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Considering The Average Hug Is Under 10 Seconds, We Average An Hour A Month Hugging

National Hug Day or National Hugging Day occurs on January 21 and is officially recognized by the United States Copyright Office, but is not a public holiday. The purpose of the day is to help everyone show more emotion in public. There is only one way you are supposed to celebrate the holiday, offer a hug to anyone and everyone you want. While National Hug Day and the Free Hugs Campaign share many similarities, there is not an association between the two. Whether you hug a family member or a stranger, the mental and physical health benefits are the same.

  • The holiday was founded by Rev. Kevin Zaborney on March 29, 1986, in Caro, Michigan.
  • Α full-body hug stimulates your nervous system while decreasing feelings of loneliness, combating fear, increasing self-esteem, defusing tension, and showing appreciation.
  • Cuddling releases oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that does everything from making you feel good to helping you feel connected to others. Oxytocin is crucial in the act of cuddling, as you’ll see from its benefits popping up in the list below.
  • More hugs = lower blood pressure. The hormones that are released in the body after a hug aren’t just good for happy feelings — they can also help your physical health.
  • Cuddling relieves pain. Just as it boosts your immune system, cuddling and releasing oxytocin will decrease your pain levels.
  • Well-hugged babies are less stressed as adults.
  • Hugging can be good for our hearts. Embracing someone may warm your heart, but according to one study a hug can be good medicine for it too.
  • Neuroeconomist Paul Zak, also known as “Dr. Love,” recommends at least eight hugs a day to be happier and enjoy better relationships. Psychotherapist Virginia Satir also famously said: “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
  • A 20-second hug, along with 10 minutes of hand-holding, also reduces the harmful physical effects of stress, including its impact on your blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Did you know that, on average, people spend on hour a month hugging? That doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider that the average hug is under 10 seconds long… that’s a lot of hugs!
  • The majority of people lead with their right arm when going in for a hug.
  • When there is a positive or negative emotion triggering the hug, you tend to go in with the left side of your body, which is controlled by the right side of your brain. The right side of your brain does a lot of processing of positive and negative emotions.
  • Even a 10-second hug can improve your health. Results of the study “Meanings of hugging” from Lena Forsell and Jan Åström identified several impacts a 10-second hug can have to your health:
    • Lower risk of heart disease
    • Fight infections
    • Stress reduction
    • Fight fatigue
    • Boost your immune system
    • Ease depression


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