January 21 is National Hugging Day! Today is a day to spread love and happiness by embracing the embrace!
National Hugging Day was created in 1986 by Kevin Zaborney. Zaborney published the holiday idea in Chase’s Calendar of Events, and though he was certain his idea would fail to take hold, it has become a widely popular holiday. So many countries across the world now unofficially celebrate this holiday that many have expressed interest in renaming it “International Hugging Day.” He chose January 21 as the celebration date because it falls between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and Valentine’s Day, a time which Zaborney thought most people were not in high spirits. ”American society is embarrassed to show feelings in public,” expressed Zabroney, hoping that the holiday would help Americans to be less self-conscious and more emotive. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School conducted a study in 2003 which proved that French couples touch three times the amount that Americans do.
Not only is hugging a way to greet your loved ones or show affection, but it has also been proven to have some great health benefits. Physical contact between human beings has been proven to benefit both physical and psychological development. Hugging is an excellent way to improve your immune system. A simple embrace between you and someone you care for can help lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk for heart disease. Women who give and receive hugs can decrease the levels of cortisol in their bodies, which is a hormone that is released in response to stress. Higher levels of oxytocin, a stress reducing hormone, has been found in couples who hug for more than 20 seconds. Stress can have harmful physical effects, and a study done by the American Psychosomatic Society has found that even holding hands with a romantic partner for as little as 10 minutes can quell those harmful levels of stress. Higher blood pressure and heart rates have been found in those who do not enjoy regular physical contact.
It is recommended by doctors that 4-6 hugs per day can help maintain a good physical and emotional well-being. Nick Vujicic holds the record for most hugs given in one day. In 2010, he gave 1,749 hugs to visitors at an expo center in Oregon.
To help you celebrate today, we’ve compiled a list of some of the many different hugs you can give today (or any day):
- The Full Hug: This hug is the most common hug, in which both parties participate in equal amounts of embracing and affection for one another.
- The Back to Front Hug: This hug can be given to a loved one even if they are busy doing something else. It is a great way to show someone you will always be there for them because it is given without expecting a reciprocal hug back.
- The Side Hug: While this hug may seem like it is not as affectionate as other hugs, it is a good way to quickly express gratitude, love, or simply to tell someone “hello” in a more sincere way.
- The Bear Hug: Considered the strongest of all hugs, this type of hug is usually given in a moment of excitement or when someone wishes to display strong affection for whoever they are hugging.
No matter what your hugging style is, remember to give a squeeze to those special people in your life today!