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What day is National Hugging Day celebrated? January 21.

What is National Hugging Day? National Hugging Day celebrates the hug. Actually, there are 10 great health benefits of hugging according to the founder of this day:  

  • Hugs make us feel “happy”! When we hug another person, our bodies release oxytocin, a hormone associated with “happiness,” according to scientific studies.
  • Hugs alleviate stress! Just as a good hug increases our oxytocin levels, it decreases our cortisol or “stress” levels.
  • Babies need hugs as much as water and food! According to researchers at Harvard University, hugs help promote normal levels of cortisol necessary for child development.
  • Hugs make us better students! Students who receive a supportive touch from a teacher are twice as likely to volunteer in class.
  • Hugs improve our game! Scientists at University of California, Berkley discovered that the more affectionate members of a team are with each other, the more likely they are to win.
  • A hug a day keeps the doctor away! A hug stimulates the thymus gland, which in turn regulates the production of white blood cells that keep us healthy and disease-free.
  • A hug stops the bug! Researchers at Carnegie Mellon proved that individuals who were sick and received hugs had less severe symptoms and were able to get better quicker.
  • A hugging heart is a healthy heart! Research from University of North Carolina showed that a good hug helps ease blood flow and lower cortisol levels, which in turn help lower our heart rates.
  • A hugging couple is a happy couple! Couples that experience their partners’ love through physical affection share higher oxytocin levels.
  • Hugs let someone know you care without having to say a word! According to Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley, we can identify love from simple human touch – imagine how much love a big hug can communicate!

Who created this day? In 1986, Kevin Zaborney of Caro, Michigan, created this huggable celebration. He has his own website.

How to celebrate: The best way to celebrate the day is to give a friendly hug to someone special. Be sure to ask first, just so that it is not misunderstood. Side-hugs are also an acceptable way to show appreciation.

What is the hashtag? The hashtag for National Hugging Day is #NationalHugDay.

What other national days are there for hugging or encouragement? Several other national days have sprung up to celebrate hugging or encouragement, including:

  • National Hug a Newsperson Day April 4
  • National Hug a Plumber Day April 25
  • National Hug Your Boss Day August 23, 2018 (Changes annually)
  • National Hug a G.I. Day March 4

There are many other national days relating to hugging and encouragement. In fact, National Day Archives has a separate category just for Kindness and Encouragement