I don’t know about you, but I think the planet could use a little more love.
It is not a surprise that we have become a divided and cynical world, separated by our differences, our fears, and our ignorance. Sometimes it feels like we are almost looking for excuses not to come together. It’s no wonder that loneliness, depression, and unhappiness have become like epidemics. We are alone.
Alone in a world with over 7 billion people.
Fortunately, we don’t have to be alone. We can do something about it. We can start by looking up from our cellphones once in a while, and seeing one another for who we are, instead of who we are not. We can look for the good in one another—seeing those around us as the same spark of divinity from which we come.
And, most importantly, we can reach out and open our arms to the world—not just to those who look and act like us, but to everyone. And I can’t think of a better way to start than with the small but powerful embrace of the heart.
Also known as a hug.
The hug is magical—a ripple that sends waves of energy and love to not only the recipient, but to the friends and family of the recipient, and then back to our selves.
To give love to one is to give love to all.
The hug is also scientific. The fact is, science has been looking into the positive effects of hugging for a long time, and numerous studies have reached the same conclusion—hugging is a crucial part of human development. And it’s not just babies that need to be held and hugged. We all do. The need for touch never ends.
The facts are simple: The physical pressure of a hug stimulates touch receptors, tiny nerves embedded in our skin all over our body. A biological chain reaction is triggered when these touch receptors are activated, sending signals from the skin to the brain’s reward center. As these signals are interpreted, the brain releases oxytocin, producing a feel-good flow of chemicals. The process happens almost instantly, thus the immediate boost in happiness and feeling of connection. It’s the power of touch.
I would argue that hugging is also a part of our spiritual development, teaching us to be vulnerable, to trust, and love. It’s a way to give back, become compassionate and kind. The simple action of embracing creates positive energy for both the giver and recipient. It bears repeating—what is good for one is good for all.
Of course, the list of positive effects of hugging is a long one. Hugging is not only a way to show your support, or friendship, or love, but it can make you happier, reduce your fears, ease your pain, raise your self-esteem, help you communicate with others, and even lower your blood pressure. As I said, it’s magic.
Best of all, hugging will connect you with the world around you—and bring the world closer together. One hug at a time.
And there’s no better day to get started than today.
January 21st just so happens to be National Hugging Day, which started 34 years ago today and has now spread to many countries around the world. I hope that in 34 more years it will be a worldwide event. Eventually, I hope there will come a day when we will no longer need to have a day to remind us what we already know—that we need to come together and hold each other as close as we can.
Let’s all do our part to bring the world a little closer. Let’s reach out and find someone who could use the warm and loving hug we have to offer. And while you’re at it, you might start by hugging yourself!
Let’s hug our way “every day” to a better and more peaceful world.