Much of our society is depressed or anxious and hugs may be the answer. How can you get the eight hugs you need every day? Start with the people you know and love. Spread your arms as you approach people and you’ll be surprised how easily they go in for the hug. If you live alone, talk to people about the benefits of hugging and express any concerns about the difficulties of meeting your hug quota. Sign up for the 300 Million Hug challenge at 300millionhugs.org and pledge to give 1,000 hugs in 2017. Tell people you are participating in the challenge and use it as an excuse to hug everyone you meet. When it comes to your health, hugging the same person eight times will work.
Studies show that hugging for twenty seconds or more lowers blood pressure and increases oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is required for the production of your happiness hormones, serotonin and dopamine. According to the FDA, 350 million people suffer from depression and it is the leading cause of disability in the USA. Hugging may not be the cure for depression, but it might work as a preventative. It’s not worth it to skip something as simple and free as a hug when there are so many benefits.
Hugging needs to become part of our societal routine. Together, we can make an impact. If you run a group or are a member, explain the benefits of hugging to the group and suggest that interested people hug when greeting hello and goodbye. I’ve begun doing this in my sorority alumnae chapter. At first I was the only one hugging other people. Three years later our gatherings look like a hug-fest. Even new people are happy to join in the hugging and I think we become closer more quickly as a result. Share the benefits of hugging and challenge others to join you in the challenge at www.300millionhugs.org. Hugging is beneficial for you and everyone you meet, so go for the hug!