Hugging is a simple way to express many different types of affection, from friendly, to intimate, to familial. It’s an action largely limited to primates — while we can find instances of other animals in positions that resemble hugging, there aren’t any other species that do it so frequently, and for so many reasons — and so, in many ways, hugging sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. It’s not just a differentiator, though: studies show that hugging releases oxytocin, known as the “cuddle hormone,” which can help to strengthen social bonds. So, on Jun. 29, we celebrate Hug Holiday. Get your hug on today!
Hug Holiday Activities
1. Start a "free hug" campaign
You've seen the videos: some random person standing along a crowded sidewalk with a "free hugs" sign. Passersby are initially skeptical, but eventually, they cave. Everyone wants a free hug! You don't have to film your endeavor to collect all the free oxytocin!
2. Hug a friend
For some of us, hugs are a part of everyday life. But for others, they can be few and far between. If you've noticed that one of your friends could use a hug, they'd likely appreciate the offer! Consider asking first, though. Everyone has different comfort zones!
3. Schedule a hug
Sometimes, life gets so busy that we forget about our basic needs. It might seem like overkill, but scheduling hugs with a person you love can be an effective way to make sure that you get your hugs in!
Why We Love Hug Holiday
A. They bring us closer
The literal part is obvious (you can't be far away if you're locked in a hug!), but as we noted in the Hug Holiday description, hugging releases oxytocin into our bodies, which help to strengthen social bonds. It also brings that warm fuzzy feeling that comes after a hug — and who doesn't want more of that?
B. They help fend off illnesses
A study published by Psychological Science found that lots of hugging lead to "less severe illness symptoms." In everyday terms, that means that folks with plenty of hugs in their lives get sick, they get less sick than people without hugs.
C. They're free
It's not often you find something that fends off illnesses and brings us closer to the people we love — but when it's free?! Get your hug on, people!