Guerrilla Hugs is very happy to be a part of World Happiness Day – we will be offering free hugs in London on the afternoon of the 20th March.
Come and be a part of the hugging team – email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hugs for Free!
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 email@example.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!
That’s a Wrap!
It’s been more than a year since the idea of Guerrilla Hugs was born but not quite a year since we did our first free hugs – so on the 18th March 2012 we will be returning to Carnaby Street to celebrate our first birthday!
Chalk Farm Road
If you would like to join us please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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!
Martin Seligman the author of Flourish and one of the people who coined the term Positive Psychology gave a talk on the aspects of his book on the 6th July 2011 at the RSA. The room was packed and the event was podcast live. The RSA always put on great events, this one is close to my heart. I am familiar with Seligman’s work, his early research into learned helplessness led him to developing learned optimism, and evolving more of a balance within the psychology field more emphasis on flourishing rather than repairing or fixing problems.
Flourish – Can you flourish without touch?
Seligman manages to explore human flourishing without actually exploring human touch, this I find disappointing, how can people thrive or flourish without physical contact?
On the 2nd July in Newcastle Under Lyme some first time huggers got busy offering free hugs in the town centre. A new outpost of Guerrilla Huggers has now been formed. I travelled with a friend who has been an observer of our hugs before but had never offered free hugs. She was still unsure as to whether she would hug or not. When we arrived she decided to go for it, what happened had a significant impact on her mood and shifted her well being up a few notches.
Newcastle Under Lyme Hugs
As she was offering hugs her confidence grew, she smiled more, her stature was different and everything seemed to flow. Then an older man stopped for a hug, she duly hugged him, he said “I so miss being held, I haven’t had a hug since my wife died”. They stood chatting about the importance of touch and how to find ways of getting more platonic touch in life, it’s the one thing that everyone steers clear of and yet everyone needs touch in their life to thrive. I am writing this here to illustrate the need for positive psychology, policy makers and people in general to start recognising the obvious need to create safe touch in everyday life for people who live alone of any age, for people in care homes and hospitals to receive touch other than medical interventions. Since my friend came hugging she reports a significant shift in her own well being, she feels happier and life feels better for her, could it be that by giving hugs you increase your own well being by intention?
I asked Seligman about the exclusion of touch from the notion of human flourishing, he agreed there is a need for more research into touch – you can listen here I ask it right at the end. Where does touch sit in the notion of human rights? The right to have connections with meaning and purpose not based on fear?