January 21 is National Hug Day, a day created by the Rev. Kevin Zaborney in 1986 as a means to spread more love and emotion. It sounds like a happy concept. Who doesn’t want free hugs, right? While many people today do not like to be touched by others, especially in public, there are benefits to hugging for those that are willing to participate.
A note about National Day of Hugging: It is not affiliated with the Global Free Hugs Movement, which was originally started by a girl in England to connect with people if only for a moment to bring overall happiness and good spirits. The National Day of Hugging, this Monday, was started by Rev. Zaborney in Michigan and is recognized as a postal copyright.
Rev. Zaborney wanted to promote well-being and happiness, and so there is no reason to force a hug upon someone who does not want it. Always ask before hugging. The National Day of Hugging website states that: “Reasonable care should be taken with those who are uncomfortable with public affection or their reaction to a hug is unknown. In those situations, it is advised to ask before hugging.”
The problems with public hugging probably stem from the fact that many people want to be left alone in public. In this way, some people prefer to keep to themselves rather than excitedly reach out for a hug from someone they don’t know. Everyone has their own set of personal problems. Out of courtesy, there is no reason to share one’s personal problems with a complete stranger — or, for that matter, embrace someone in a hug. This discomfort may be due to the introverted persona being forced into the world of the extroverted persona. (This concept is explained in much more detail in Susan Cain’s book Quiet.) We are all alone in the world, but we don’t have to be.
Of course, not everyone has to take part, but everyone should at least try because there is plenty of research pointing towards a healthy mind and spirit simply by being able to engage in the act of hugging another.
People today want to feel loved, yet throw away any chance at feeling any emotional attachment to another. A TIME article noted that there are many postives to hugging. Physical contact is seen to be a source of good cheer and lowering stress levels. No, a hug is not going to solve all your problems. It may not erase any doubt from one’s mind. Yet, just for a moment, one can be happy and relieve themselves of some stress or tension with a hug.
Those who participate will spread the love to others they touch. But no one should feel as though hugging and connecting with others must only be reserved for one day. Engage in happy thoughts and hugs all year round for the best health and happiness.