National Hugging Day is January 21 and it’s easy to see what it’s meant to do – to encourage each of us to give the people we meet today a hug! It’s a wonderful holiday, especially for the people who are receiving the hugs!
Kevin Zaborney is credited with coming up with the idea of National Hugging Day in 1986.Wikipedia.org
As a widow myself – I can tell you that one of the things that you miss the most when your significant other has passed away is the feel of human touch. Honestly, I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I had to go to a physical therapist a few months after my husband passed away.
The PT began working on my aching back with his hands and after about 5 minutes of massage work, I began to cry simply because I realized, at that moment, that it had been many months since anyone had put their hands on me.
I missed the daily hugs my husband would give me (and him of course).
There doesn’t seem to be any doubt that hugs are important for everyone so on January 21st, celebrate that wonderful and very beneficial act of hugging by giving a hug to as many people as possible – especially the older adults in your life.
If your aging parents are in a nursing home – take some time to visit them on January 21st (and other days too) and give them a good, long hug!
How long should a hug last for health? The answer is 20 seconds.
Yes, there are studies that have shown that a 20 second hug is the most beneficial for most human beings.
What Happens When You Hug Someone For 20 Seconds?
When you think about the benefits of hugging, you probably immediately think about just how nice it is to be held by someone who likes and/or loves you.
But, there’s a bit more to it than just that.
Research has discovered that there is something magical to having long hugs. They have figured out that Oxytocin is released when we hug for at least 20 seconds.Soencouragement.org
The studies that I found on this research were on groups of 50 individuals or less. But yet, every study came to the same conclusion – so there is something to be said about that.
Now, what is so important about Oxytocin (aka The Love Hormone) and how does it affect a human body?
Well – according to MedicalNewsToday.com – it appears that when the body releases Oxytocin it can help to reduce depression, anxiety and intestinal problems. All in all, it seems it can make you feel better.
How Many Hugs Are Needed A Day?
According to family therapist Virginia Satir who is considered to be the “mother of family therapy” the number of hugs that are optimal per day are…
- 4 hugs per day are needed for survival
- 8 hugs per day are needed for maintenace
- 12 hugs per day are needed for growth
Now, I don’t know about you but it’s very rare that I have ever gotten 12 hugs in one day. I would say that 4 was the norm for me, sometimes a bit more but if you are getting 8 to 12 hugs a day, then you should consider yourself very fortunate!
Why Are Hugs So Powerful?
What all these studies and research on hugging has revealed is that there are multiple benefits to getting and giving hugs – hence the importance of celebrating National Hug Day on January 21st!
The List Of Benefits Of Hugging Include…
- Hugging can help to reduce stress. When you are hugged, you are essentially getting some support and love from someone – that in itself can help to reduce your stress level.
- Hugging can help to reduce the chances of you getting sick, like a cold. A study of 400 adults found that the individuals with a support system were less likely to get sick and if they did – they had fewer symptoms. Hugging can provide you with that feeling of being supported which in turn can help to reduce the possibility of getting ill.
- Hugging can help to reduce your blood pressure which in turn can help your overall health.
- Hugging can help to reduce levels of fear and anxiety.
- Hugging can help to reduce physical pain such as muscle pain.
- Hugging can help to make you happier. This makes sense because if all this hugging reduces your anxiety and depression and helps you to feel physically better, then it makes sense that hugs can help to make you happier.
All in all – we highly encourage you to give a hug to the people you love in your life. Your family, friends, etc.
Happy National Hug Day!