We all love hugging.

Just ask any tree. They never complain. As it turns out, it’s actually quite an important part of being a human. Who knew?

So let’s get virtual and hug it out on the history of hugs.

Five things you need to know:

  1. Hugging most likely started as a way of sharing body warmth, but watch any tiny kid during the pandemic and you’ll know it’s hard-wired to our soul. Babies reach out from the cradle.
  2. The word "hug" is believed to come from the ancient Scandinavian word “hugga” meaning "hippy," — actually, it means “to comfort.”
  3. Hugging involves both hands, so it’s likely it was a way to prove friendship because you can’t stab someone with a sword while doing it. It’s ingrained in our culture. It’s deep. 
  4. Research shows that babies wither without hugs from their mothers and that holding and touching reduces anxiety, improves sleep and helps us empathize with others as we grow up.
  5. Hugging reduces blood pressure, cortisol (the stress hormone) and heart beats, while also increasing the happy hormone oxytocin, which helps us to bond with others — which might explain why some people give out free hugs. Oxytocin also makes us more resistant to fatigue, infections, depression, pain and cravings, while increasing our patience with a frustrating world. 

So, when you’re vaccinated or you’re clear of COVID-19, make sure you hug properly and longer — more than 20 seconds to release the oxytocin. And now, with all this science behind it, I can see why a hug per day should be in everyone’s prescription.