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Why hugging keeps you healthier and happier

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Why hugging keeps you healthier and happier

Sit back and relax while we look at the benefits of a good hug.

By Emmeline Peaches

January 21st was International Hugging Day – a day when people are encouraged to hug willing participants in order to create a sense of love, community, and giving.

Founded by Kevin Zaborney back in 1986, International Hugging Day was an endeavour to promote the mental and physical wellbeing that can come from a good hug. Since this time, the day has grown in to a huge project and is now also used to raise money for various charitable causes.

For example, Tim Harris, a Special Olympian, raised over $19,000 for Firefighters Random Acts with his multiple hugs and hug-a-thons for charity. Just hearing that makes us want to hug someone right here and now!

But, instead, we’re going to take the time to tell you why the simple act of hugging is so powerful, not just in an erotic context (though we are partial to hugging in our content), but in everyday life to.

So sit back and relax while we look at the benefits of a good hug.


They Can Halt an Existential Crisis

One study from Sander Koole, VU University Amsterdam, looked in to the benefits of physical contact for people with low self-esteem and found that those who were given a hug (or were able to give one) felt better about their place in the world and their own identity.

This was the case even when inanimate objects were involved, such as a cuddly teddy bear, though a cardboard box really didn’t cut it (apparently).

Score to people who invest in the much-loved dakimakura (tall, huggable pillows with anime characters printed on to them).


They Can Help Promote Good Heart Health

If you’re interested in keeping your ticker in good condition then you might just want to give the people you love a few more hugs.

When looking in to the benefit of partner contact, one study found that those who hold each other’s hands and hug each other before stressful activity tend to exhibit a lower heart rate. Researching further, the study concluded that having an affectionate hug-based relationship with your partner can help keep stress down, increase your sense of support, and improve cardiovascular health.

Those are some pretty strong counter-arguments for anyone who gets called ‘clingy’ from time-to-time.


It Is a Powerful Sex Education Tool

The founders of International Hugging Day aren’t just big on charitable efforts and familial/friend-based support. They’re also huge advocates for consent.

If you go to the official International Hugging Day page there is a very clear disclaimer included:

“Reasonable care should be taken with those who are either uncomfortable with public affection or their reaction to a hug is unknown.  In those situations, it is advised to ask first before hugging.”

This focus on consent doesn’t just speak to the overall integrity and respect of the International Hugging Day team, but also of just how powerful hugging can be as a teaching tool regarding sex and consent.

The simple notion of ‘Ask first before hugging someone and, if they say no, respect their choice’ is incredibly important, and applicable to all age groups. This makes hugging a strong, relatable, and age-appropriate tool for teaching the fundamental elements of sex and respect.

True, consent can also be taught with tea, but hugging is good too.


It Creates Some Pretty Feel-Good News Stories

Today the news might seem like it’s filled with nothing but doom and gloom, but stories involving hugs tend to end well and leave use feeling better about ourselves and the state of humanity.

Tim Harris offers one example of how hugging can provide some much needed hope and positivity in the world, but there are more.

Just look at the story of Kala and Keira – two dogs on death row who were saved at the last moment after a photo of them hugging went viral. Or, more recently, these quadruplets who went viral after they just couldn’t stop hugging each other.

Let’s face it – hugging is kind of contagious – and stories about hugs rock.

Which brings us neatly to our last benefit…


It Connects People!

If there’s anything that can be taken from this article it’s that hugs have the capacity to bring people together, improve their health, and create strong social bonds, even between strangers (or other species, as our ex-death row pups can attest to).

And, here’s the best part – anyone can give a hug!

If you want to get involved in a hug-a-thon then don’t let anything hold you back: Make a ‘Free Hugs’ sign, add a charitable cause to it (should you wish) and go out there ready to spread the love. You never know who you might meet or what you might learn, but you’re at least guaranteed a personal health boost.

Just don’t tell them that an adult filming site sent you to the street to get free hugs. We’re all about promoting ourselves, but that might lead to the wrong impression.



Emmeline Peaches 



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