Best Way to Spend an Hour Ever?

Anyone can do it.

It increases the  “love hormone” oxytocin.

It reduces stress, including its impact on your blood pressure and heart rate.

Once a day may fight infections, boost your immune system, ease depression and lessen fatigue.

I’ve filmed it before and got partially involved before, but never fully got integrated with it . So on this occasion I wanted to properly experience it and left my camera at home.

Free Hugs Cardiff

I’m talking about Free Hugs. I went along to the ace Free Hugs Cardiff which takes part in the city centre.

Once you get over any awkwardness and any fear of rejection – you’ll find it really brings a smile to your face, you inwardly feel warm and can visibly see the difference it makes to a lot of the people who accept a hug.

Free Hugs - Matt Callanan - We Make Good Happen

Though who accepts a hug from a stranger? Where did this all start?

Juan Mann on June 30, 2004, started giving out hugs in central Sydney. In the months prior to this, Mann had been feeling depressed and lonely as a result of numerous personal difficulties. However, a random hug from a stranger made an enormous difference, with Mann stating that “…I went out to a party one night and a completely random person came up to me and gave me a hug. I felt like a king! It was greatest thing that ever happened.”

The idea went viral helped by a music video which used footage of Mann giving out #FreeHugs



There are now groups around the world that give out free hugs.

I actually heard about Free Hugs Cardiff from the lovely Sri at an Ignite Talk (and you can actually see me right at the end of the talk run up on to the stage and give the amazing Sri a hug – this was before I knew him and thought of the We Make Good Happen idea)

Free Hugs - Matt Callanan - We Make Good Happen

I got a lot out of the hour and a bit giving out Free Hugs to random people in the city centre. I went away feeling buzzing and smiling to myself. I lost count of the amount of people I’d hugged and smiles I’d seen. It really did feel like a made a brief connection with these people.

Free Hugs Cardiff

And you never know – it might just make someone’s day. I’ve heard some great stories of individuals being really moved after receiving a hug.

Have a search in your area / city and see if there’s one happening. If not why not think of starting your own group?

I really do think that was one of the best hours I’ve ever spent…



Free Hugs - Matt Callanan - We Make Good Happen

(All photos courtesy of Free Hugs Cardiff)

#FreeHugs #WeMakeGoodHappen #Tenner4Good

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