A warm hug and some kind words can lead to a number of health benefits for both the giver and recipient.
Friday is National Hugging Day, and Monday is National Compliment Day.
According to Berkeley University’s “Greater Good Magazine,” touch has two systems. The first, “fast-touch,” allows us to detect contact. The second, “slow-touch” is made up of nerves that allow us to process the meaning of emotional touch.
Those nerves, called c-tactile afferents, are essentially “cuddle nerves” that are activated by skin-to-skin contact like a hug.
“When someone hugs us, the stimulation of c-tactile afferents in our skin sends signals, via the spinal cord, to the brain’s emotion processing networks,” the magazine noted.
The resulting neurochemical signals can slow a racing heart, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep or help fight off infections.
Compliments also have benefits that increase a feeling of well-being.
For recipients, the benefit is obvious: a praiseworthy situation has been noticed and acknowledged. Compliment-givers find benefit in taking notice of the good things going on around them, according to Psychology Today.
“Compliments amplify positivity; they not only deliver positive effects to others, those effects bounce back on us, ramping up the positive atmosphere we breathe,” they write.
But, they must be genuine and specific on the part of the giver, and acknowledged (never brushed off!) by the recipient.
“There is only one way to receive a compliment – graciously, with a smile,” the article notes. “Because of the positive atmosphere created by a compliment, if we allow ourselves to inhale it, it can be powerful enough to transform our feelings.”
Other days to celebrate this week include:
Jan. 20: National Cheese Lover’s Day, National Disc Jockey Day, International Day of Acceptance
Jan. 21: National Hugging Day, National Granola Bar Day, International Sweatpants Day
Jan. 22: Local Quilt Shop Day, National Hot Sauce Day, National Fruitcake Toss Day
Jan. 23: National Handwriting Day, National Pie Day, Snowplow Mailbox Hockey Day
Jan. 24: Beer Can Appreciation Day, National “Just Do It” Day, National Compliment Day
Jan. 25: National Irish Coffee Day, National Opposite Day, Plan for a Vacation Day
Jan. 26: National Green Juice Day, National Spouses Day, Library Selfie Day