Hugs are one of those things that most of us take for granted.You probably have received most of your hugs from an Aunt or an Uncle, They always seem to do that when they are visiting. I remember one of my Aunt’s use to love to hug all of us. It was okay except she wore a whole lot of perfume. And it was not the expensive stuff either. By the the time she let me go all I could smell in my clothing was her scent. I never really gave any thought to hugs aside from not wanting many.

That all changed the day my mother had her heart attack and ended up in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. I remember standing there with my brother and thinking this was it. This was going to be the last time we would ever see her. At least that is what we thought. My brother and I share a hug so chocked full of emotion we were both in tears.All of our sadness, tension and frustration came out in that hug. I felt a lot better after that. I recall feeling not so alone in the world. Not that I wanted anyone else to feel as desolate as I did, but having a connection helped a lot.

As it turns out, the medical community has identified three areas where hugging helps your health. It decreases your output of cortisol, a hormone that is released when we are under a ,lot of stress. Hugging has also proven to be effective in reducing blood pressure and heart rate. And finally, it also helps boost the immune system. It seems that people who get a lot of support have a reduced rate of illness in stressful conditions.

Don’t wait for National Hug Day on January 20th to begin reaping some of these rewards for yourself. Go give a hug whenever and wherever you can. Who knows you might just save a life in the process! Your own!