Two days ago I started my day with a TED talk. It was a TED talk with the title ‘Trust, morality and — oxytocin?” Paul Zak was the speaker and it was an interesting theory he had about how trust, empathy and other feelings would help build a stable society by increasing the levels of oxytocin. Best way to do increase these levels is by hugging people. Paul Zak is also known as Dr. Love at his work, since he hugs a lot. He ended his TED talk ended with a recommendation; 8 hugs a day. As always I was curious…

So I went to my favorite cafe with the idea of trying to get eight hugs and to see how I felt and actually how other felt as well. The first two was easy, my dear friend works at the café and she knew the customer that was ordering the coffee, so when she introduced me to him he got a hug too. Already I just had six hugs left.
Sometimes there’s an extra coffee made that’s no use for and well, I’m the coffee trash can those moments. There was a middle aged man commenting that it was a little every day luxury. He was my third hug. It entered some more customers and I didn’t feel so comfortable asking them for hugs. It is a weird thing, but still I like to finish projects. The cookie lady came in and I know her, so I could finally leave number three and add hug number four. Another middle aged man came in, pretty harsh when he ordered. Didn’t want to hug him. But when he sat down and was waiting for his orders I realized that I had to leave the cafe soon and actually do something with my day. It was three people in the room, including the harsh man. So I faced my fears and went to him and said: “Hi, I’m collecting hugs today. Can I get one from you?” He gave me the sweetest hug and said that I could get as many as I liked. I was good with one though. I continued to the other two people with the same phrase. The other guys response was, “do I have to get up?”. Strange question, but then again, my question was a little unexpected as well. The third person was a woman and she was so sweet. I told her about my project, she loved it and was determined to get eight hugs herself! She was my seventh hug. A girl, working at the cafe came in and I got my eight hug, and then another friend came, so now I was on the bonus account!
Later the same day I went to buy coffee for my home where as I met five more people. Three I knew and two was their friends. But no, I didn’t walk up to strangers in the street to ask for hugs, I thought that doing that at my cafe was kind of enough.
This was a funny project and all, I mean all the hugs I received was so loving and warm. People really need hugging, we should all do that more often.  Go and get your hugs!

Back to the beginning: Neuroeconomist Paul Zak believes that oxytocin (he calls it “the moral molecule”) is responsible for trust, empathy and other feelings that help build a stable society.

So if this works I’ve just started to help build a stable society  That was easy…

/Lovisa