"a warm pat on the back"

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Odessa Dawn

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"To combat worry, Hallowell suggests that people should not worry alone, because people are much more likely to come up with solutions when talking about their concerns with a friend. As well, he urges worriers to find out more information about the issue that is troubling them, or make sure that their information is correct. Another step to reduce worry is to make a plan and take action and take "care of your brain" by sleeping enough, getting exercise, and eating a healthy diet (without a "lot of carbs, junk food, alcohol, drugs, etc). Hallowell encourages worriers to get "regular doses of positive human contact" such as "a hug or a warm pat on the back".Finally, he suggests that worriers let the problem go rather than gathering them around themselves.[SUP]"[/SUP]
Worry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




pat someone on the back and give someone a pat on the back
1. Lit. to pat someone's back to show praise.
2. Fig. to praise someone for something.
More: pat on the back - Idioms - by the Free Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.

Does the word hug give us a hint that the intended meaning of the underlined part is literary?

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Grumpy

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1. Lit. to pat someone's back to show praise.
2. Fig. to praise someone for something.

Does the word hug give us a hint that the
intended meaning of the underlined part is literary?

First, I think "Lit." stands for "Literal", rather than "Literary". Nevertheless, I agree with your interpretation - although both a hug and a (literal) pat on the back are both enhanced when accompanied by some kind words.
 

5jj

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I think the writer is speaking of a literal hug and a literal pat on the back to show warmth and empathy.
 
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