Hug Day with Duggee!

Of course this is a Health post!! And a cute one… You HAVE to love Duggee!!

Why a health post about Hugs in the Hug day?

Simple: You only hug who you Like/Love, someone or something that has a meaning to you… And when you hug is to:

  • Feel the need to have some affection aka need a hug
  • Feel the need to Give the affection aka share some love
  • Feel low on something or someone and miss it aka a pic/shirt/anything from that person that you miss
  • Hug your friend because she/he is there for you

Basically: A hug makes you share/receive love. hugging is sharing a bit of the heartbeat with someone or something. heart is there – if you hug without a heart… then think twice on being a good person.

Now the scientific part of Hugging and why Brits are not having their healthier dosage of hugs:

  • Hugs release oxytocin – a chemical which can make us happy – yet a third of us receive no hugs at all
  • 2m Brits believe hugging relieves stress and helps them relax and want 6 a day… but have to settle for 2
  • Family hugs are the tops – with partners, sons/daughters and mum making the top 5 favourite huggers
  • Dogs awarded title of ‘most huggable’ followed by cat, rabbits, horses and… elephants!
  • The ‘Duggee Hug’ is an intrinsic element of every episode of BAFTA Award-winning preschool show, Hey Duggee
  • Andy Cope, Doctor of Happiness and Hugging Expert, reveals the science behind hugging and why we need to do more
  • Famous Embraces: poll also reveals… the top ten celebs we’d most like to hug, the famous five we think are most in need of a hug right now, plus the top ten movie hugs of all time

In pursuit of happiness, people traverse the globe, explore the world’s wonders, splash out millions on material goods, yet often still carry that empty feeling. If only the happiness chemical, oxytocin, could be homegrown – well it can!

According to research, a hug lasting seven seconds or longer can work the magic of releasing the happiness hormone, perking us up from gloomy blues. That’s great news for Brits – to mark National Hugging Day (21 January – TODAY!), and inspired by the huge positive response to the ‘Duggee Hug’ featured in the BAFTA award-winning CBeebies’ show Hey Duggee, BBC Worldwide commissioned research* which reveals that the average hug lasts 7.7 seconds. However, Brits are in desperate need of more hugs.

The poll shows that we would like an average of nearly six hugs a day, with those in the Midlands being the most huggable – demanding a whopping 12 hugs a day! Unfortunately we fall short, with Brits only getting an average of two hugs a day, and 33% (17.2m) not receiving any hugs at all.


Doctor of Happiness and Hugging Expert, Andy Cope, has plenty to say about the humble hug, “Hugging stimulates the production of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that acts on the brain’s emotional centre. It promotes feelings of contentment and reduces anxiety and stress as well as promoting feelings of devotion, trust and bonding. But there’s more. A mum’s touch even seems to mitigate pain – remember when you were a child and you fell down and grazed your knee? A loving hug made it all go away.

“There’s research that indicates hugging releases hormones that are immunoregulatory and have a deep impact on the health of our immune systems. Hugging also releases dopamine, another wonderful chemical that can help stave off depression and, it’s believed, even Parkinson’s Disease. Dopamine changes how our bodies handle stress, both physical and social.”

CBeebies’ Hey Duggee certainly knows the benefits of hugs. A pre-school series that quite literally encourages young children to embrace the embrace, each episode ends with the animal characters gathering together for a #DuggeeHug – the perfect end to a day of activities at The Squirrel Club, all compassionately overseen by our loveable canine hero, Duggee.

The Levels of Hugging (just for fun facts…I mean facts!)

Is there a best way to hug? There are a lot of things to factor in. For example – warmer climates tend to produce cultures that are more liberal about physical touch than colder regions. That explains why the Spanish and Italians seem more affectionate and the Brits are a little more reserved – I do love to hug… Hey i’m a latina mama!

The truth is, there’s no “best practice” yet we know that matching the right hug to the right person at the right time can be tricky. 

There are 9 levels of hugging. This could assist in pairing the right hug with the right person at the right time.

Level Hug Name Description
1 Bro-hug Technically, not quite a hug. Usually man-on-man when a proper embrace doesn’t seem right. Think Murray v Djokovic. Often done with the younger generation, it’s a right shoulder to right shoulder bash, accompanied by a clasp of hands (but definitely not either a proper hug or a handshake). Quite often seen in sport.


2 No frills The no frills is your average hug. It lasts 2.1 seconds. Standard fayre. Better than nothing. Good for friends, family, pets… in fact almost any situation.


3 Selfie-hug A thoroughly modern staged-managed hug that often captures a fake moment of happiness. Squeezed together, arms around each other, silly grins are mandatory. Often has to be taken several times for everyone to be posing with their correct selfie face.


4 7-second hug No frills, but longer. A proper lingering embrace with someone you adore. It takes 7 seconds for love to properly transfer so experiment, and see if you can hang on for the full 7 seconds. Don’t count out loud, it ruins the effect.


5 Run-up hug A euphoric outburst of affection. Often seen at airports when long lost relatives come through the arrivals door (long haul flights only. It never happens after a RyanAir flight). Quite often ends in 7 seconds and tears of joy. Not one to do with your boss.


6 Snuggle Technically a snuggle isn’t quite a hug, but it has the same effect. A snuggle is reserved for someone for whom you feel huge affection and can vary from cuddling close to your pre-schooler or your partner, and yes, even teenagers secretly adore them. Best done with your children or grandchildren on the sofa. Snuggles are special and must absolutely be reserved for those you love. With young children, best done while reading a bedtime story. With your partner, best done while binge-watching something on TV.


7 20-second hug Advanced level, for experts only. The full 20 seconds is a thing of wonder. It’s a full bear hug that lasts and lasts…. and lasts. Sometimes the hug can rock, as the huggers become one and their weight transfers from left to right legs. The full release of oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins means that those in the vicinity will also feel the love. For a non-hugger to jump straight in at this level is downright dangerous. Remember, the 20-second huggers are experts, professionals in their field. Both parties have to be professional 20 second huggers for this to work, otherwise one of you gets queasy.


8 The pick-up-and-swing hug Does what it says on the tin. Delivered and received with genuine glee. A combination of the run-up and 7-second hugs, the length of this one depends on the strength of the picker-upper and the weight of the one being swung. It’s a beautiful thing to see, if done properly. Once again, the full release of chemicals creates a genuine feel-good factor for anyone watching. Another airport classic. Quite often grandparents do the pick-up-and-swing with their grandkids. Probably best to avoid in the office.


9 Group hug (aka ‘Duggee Hug’) For the ultimate feel-good factor, why not indulge in the Duggee Hug, the warm embrace of family, friends or work colleagues. A true celebration of love, warmth, friendship, family or success, perfect for any occasion. Even for beginners, it’s perfectly okay to jump straight in at level 9. The group setting takes away the pressure so even non-huggers will enjoy a Duggee hug.


Just so you know about Andy Cope:

Andy Cope is a qualified teacher, author, happiness expert and learning junkie. Having spent the last 10 years studying positive psychology, happiness & flourishing this is now culminating in a Loughborough University PhD thesis. Andy appreciates that his ‘Doctor of Happiness’ label is terribly cheesy but it affords him an important media platform. In times of rising depression and an epidemic of ‘busyness’, he believes there has never been a more appropriate time to raise the happiness agenda.

Start practicing people!! *BIG HUGS*

In collaboration with Cbeebies “Hey Duggee!”


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