January 21, while not a National Holiday, has been designated National Hugging Day.

Why should you care, you might ask. Why…Because it’s good for you! 

The MindBodyGreen website recently listed the many benefits of contact with another person via hugs. The list of benefits is based on research conducted by the American Psychosomatic Society, the UNC School of Medicine, The Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA and others who have taken a serious look at the effect of physical contact on individuals’ well-being.

Some interesting consequences of this type of caring contact include:

  • The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety.
  • Hugs instantly boost oxytocin levels and heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
  • Hugs of 20 seconds or more lifts serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
  • Hugging strengthens the immune system.
  • Hugging boosts self esteem.
  • Hugging relaxes muscles.
  • Hugs balance out the nervous system.
  • Hugs educate us on how love flows both ways.
  • The energy exchange between the people hugging encourages empathy and understanding.

The last consequence could well be the most important reason for retired couples to hug. After talking with numerous retired couples, I have seen a tendency to run short of empathy and understanding when our partners repeatedly do something we find annoying.

Let’s face it; it’s not uncommon to feel exasperated if your mate continually asks “Where are you going” “When will you be back” or “What are you dong that for” …or other types of questions that many a wife with a retired husband has bemoaned. However, when you spend that energy hugging instead of directing it toward frustration, you may come to consider some of the reasons behind the questions. This new understanding can lead to  calm and honest discussions of both of your feelings. Besides…Hugging is fun, so go ahead and enjoy it.

Family therapists often say, “We need to give and receive four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance and twelve hugs a day for growth. You decide which you want.

Help spread the word about the importance of hugging.  Share this blog on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media you like. You could help make the world a little bit happier