National Hug Day :The Health Benefits of Hugging
National Hug Day first began in 1986, and was started by Reverend Kevin Zaborney in Caro, Michigan. Zaborney believed that Americans in particular live in a society where showing feelings in public is embarrassing, and he wanted to change that by putting hugs in the spotlight one day out of the year (it’s true, studies have shown that French couples are three times as affectionate in public than Americans). He chose January 21 because it fell in between Christmas/New Year’s and Valentine’s Day; it’s also in the dead of winter, a time period where most people’s spirits are low, so seemingly a perfect time. Though it’s not a national holiday, National Hug Day is officially recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The holiday has also since spread to other countries.
Why Hugging Is Good For You
Research has shown that hugs can improve mental health, physical health and build a good immune system. A study by University of North Carolina researchers found that hugs increase the “bonding” hormone oxytocin and decrease the risk of heart disease. In fact, levels of the stress hormone cortisol decreased in women, as did their blood pressure. Lead researcher and psychologist Dr. Karen Grewen says, “Greater partner support is linked to higher oxytocin levels for both men and women. However, the importance of oxytocin and its potentially cardioprotective effects may be greater for women.”
Scientists are increasingly interested in the possibility that positive emotions can be good for your health. This study has reinforced research findings that support from a partner, in this case a hug from a loved one, can have beneficial effects on heart health,” said Dr. Charmaine Griffiths, spokesperson for the British Heart Foundation.
“Hugging is an excellent tonic,” said Dr. Harold Voth, senior psychiatrist at Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas. “It has been shown scientifically that people who are mentally run-down and depressed are far more prone to sickness than those who are not. Hugging can lift depression, enabling the body’s immune system to become tuned up. Hugging breathes new life into a tired body and makes you feel younger and more vibrant. In the home, daily hugging will strengthen relationships and significantly reduce friction.”
Voth is not the only psychiatrists believe that a hugs can have an astonishing therapeutic effect. Many mental health care providers believe hugs provide a sense of companionship and happiness. Studies have shown that people who are mentally run-down and depressed are far more prone to sickness than those who are not. When a person is hugged, their comfort level is increased. It creates feelings of security and a bond or connection between two people.
So hug today for your health. It is simple and an effective way to boost your immune system, provide good heart health and lighten your emotions.
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