National Hugging Day: 7 Step Plan To Get More Hugs

"Hugs are what I miss the most."

A deep sigh followed by a painful silence. Not knowing the frail little lady in front of me, I was not sure what to say. Her skin at 85 was nearly transluscent and it looked like a hug might break a bone.

"How long has it been?" I asked.

"Thirty eight years next week, two days before our anniversary."

A hug would be about perfect right now, wouldn't it? So what's the problem? As Chris Thompson, former Saginaw News (MI) columnist states on, "part of the problem huggers face is this guarded age where hugs are easily misinterpreted and subject to a leering look or a lawsuit". Between that and all the fear over viruses and super bugs, hugs are taking a beating.

National Hugging Day

According to Wikipedia, Kevin Zaborney, a pastor in Michigan is credited for creating the National Hugging Day in 1986. Zaborney calculated that January 21 was exactly midway between Christmas and Easter and was therefore when a hug would be most appreciated.

He wanted Americans to get more comfortable with being publically supportive and affectionate of one another and hoped a National Day of Hugging would change that. While the holiday is not officially noticed by the government, it is picking up more momentum every year.

National Hugging Day has it's own website with more great news about the health benefits of hugging as well as Celebrity Hugging Allstars.

As Thompson says, "NATIONAL HUGGING DAY is a different form of sharing. We've got more than our quota of whiners and far too few huggers these days. Consider hugging as non-sexual, like a handshake or a high-five. Such personal contact makes you feel good. That's what NATIONAL HUGGING DAY is all about."

So what's a hugger to do with all of the health concerns, safety concerns and arms not getting near enough bear hugs?

Here is a 7 step action plan to celebrate this National Hugging Day

National Hugging Day Action Plan

1. Calibrating Your Hug Meter: Inside every person you see, behind every face that comes into your world is someone who needs a hug. You might not be the one to deliver it and that is fine. Don't get ahead of me. Your challenge is to acknowledge with a mindful thought the following: "This person, just like me, needs a hug every now and then."

2. Honor The Non Huggers: It's tough on a hugger these days, I'll tell you! With all the fear of viruses and super bugs, some don't consider it extreme to hand you a sanitizer in a foil envelope before you shake hands. But. There is good news. There are a lot of huggers out there and they need to find each other. When you repeat the above statement for everyone you see, huggers and non huggers alike, you project your love of hugging into the environment around you.

3. Ask. Once you have spent an hour or so affirming the universal value of hugging into the air around you, then watch for people who look like huggers. You can tell if you tune in. Of course, if you stop at your area trophy or office supply store you can have a Celebrate National Hug Day button made for yourself. It is key to ask. I say, "Are you a hugger?" and then honor their answer. Most times I ask the people who would actually love a hug and the timing is exquisite.

4. Look for unsuspecting benefactors of your hugging mission. I have offered hugs to waitresses, baristas, coat check girls, computer repairmen and even the UPS guy. Once at the funeral of a young man I did not know, I was there supporting my friend whose son had caused the accident that killed the young victim. I will never forget the power of a hug. Teen boy after teen boy filed up to me for hugs. One after another. No words.

5. Accept that everyone needs a hug from time to time. If the people in your life are not stepping up to the plate and giving you your quota for the optimal number of hugs a day, yes there are people collecting research like that out there and according to, 8 hugs day are the minimum requirement to feel loved and accepted.

6. Seek fellow huggers. Don't stay annoyed at various family members and or friends who are not as huggy as you are or as huggy as you wish they were.  As much as you seek hugs, for some like finger nails down a chalk board or a persistently barking dog, the close proximity of a hug is off putting. Set your Hug Meter.

As people come in and out of your daily life silently remind yourself: "Just like me, this person needs a hug now and then." The more you do this, the more people you will find to hug.

7. Be inspired. Here is a now famous video about hugs When you check it out on Youtube, look at how many people have viewed, been inspired and hugged a few more people because of it and make up your mind to celebrate National Hug Day everywhere you go!  Best Hugging Video Ever

Curious about how your style of love and affection is being interpreted by the people you meet? and find out.