National hugging Day

We need four hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth, so says family therapist Virginia Satir. Even the Teletubbies knew the importance of a group hug!

Sadly, in our current Western culture, there aren’t many of us who get the minimum of four, let alone 12 hugs each day. We’re scared to hug non-relatives in case of being accused of harassment,  many people live in isolation, and yet more live their ‘social lives’ through Facebook, rather than face to face.

I read a heart warming story in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Review last October in which children from Little Tigers Day Care Centre spent time with elderly residents from Cherry Tree Care Home in Caldicot, enjoying a ‘Hug Day’ celebration.

The Hug Day celebration is an annual company-wide event, which encourages physical interaction and celebrates the comfort that a simple hug can bring.

Cherry Tree lifestyle team leader, Linda Jenkins, said: “Hug Day was made extra special this year because of the amazing effect the nursery children from Little Tigers brought to the day. You could just see the emotion in the residents faces, they just lit up.”

Little Tigers manager, Pam Curtis said: “The children thoroughly enjoyed their morning and by the residents’ faces, so did they. After all, everybody loves a hug.” You can read the story here.

Hugs make us feel happy. When we hug someone, our bodies release oxytocin, a hormone associated with happiness. And this photo of Oscar Dixon-Lawrence receiving a hug from Doris Thomas, 97 is adorable; he has happiness written all over his face:

young boy giving elderly lady a hug in nursing home

 

Scientists have interesting things to report about hugging too.

According to research, hugs help reduce stress, protect you against illness, boost heart health, make you feel happier, reduce anxiety in people with low self esteem and reduce pain.

Today is the perfect excuse to get your full quota as it’s National hugging Day. National Hugging Day began in the US back in 1986, but has spread across the globe to include Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, England, Germany, Russia and Sweden.

The idea is simply to get past your inhibitions and start hugging. Ask permission first, but you’ll likely find most people will be happy to hug. Some people event take part in a ‘Hugathon’ to raise money for charity!

No people nearby? Don’t forget your pets! Check out the health benefits of having a pet.

What about you – how many hugs do you get each day? Is it time for your own personal hugathon?

national hugging day pinterest image

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