Today, 21 January, is National Hugging Day.
January can be a tough month to endure.
The nights are still long, the weather is awful and many of us are miserable, as we struggle to comprehend how much money we spent over the festive period.
To make matters worse there are depressing days like ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Divorce Day’ to reinforce just how rubbish January can be.
Yet, today there is a reason to be joyful and spread the love- it’s National Hugging Day.
WHAT IS IT?
According to the National Hugging Day official website, the event is an “ internationally recognized observation that embraces hugging”.
The purpose of this national day is to encourage people to openly express themselves by giving others a cuddle.
WHO CAME UP WITH IT?
Created by American Kevin Zaborney, the day was first celebrated in 1986 and is now celebrating its 30th year in existence.
Rev, Zaborney - a big believer in the power of hugging - believes that embracing others helps to reduce blood pressure and increase feelings of wellbeing.
The preacher has also believes Jesus Christ would have been a hugger, telling the Christian Post in an interview, “It’s not at all unreasonable to believe Jesus hugged, is it?”
The savvy Reverend has even successfully had the day recognised by the US copyright office and can now be booked as a speaker.
WHY SHOULD I CARE?
Some would argue that it there is a ‘national day’ for everything nowadays (today is also National Squirrel Appreciation Day) and they might have a point, but hugging does come with health benefits.
It reduces stress and the risk for depression and four hugs a day is the recommended dosage to stay emotionally healthy.
Research from the University of North Carolina even found just a 20 second hug can lower the risk for heart disease and infections.
So find someone who looks like they need a cuddle and get hugging, just remember to ask their permission before you bring them in for a big bear hug.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
If you can’t get enough cuddles at your home or workplace, don’t worry you have options.
Across the UK there are now ‘Cuddle Clubs’ where you can go, meet total strangers and have a giant group hug.