It’s International Hug Day! That’s right, we did say there was a day for everything. Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the first ever Hug Day. Created by Kevin Zaborney, the day is supposed to “encourage people to openly express themselves through hugging”. “Whether you hug a family member or a stranger, the mental and physical health benefits are the same. Hugging reduces stress and blood pressure as examples of health benefits” Their website claims. So, what are the other benefits of hugging?Well, hugging can build trust and a sense of safety, it can boost oxytocin levels which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation and anger and holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness. Studies have also shown that hugs and touch significantly reduce worry of mortality. Even hugging a teddy bear helps soothe existential fears. Great excuse to still sleep next to your favourite teddy.
Hugging also strengthens your immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra, which stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells. White blood cells, as we all know, keep us healthy and disease free.
Hugs also balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system. No, we’re not sure what that means either but it sounds positive.
Essentially, hugging is really really good for you and whether it be your favourite teddy bear, your pet or a loved one, go and give them a nice big hug. We will leave you with some pictures of animals hugging, because why not?
feature image: i.huffpost.com