Unfortunately, we have all missed National Hug Day this year, but you can mark January 21 on your calendar now so you won’t ever miss it again. Hugs are great. At the end of a tough day, all I want is a hug. It’s a nice feeling to be close to someone and feel protected even if the action makes you more vulnerable to being tickled or pinched at the sides.
The simple act of hugging someone both parties are provided with emotional and physical support, which in turn has been documented in a study to protect against the effects of stress and sickness. The Medical Daily goes as far as to say that “People who reported higher numbers of hugs showed less of a risk of getting sick with a common cold virus.” Additionally, other studies have show that hugs increase a person’s levels of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” which makes people feel happier and can provide emotional support throughout a draining day. Hugs also increase other feel good hormones including serotonin and dopamine, while also decreasing the stress hormone cortisol. The same study also found that those lacking in physical contact showed higher blood pressure and heart rate. They can even provide comfort during a bad dream:
Stress is a constant factor in everyone’s lives, whether you are out working in the real world, raising a family, or trying to stay focused over the last weeks of your college career. Giving someone a hug is mutually beneficial and can help keep these tensions in check. My proposition for a ripple effect is that everyone hug at least one person a day. I’m not saying it has to be a stranger because hugging can feel a little to intimate for some people to be comfortable embracing someone they don’t know. However, I don’t think it needs to be a stranger to make a difference either. I think the general act of hugging will have positive influences on people’s attitudes and leave them feeling supported and loved. When I have a bad day, it’s easiest to wallow and inadvertently bring others down with me. Giving and receiving a hug can help inspire people to feel more positively and avoid the downward spiral of a bad attitude.
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