Mayella Reynolds is a life coach from Colliers Wood who had the idea of starting up a Random Hugging event in 2004. She was inspired after hearing a presenter on the radio complain about how you could find random terrorists on the streets “but not random huggers”. ‘I thought what a brilliant idea,’ the 56-year-old recalls. ‘It really tickled me to think of a group of people offering hugs on the streets of London, so I got together with a few friends and we created Random Huggers Day.’ Today the event has been adopted by several cities and Mayella’s mission is unfolding beautifully; to spread the love, warmth and wonderful energy that is in a great hug, around the world. So, what does it feel like? ‘It’s fun, it’s beautiful, it’s moving, it’s confronting - stepping out for the first time asking a stranger if they want a hug!’ says Mayella. ‘One of the highlights is when people look at me curiously and wonder what is it I really want, then when they realise it’s simply a hug, they smile or laugh and open their arms ready for a hug!’
“Research has shown that hugs increase levels of oxytocin as well as reducing blood pressure levels”
Steps to Random Hugging
- Put the word out and find yourself a team of like minded people (people who love to hug, or at least love the challenge that, offering to hug a stranger, brings).
- Put Random Huggers Day in your diary - May 19th.
- Decide on a central location for your event. Choose one that has lots of people passing by and is highly visible from a distance.
- Once you have decided on your location, have a chat with your local council and police.
- Form your group of huggers. Involve your team in asking everyone they know and ask them to speak to everyone they know and so on. Between 10-20 huggers per location is a good number to aim for.
- A good way to generate interest in your event is to get the local press involved.
- Either take your camera with you or invite someone to come and take photos of your event on the day.
- Meet up at about 10am on the day. Find a space that you can use as your base and a place to leave bags is helpful. Good luck!