Hugs Here (London), There (Krakow, Berlin, Edinburgh) and Everywhere (Amsterdam & Tallinn)

Guerrilla Hugs has been going for over 3 years now and we have visited many places around the world recruiting people to come and hug as part of our team. There are Guerrilla Hugs Boards in Polish, Russian, Dutch and English with satelite groups of huggers in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Edinburgh, St. Petersburg and Krakow. The positive impact on where we offer hugs is evident, people smile, connect, stop for a hug and/or a chat and some people want to get involved. If you want to get involved contact guerrillahugs@gmail.com and we will be in touch!

Let’s make London the best place to be this summer to connect with other people.

International Happiness Day 20th March 2013

I left my house and as I walked around the corner I instantly regretted not putting thermals on under my clothes – a bitterly cold March day saw the first International Happiness Day bring a little sunshine by way of random acts of kindness world-wide. Guerrilla Hugs was delighted to take part and warm the cockles of people’s hearts at Waterloo. Armed with a heap of Guerrilla Hugs boards I headed to the station to meet Emma (experienced hugger and kindness personified) to head down to Waterloo.

I’m never sure who will turn up and always hope that people will feel able to come and join in and I was not disappointed! New Guerrilla Huggers joined, Jon Jon, Ewa, Adam and Richard. We met at a coffee shop, after the initial briefing walked towards the Southbank stopping just under the arches. It was FREEZING! Nonetheless it wasn’t long before people were heading in for hugs, chatting and smiling as they passed us by or gave us a hug.

I bumped into 2 fellow MAPP students who are just beginning their research and gave them a huge hug (I recall how much hard work the research is and am pleased to have finished mine). Soon Paul from Action for Happiness arrived with a ‘Happy Hero’ Medal for Guerrilla Hugs – what a lovely thing to happen! I was really touched and as much as I wanted to cling onto it – I immediately knew who I was going to pass it onto.

The hour of hugs soon came to an end and we all headed off to our next event, Adam was going to join in the positive messages flash mob at Liverpool Street!

That evening I passed the Happy Hero Medal onto Delwar Hossain for his kindness, humility and work that he does with East End youth.

I hope that we will get our and hug a lot more this year – if you want to come along or suggest a location please send me an email guerrillahugs @ gmail.com

Happy Hugging!

Guerrilla Hugs Where Have We Been?


Camouflage Crochet Cab! Hugs in Bath 12th May

Things have been busy in the Guerrilla Hugs world, as many of you know I am currently completing an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology with a particular interest in how everyday platonic touch can increase well being. So this year has been spent developing the research and recruiting participants who are happy to give their time to finding out whether free hugs contribute positively to well being? So this year we have hugged at Willesden Green Station in February when it was -4 degrees… we were due to hug at the Love Run in Finsbury Park too – but this was postponed due to the weather!

We celebrated our 1st Birthday on March the 18th by returning to Carnaby Street, it was a lovely day and the huggers and the huggees all raised the happiness levels up a notch or two. Lots of people take photos of us when we are hugging and we would love to have some of them posted on here – so if you have some please do send them to navigator@guerrillahugs.com if you have a story to go with them that would be beautiful!

Due to coursework deadlines in April we had a break but came back to hugs in Sheffield on the 6th May with some lovely people who are up for creating a group of Guerrilla Huggers in South Yorkshire!

Last weekend I went to Bath and 3 of us offered free hugs in the city centre, it was a beautiful sunny day and we gave lots of free hugs! My visit to Bath coincided with an artist called Olek creating an installation of crochet wrapping of trees it was great to see how people reacted to this too! The taxi driver Raymundo has been commissioned to drive her all over the country creating installations!

Tomorrow we will be hugging on the Southbank – so come and see us! And Sunday 20th we will be popping up somewhere else in London around lunchtime – we might be in your area so keep a look out! If you want to join us get n touch!

Southbank 2011

Hugging Japan

In 2001 I flew to Japan for a 3 day orientation program for about 150 teenagers aged 16 to 18, who were about to study for a high school year abroad in either Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada or the UK. My role was to help prepare them for differences and especially the initial culture shock of arriving in a foreign land away from their family, friends and familiar life for a whole year. During this orientation, the Japanese program director described what to expect on arrival at the airport. She explained that the students should collect their luggage and walk through the gates, and then they would probably see a family or group of people holding a sign with their name on it.

“Then they will do something that maybe no one has ever done before” she smiled. “They will hold out their arms like this. And they will come towards you”. The students all giggled, embarrassed, and looked around at their friends. Yuko continued by coming towards me with her arms outstretched, as she explained that what she was doing was a common way to welcome someone in these cultures and it is called a hug. Yuko and I had a big hug and then turned to the students.

She asked the students to ‘practice’ and hug the person next to them, and I quickly jumped up on a chair to take this photo. To this day it is one of my favourite photos ever – to see the sheer delight on the faces of these students is magical. Afterwards Yuko asked if anyone had any questions and one girl put up her hand and said “Can I please hug someone who knows how to hug?” I agreed instantly and she came running up towards me and I swung her around in a big bear hug to the sound of a room full of cheers and laughter.

Hugging is brilliant. Well done Guerrilla Hugs for bringing a nice big warm friendly bit of human touch into our lives!

Therese

Guerrilla Hugs Mission Statement

Guerrilla Hugs aims to reduce stigma of platonic touch in everyday life, to encourage social platonic touching and strengthen communities.

By carrying out research into platonic touch we aim to establish clear guidance on how much touch contributes to a flourishing life.

By 2013 we hope to have influenced policy on touch in education, health and social care, increasing availability of platonic touch to aid recovery from illness, alleviate stress, increase social bonds and recruit volunteers to carry out Guerrilla Hugs around the globe.

If you want to join us please register for updates and send an email!

Love & Peace

The Navigator

Guerrilla Hugs

Platonic Hugs

If you are feeling alone, unconnected and/or going through changes in your life reaching out and asking people you know for a hug might help. Our skin is the largest organ we have and possibly the most neglected and abused through sun/bed damage, poor diet, lack of touch we are depriving ourselves of the very thing that nutures us in our infancy.

In the US a study compared American pre-schoolers to French children of the same age, they found that American children touched less, argued more, showed more aggressive behaviours and fretted more than their French counterparts. The French children received more touch from parents and peers in play, showed more concern for others and less aggression. A similar study explored the same of adolescents with the same results. How do we change this? Firstly studies on primates have shown that touch and grooming behaviours go beyond what is necessary for everyday cleanliness. Primates who bond through grooming each other and platonic, non-threatening touch, show more protective behaviours to their peers. Monkeys who were deprived of touch throughout infancy were able to reach normal milestones when they were able to experience giving and receiving of touch with their peers, this suggests that even those young people who have been deprived of touch could, potentially achieve a better connection with their cerebral emotional pleasure zone thereby reducing aggressive disconnected behaviours.

The next best thing to being hugged is to take a hot bath, fill it with bubbles and soak, this stimulates the skin and relaxes you – so if there is no one to hug make bath time a regular thing!

Camden Free Hugs 9th August 2011

Follow us on Twitter @guerrillahugs

The last few days in London have been scary, the constant sound of sirens, the tension building as the day draws to a close, the daylight looting, the fires, lost homes, livelihoods and businesses. I have been glued to twitter, the news, the radio and the location of my son! After a pretty sleepless night I was determined to do something, help with the clean up, try to make a difference. I contacted the hugging team, many of who work in the public sector in the boroughs that have been affected by the looting and violence to see if we could go and hug, make connection, bring some sense of caring to the community in London. No joy – everyone has to work or live in different parts of town that have become slightly cut off. I couldn’t just sit at home, write up my research proposal and feel ok with that… so I grabbed the Guerrilla Hugs ‘Free Hugs’ boards and drove to Camden.

Free Hugs in Camden

Just outside the Sainsburys and Evans Cycles there were people wanting to help with the clean up but unable to due to the crime scene investigations. I approached some of the people and asked would come and offer free hugs to make people feel better – that was it – new Guerrilla Huggers were recruited and after hugging the police officer posted outside Sainsburys we headed off to the junction of the Stables and Chalk Farm Road.

Immediately people came for a hug, smiled, thanked us and made unanimous the view that we all need a hug today.

Watching the YouTube video of the injured boy being robbed had me in floods of tears this morning, how can anyone be so uncaring, opportunistic and callous? That is someone’s son, brother, cousin, grandson, friend, it could have been you! We all need to see that everyone is human, stop dehumanising by distancing your behaviour from the impact on everyone. Think this could be your family, you, would you want it to happen to you?

We want to make the world a better place!

 

Then there are the people who are out there trying to protect communities, helping to clean up the mess, to speak and connect with others at this time, the woman who kindly gave all the huggers a home made cupcake – THANK YOU!

NW1 Free Hugs

 

 

 

 

 

There are more good youth out, look out for each other, protect the people you live next door to, check on those who live a lone, who need to feel like there is someone to call upon. Lets strive for PEACE!

And lets us not forget the brooms! PEACE!

Feel the LOVE Clean Up!