It’s National Hugging Day! Just like your daily greens, fiber intake, and exercise regimen, hugging is so essential to our health and nourishment. Although I don't think anyone is hugging for the health benefits, one must admit that the side effects are pretty spectacular.
Psychotherapist Virginia Satir, an early expert in the field of family therapy, once said that “we need four hugs a day to survive, eight hugs a day for maintenance, and twelve hugs a day to grow.”
Here are five bonus reasons to find somebody to hug:
1. Hug for your heart! Research from the University of North Carolina showed that hugging can lower your blood pressure and your heart rate, especially when your temper starts to flare or your stress level rises. When in doubt, take a deep breath and hug it out.
2. Part of being human is occasionally wrestling with questions about the meaning of life and our fear of death. Some studies on hugging show that this anxiety can be eased by interpersonal touching, which affirms our sense of reality.
3. Hugging strengthens the immune systems, according to research from Carnegie Mellon University. Participants in this study who felt they had more social support and hugged more frequently were less likely to experience symptoms of severe illness.
4. Hugging reduces stress, anxiety, and depression by decreasing cortisol production and increasing our levels of serotonin and dopamine. It even promotes good posture and deeper breathing! (Huffpost)
5. Hugs that last 20 seconds or longer can trigger the release of oxytocin--the "cuddle hormone" that helps us feel more deeply connected to others.