Grade-school aged girl hugs her father feeling love and connectionMaintaining a close, warm, supportive family environment is an important priority. Whether you’re holding your baby close, comforting your toddler, welcoming older kids home with a big hug, or greeting your partner with a loving embrace, these interactions help solidify the feelings of family and love that bond your household and make it a happy place to be.
These interactions come so easily to us that we don’t even think about them, and the reason why may be twofold. Of course, we love our families and want to express our love whenever possible, but we’re also receiving a legitimate psychological and physiological health boost when we embrace the ones we love on a regular basis.
National Hugging Day is celebrated tomorrow (January 21), and though this year’s celebrations must be kept close to home in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the event offers a wonderful reason to take a look at how hugs both bring us closer to the ones we love and help us to stay healthy and well.

Infographic on the science of hugs

Here are a few of the ways hugs help us to stay healthy and well:

  • They can lower our blood pressure: High blood pressure is linked with heart disease, stroke, and other dangerous health conditions. The release of oxytocin triggered by regular hugs with your partner can help bring down blood pressure.
  • They reduce inflammation and help prevent dangerous diseases: Studies have shown that regular hugs decrease the presence of two pro-inflammatory cytokines in the blood, including tumor necrosis factor-alpha, which is linked with a number of serious health problems.
  • They increase our “good” bacteria: Though we generally think of bacteria as something to avoid, the “good” bacteria we receive through contact with others is what helps us build healthy immune and digestive systems.

National Hugging Day was first founded in 1986 by Kevin Zaborney and is now celebrated around the globe with annual events, including a yearly ranking of the Most Huggable People. To learn more about the holiday, click here.

Heidi Keefer
Written by Heidi Keefer

Heidi Keefer is a Content Creator for Lifetime Adoption and has 15 years of experience in the field of adoption. An author of thousands of blog posts over the years, Heidi enjoys finding new ways to educate and captivate Lifetime’s ever-growing list of subscribers.

Heidi has a keen eye for misplaced apostrophes, comma splices, and well-turned sentences, which she has put to good use as a contributor to Lifetime’s award-winning blogs. She has written and published hundreds of adoption articles which explore the various facets of domestic infant adoption today.

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