“I need a hug.” How often each day or week do you find yourself saying this?
If you’re like me, probably dozens of times! And you’re not alone.
Whether we’re feeling down or at our best, we all need physical contact to thrive. It’s a basic human need, bringing immense emotional and physical benefits from the moment we’re born. And what better way to spread the human contact love than to give, receive or share a hug?
Hugging releases oxytocin, the hormone responsible for those warm, fuzzy feelings that come with being around those you love. Oxytocin also helps lower stress and anxiety, reduce pain and build trust. Giving or receiving a hug helps with all of these things—and is a wonderful way of showing somebody you care.
That’s why I love the fact that January 21 is National Hugging Day—a day created to honor the simple and beautiful act of hugging. National Hugging Day encourages us all to reach out and hug our friends, family, colleagues, and even perfect strangers.
Unfortunately, in the age of Covid hugs are rarer than before. But we can still hug those in our bubble or close circle. Here are some of the ways to mark National Hugging Day and enjoy the benefits of a warm, friendly or loving hug this year:
- Reach out and hug someone in your bubble without warning.
- Ask for a hug.
- Ask people around you if they need a hug, then give one if you can.
- Boost someone’s joy by letting them know how much they mean to you, and promising a hug as soon as it’s possible.
- Wrap yourself in the big, warm hug of a snuggly blanket.
- Give the gift of a snuggly blanket so others can do the same. It’s a way of saying “I’m here for you” even when you can’t share a hug.
And remember, the very best gifts are immaterial —like the gift of a heartfelt hug. Give them lavishly.