It is World Hug Day! And no one can deny how wonderful it feels to be hugged – at least occasionally. I have a couple of friends who totally veto hugs, but even they, on occasion, enjoy it. After all, who does not like to be loved?
I find it rather sweet that there is a day designated as National Hugging Day,™ also known as National Hug Day, International Hug Day, and Global Hug Day. This is an annual holiday created in 1986 by Rev. Kevin Zaborney in Michigan, USA on January 21st each year and is officially recognized by the United States Copyright Office. This is celebrated across 30 countries worldwide and the goal is to encourage people to feel free to express themselves via hugging.
So go ahead, offer a hug
(…but first ask if it is okay)
You can hug anyone you want – family, friends – to enjoy the benefits of hugging.
Why make hugging a habit?
- Hugs equal happiness. Research shows that the moment we get our arms around someone we’re fond of, our bodies naturally release oxytocin, the happiness hormone.
- Hugs relieve stress. When you are happy, you feel less stressed. Yes, touching makes you healthier.
- Age is no bar when it comes to hugs. Babies need it for survival, just as they need water and food! Harvard University researchers say that hugs keep babies’ cortisol levels in balance for healthy development. How hard is it to hug a baby?
- Hugging promotes learning. Students who receive a pat from their tutors volunteer more in class.
- Children who are hugged a lot handle stress better, have greater focus and are more successful in life.
- Hugs make better sportsmen! Team members are more affectionate towards each other, which makes them likelier to win!
- If you thought an apple a day keeps the doctor away, add an hug to that! Hugs stimulate the thymus gland, which manages white blood cell production, helping us fight disease and stay healthy.
- Stop the bug with a hug! Sick people who receive hugs recover faster as hugs boost the immune system.
- Hugging hearts are healthy hearts. Hugs ease blood flow, lower cortisol levels, keeping heart rates under control.
- Hugs are great relationship builders. Hugging couples are happy couples, more affectionate towards each other and therefore, higher oxytocin levels.
- Hugs are great when you want to communicate without words. The power of the human touch!
- A hug is such a nice way to show your support and as good as saying “I’m here”.
If you are wondering how to hug, here’s a helpful hug guide (Source) from Batchelors Hug in a Mug. Each of us has a unique way of hugging and here are some pointers on how to interpret them:
The back to front Hug
Perfect to support and be affectionate. The back to front hug implies there’s someone who is always there for you, pretty much like unconditional love. Oh yeah, I receive a lot of these, when I am least expecting them! Love it!
The bear hug
This one is a solid! Just a gentle squeeze reassures and expresses affection.
The cheek hug
This is basically a way to comfort someone, show affection, but also keep one’s distance. Of course, this is also used by those who can’t get up to hug tight, or people who are plain lazy. So, just about anyone!
The side to side hug
This casual hug is perhaps the most common – nice to show we care without going overboard. It is also easy to do if we’re occupied with something.
The Heart Centered Hug
This one, well this one is the most loving of all. Slow, intimate, heart to heart, literally – usually with close family, friends and partners.
No matter what type of hug, it is all good!
Money can’t buy you love, but it can buy you a big hug because, sometimes just a hug will do! I came across this Tranquillity chair – a rag doll merged into a chair with arms to hug the person who sits in it. Check it out:
There, you have it.
So go hug your loved ones as often as you can! And hug yourself, too!
Make it a habit. Practice Hugging Meditation.