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Why You Should Celebrate Hug a Friend Day

Today is Hug a Friend Day

Today is Hug a Friend Day! We should all participate because touch is so important.  

We live in a relatively hands-off culture. Touch has been taken out of our schools and workplaces, but it shouldn’t be taken out of our lives entirely. Reconnect with people in a physical way today, because it’s Hug a Friend Day!

Not sure you want to participate? Here are three reasons why touch is so important that it might change your mind.

  1. Scientists tell us that we need to exercise all of our physical senses to encourage proper emotional and intellectual development. With touch, we get to explore one of the least acknowledged of the five senses.
  2. Touch can help make us healthier. It’s been shown to reduce anxiety and boost our mood! Studies have even shown that people who are regularly touched have a lower blood pressure.
  3. If you want to feel closer to your loved ones, use touch. It has powerful bonding properties.

In general, the emotional impact of interpersonal touch is ingrained in our biology. Indeed, there is some direct evidence that, in mammalian species, touch triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone that decreases stress-related responses. Researchers first tested this idea by stroking rats’ abdomens for 30-45 seconds. They found that this type of soft touch raised rats’ oxytocin levels.

Interpersonal touch can also induce oxytocin release among humans. For instance, in one experiment, couples who engaged in a warm touch exercise, during which they touched each other’s neck, shoulders, and hands, had more oxytocin in their saliva than couples who did not engage in this exercise.  Similarly, women who report frequent partner hugs display higher levels of oxytocin in their blood than women who report few partner hugs.  The oxytocin-enhancing effects of touch may reduce the discomfort that people experience from everyday stressors, such as family turmoil or conflict at work.

Let’s give those we care about a hug, it’s good for all of us!

The Maria Sanchez Show will be celebrating Hug a Friend Day with you! Don’t forget to check out our latest program: Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PDT/7:00 p.m. EDT.

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