Open up your heart … and your arms, this January 21. It’s National Hugging Day! As you might guess, this day is an annual event dedicated to the underrated art form of the hug. We love all types of hugs, from “butt-out” hugs to bear hugs. And so does Kevin Zaborney—he created the holiday in 1986. And hugging is contagious; the holiday has spread from Clio, Michigan to several other countries. This National Hugging Day, give out hugs freely and often. Family, friends, and strangers all deserve a warm hug!
National Hugging Day timeline
National Hugging Day is a hit in Germany
National Hugging Day is Born
According to one of the top Detroit PR Firms, National Hugging Day was first celebrated on January 21, 1986 in Clio, Michigan
National Hugging Day Activities
Hug a friend
We’re sure you have tons of friends, you popular person. And with tons of friends comes tons of hugs. Close your eyes and think about how much you love your friend when hugging him or her. Next, press as much as you feel like without squeezing too tight. Try out different hug variations with different friends and perfect your perfect hug. A hug is just like a handshake; everyone knows how to do it, but it takes a true master to do it right.
Hug a stranger
In this age of social disconnection and lack of human contact, most people are unsure how to go about hugging random people. However, hugging a stranger is more therapeutic than you think; the effects of giving free hugs to strangers are phenomenal. One method we suggest is holding a “free hugs” sign. That way, you know that the stranger consents to the hug you’re about to give them. It’s a lot less awkward than trying to hug a random stranger on the subway!
Getting a hug is a great feeling. It can instantly lift your mood, making you feel safe and appreciated. Sometimes, however, there isn’t anybody around to give you that hug you need. When you need it the most, wrap your hands around yourself and hug yourself tightly. You might think that’s weird, but hear us out. Friends are great, but you’re the star of your own life. And you should love yourself like a star! That means making lots of time for self-care and self-love. So self-hug away.
Why We Love National Hugging Day
Hugging builds trust
The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication. Hugs instantly help increase oxytocin levels, which heal and combat feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger. We can all take a lesson from this: next time, when you feel like fighting with your significant other, stop … and give your significant other a hug instead. It will give you time to calm down and remind you two of your close connection.
Hugging is healthy
Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum creates an emotional charge that activates the solar plexus chakra. This in turn stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells. Hugs also affect the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system post-hug. What does this all mean in English? It just means that hugs are good for you! They’re good for your emotional state, but they’re also good for your physical body. One might even say that hugs are the best medicine! (That being said, if you get sick, please go to a doctor. We’re not joking.)
Hugs may alleviate our fears
Scientists found that hugging — even if it was just an inanimate object like a teddy bear — helps soothe individuals’ existential fears. Interpersonal touch is such a powerful mechanism that even objects that can simulate touch by another person help instill a sense of existential significance. If you think about it, you’ll understand why: it doesn’t matter if we’re a tiny speck in the universe as long as you’re loved.