What do you think of when you think about hugging? Do you think about a mother hugging her newborn child? Do you think about a child hugging his or her dad before he heads off to work? What about a hug between two lovers upon seeing one another?
Like smiling, hugging is one of those things that spans across most cultures and is seen as a sign of comfort and care shared between two individuals. From an early age, most of us are shown love through hugs and we continue that by hugging those that we care about throughout our lives. It’s a wordless way to express emotion that can be understood by most anyone at any age – in other words, hugs are a powerful means of communication.
Even as someone who isn’t super crazy about being touched, hugs are a good way of showing that I care. I hug my dog to let her know that I love her and that I care about her, and while she may not hug me back she understands that she is cared for because of how I approach her for a hug.
Convinced that you need more hugs in your life yet? Here are 7 more interesting facts about hugging:
1. When we hug one another, we are strengthening feelings of trust and safety. Ultimately this lends itself to more open and honest communication between the two individuals.
2. According to one survey conducted in the USA, marriages where hugging was a common occurrence lasted longer than marriages which had little to no hugging.
3. Hugging increases levels of oxytocin, known commonly as the “love hormone.” This release of oxytocin may, in turn, have many beneficial effects on one’s health.
4. The release of oxytocin also acts as an added boost to your immune system, and can even help to decrease pain levels.
5. Need a day set aside just for hugging? Well you’re in luck! January 21st is the day when the world has agreed to celebrate Happy Hugging Day!
6. A hug that is held for an extended period of time (estimated at 10 seconds or longer) not only feels warm and comforting, but also lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating your mood and boosting feelings of happiness.
7. Although there’s no way of really knowing for sure, some reports claim that on average, people spend one hour per month hugging (that’s actually a lot of hugs!) and that the average hug lasts for around 9.5 seconds.