Free Hugs

A hug is a universal medicine, it is how we handshake from the heart”.  -Anonymous

How good is hugging?! Seriously, we all need to hug more. The good thing is, hugging is free, you can do it anytime, and it is the perfect way to not only put a smile on your own face, but also put a smile on the face of another person!

Hugging is Number 12 on the 43 Habits of Absolutely Happy People (AKA the Happiness Manifesto). There are so many benefits to hugging and I will get to these shortly. However, I firstly wanted to highlight the story of a man who has changed the world through hugging.


The Man That Inspired The World Through Hugging

There’s no doubt about it that you would have seen this man, heard his name or at least experienced his movement. His name is Juan Mann and he is from my hometown – Sydney, Australia.

After spending some lengthy time abroad in London, Juan returned home to Sydney.

Upon his return and entering into the arrivals terminal, he witnessed passenger after passenger pass through the exits into the smiling and crying arms of their family and friends, laughing together and being welcomed warmly back home. Unfortunately for Juan, there was no one there for him. He longed for the feeling of having someone there for him, to smile at him, to laugh with him, to hug him.


So what did he do about it?

As any person would, right?

He created a cardboard sign that says ‘FREE HUGS’, went to the busiest intersection in the city and stood there hoping to get a hug.

For 15 minutes he stood there with strangers staring right through him, no hugs, no take-up, nothing… but then the beauty began.

He recounts that his first hug was from a lady whose dog had died that morning and it was also the first anniversary of her daughter’s death. As he knelt down and gave her a hug, he witnessed the most amazing thing in this world. He alone had turned around one of the darkest days of this woman’s life and noticed her walk away with a smile.

WOW. Now that is powerful.

Free Hugs


The snowballing of hugs started to flow. Police then banned Juan and his growing hugging army from hugging due to public liability fear and red tape, however through the good hearts and support of humanity, this is no longer banned and has become a worldwide movement.

Watch the video here… over 75million views!:

Have you experienced the Free Hugs Movement?

Have you taken part in the Free Hugs Movement?



The Benefits of Hugging

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of awesome benefits of hugging, both physical and psychological. Let’s take a look into the benefits of hugging.


1)      Hugging reduces the risk of heart disease

Do you have high blood pressure or a weak heart? Studies have shown that hugging can actually lower blood pressure, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. If you answered yes to the previous question, then start hugging and minimize your risk of heart disease!


2)      Hugging relieves stress and makes you feel calmer

Hugging just simply feels awesome! It also increases the level of oxytocin, a hormone responsible for bonding and sexual reproduction (otherwise known as the ‘love hormone!’). As a result, this obviously makes you feel calmer and less anxious.


3)      Hugging can enhance and deepen your relationships

Not only does hugging release oxytocin, but it releases serotonin and dopamine, helping you to feel good and lift your mood. That means when you’re hugging someone, you’re feeling pretty good. As a result, your relationship with this person will strengthen and you will connect at a deeper level. Taking this a step further, this then has flow on effects to having a more positive relationship and will benefit a number of other areas of your life… a spiraling happiness effect!


4)      Hugging is comforting and can comfort another person

Linking back to Juan’s story above, he transformed the feelings of a stranger and put a smile on her face while she was experiencing one of the darkest days of her life. He did this simply through comforting her with a hug. Does someone you know need comforting? Go give them a hug!


5)      Hugging can ease depression

Hugging can ease depression and ease tiredness from those that experience chronic weariness or tiredness. Through the release of the hormones above, feeling comforted, enhancing relationships and lifting moods, depression can be reduced and those feeling tired can feel more energized.


6)      Hugging can lead to more!

Not getting naughty here, but as mentioned above, hugging can strengthen and deepen your relationships with others. Also, it releases all those nice hormones as mentioned above. Through hugging, you can get close to others and build relationships with your significant other (or potential significant other) and things may start to flow. Need I say more!


7)      Hugging is just pure awesome

Seriously, how good are hugs? They JUST FEEL SO GOOD. If you want an awesome life, then hugging can keep your moods high, ensure your happiness and also help you become more confident.


8)      You can CHANGE THE WORLD

No joke. Hugging another person may just be the thing they need. You are making a difference in the life of another person by hugging them. You’re building a relationship with them, you’re building trust, you’re letting them know you care. You can transform the moment, the day, the week or the life of another person by giving them a hug, whether you know it or not. Just remember Juan’s story. He has proven that you can change the World through hugging.


For the comments

Has a hug changed your life?

Do you have specific hugging techniques?

Have you ever done something as crazy as what Juan did?

I would love to hear about it in the comments below!



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About the author 

Brendan Baker

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

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  1. I am a big hugging believer! Now Brendan, I have shared your lovely article on my FB page. I know my daughter, who is an editor, will have trouble with #8, just as I do, because you use ‘your’ inncorrectly! Please use you’re for ” you are.” Thank you, and Happy Hugging Day!

    1. Hehe, thanks for picking this up, Terri! I’m not sure how I let that one slip. I’ve now corrected 🙂

  2. What a great story, Brendan! There are so many simple things we can do to increase our happiness, hugging being one of them. Thanks for reminding us.

  3. Hi Brendan,

    Yes, it has changed my life. It happened when my business associates came to attend my grandma’s funeral and gave me a hug to comfort me. It showed me that there are people out there who care about me and are willing to lend a helping hand when I need one. It is very comforting to know that.


  4. Hug is all we need. Coming to think about it, I feel that’s why I am so unhappy and sad.
    I don’t even remember the last time someone hugged me! :/
    I never take the initiative because most of the people take it otherwise! :/

  5. That is an interesting story. I am glad I know how it started. People at my old college here in the United States use to have signs and do that. I am sure it can be really helpful. I love giving hugs.

    I like to give big ole hugs and if I know the person well then I do it European style and give them a kiss on the cheek afterwards : D. I agree with all of the tips. A hug when you are sad can completely brighten up your day : D.

  6. I LOVE giving and receiving hugs! I still remember the two best hugs I’ve ever received. I can tell you who gave them to me, when, the circumstances, etc.

    I’m also a bit proud of the fact that I started the “hugging tradition” in my immediate family (parents and two sisters). It used to be that no one in my family hugged. But when I was in my 20s, I decided enough was enough. So I started hugging each one of them when I saw them. That tradition continues to today, many years after I first started it.

    1. Hi Ed,

      I love the fact that you can remember your 2 best hugs… seriously awesome! 🙂 I always remember WHO is a good hugger… those nice, firm hugs! ;D

      Congrats on leading the way with your family hugging tradition! That’s a seriously cool thing to do 🙂

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