Happy National Hugging Day! Princess Diana once said “Hugs can do great amounts of good, especially for children.” I’ll take that a step further. In the world today, I think we could all benefit from hugs more than ever. The world needs a group hug!
The simple act of hugging or embracing is one one of those rare things that transcend words. It has a type of language on its own – body language, conveying hundreds of words and emotions. It’s also really good for us. Hugging actually causes the body to release oxytocin which stimulate feel good hormones like serotonin and dopamine that relieves anxiety and lowers stress.
It’s how we often greet one another to let a person know we are happy to see them or sad to see them leave. Airports are the perfect example. The first thing people do at an arrival gate is look for a familiar face and immediately hug them. And the last thing people do at departing gates is cling as tightly as possible to the very last minute with their loved ones.
We hug to show our happiness and support for each other. When your child graduates or your best friend gets that promotion, a hug screams “I’m so happy for you!” Sometimes it validates our achievements or builds our self esteem. And that is a truly awesome thing.
But hugs also help us express the feelings we just don’t have words for. Grieving, sadness, and disappointment are ultimately inescapable for all of us. And, if you’re like me, they are the most difficult times to say the right words that are comforting or encouraging. But a hug… well it doesn’t need the right words. In fact, it doesn’t need words at all to say “I’m so sorry for your loss or your disappointment.” A hug says “I love you. I am here for you. And you matter.”
I know there are plenty of people who just don’t hug. And there are probably some very valid reasons why it’s difficult for them. I just hope we all have at least one person in our life to hug the stuffing out of in good times and bad times. So today in honor of National Hugging Day, pass a hug on to someone who needs one. Our world will be a better place, even it’s just for one day!