wellness guest expert on TV stations across the country.