There is a saying by Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist which says, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
January 21st is National Hugging Day. It began back in 1986, and was started by Reverend Kevin Zaborney in Cairo, Michigan. He chose the day because of it being between Christmas and Valentines and in winter when moods are typically lower.
Studies have shown that physical contact, such as hugging, kissing, or simply touching is essential for a person’s overall mental well-being. Hugging can boost your immune system, decrease stress levels and levels of cortisol in the body, lower the risk of heart disease and improve physical development.
There are even medical reasons why hugging is good for you.
- Hugging makes us feel good by releasing oxytocin which promotes a feeling of trust, bonding and devotion.
- Hugging helps alleviate our fears. A study was conducted to assess the perceived value of a comfort object such as a teddy bear when considering frightful topics such as our own mortality. “Our findings show that even touching an inanimate object — such as a teddy bear — can soothe existential fears,” notes Koole. “Interpersonal touch is such a powerful mechanism that even objects that simulate touch by another person may help to instill in people a sense of existential significance.” (read more)
- Hugging can be good for our hearts by lowering our blood pressure according to a study by researchers at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and the University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), led by Karen Grewen, PhD.
- Full body hugs stimulate the nervous system.
Have you hugged someone today?
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