Humans need social contact such as friendly hugs, “attaboy” pats on the back and handholding. Hugs, in particular, vastly contribute to your health and happiness. In fact, hugs are proven so important that “National Hugging Day” is observed annually on January 21, making it an opportune time to start hugging more for your health and happiness.
Hugs are Heart Healthy
A study led by Dr. Charmaine Griffiths, British Heart Foundation shows that hugs and handholding provides beneficial heart health and reduces stress. When a group of couples were told to discuss an “angry event”, the group that held hands and hugged before the confrontation evidenced lower heart rate and blood pressure.
Hug More for your Health and Happiness
Research supports that people who hug more are happier. When a couple hugs for six seconds or more, mood-boosting/bonding chemicals called oxytocin and serotonin are released at an optimum level.
The actual number of hugs humans need varies, according to which statistics one pursues. Some say “several times a day”; others suggest “five hugs daily”. In an article in “The Telegraph”, four hugs a day are apparently “the secret to a happy marriage”.
My consensus: hug more for your health and happiness!
Hug your Babies
Babies who are hugged more even evidence better physical development and more brain power. “Children who get sustained form of touching, such as a long hug everyday are smarter.” Quote from Jay Gordon, M.D., co-author of “Brighter Baby”.
Caregivers in a Korean orphanage gave a group of babies an extra 15 minutes of one-on-one attention by talking to them, using direct eye contact and massaged the babies five times a week, for four weeks. These babies grew in length and gained more weight than the infants who did not receive extra affection.
Hug a Tree
According to researchers at the 2010 IUFRO World Forestry Congress in Seoul, hugging a tree: multiplies natural cancer-killer cells; improves mood, promotes well-being, reduces anger and in general provides natural healing effects.
Tree hugging was brought to the attention of the masses in “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield. As we collectively grasp the beauty and oneness of nature, we begin to evolve spiritually. By hugging trees, our vibrational frequency will increase and it becomes possible to understand the world needs to preserve forests, sacred sites, lakes and oceans.
Hug a Pet
When senior citizens stroke and hug a pet, their blood pressure decreases, they are less lonely and experience a lightened mood. Happy endorphins are released similar to the hormones released with exercise. Pets become beloved companions and are proven to increase the lifespan of senior citizens.
Research also supports that nursing home residents are not as lonely when a dog comes to visit.
Hug Somebody with Chronic Pain
Show your love to somebody with chronic pain. Give them more hugs. Hugs transfer your energy to them. An embrace from a loved one doesn’t make the pain go away, but it certainly makes it more bearable.
National Hugging Day – January 21
When I met my current husband, I was touch-deprived. As an abused child, I did not experience bonding with my mother. As an abused wife, who experienced no hugs per day, I was lonely and unhappy. My current husband has hugged me often and hugged me well.
I challenge you to celebrate “National Hugging Day” on January 21 by freely giving of your hugs. But, don’t stop the next day. Hug more for your own health and happiness. Remember: what you give, you receive times three.
“The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield
“Brighter Baby” by Jay Gordon, M.D. Co-author
“The Telegraph” article “Secret to a Happy Marriage”
Huffington Post “How to Be Happier: “Kiss more, Hug more, Touch more”
The Med Guru “Hug a tree to relieve stress and tensions study” January Holidays: http://www.gone-ta-pott.com