Everybody will have seen a person with a cardboard ‘free hugs’ sign in their lifetime. Whether it is at a festival or in the city, people are spreading positivity with these messages. YouTube channel ‘pass it on’, run by student Richelle van der Knoop, is one a media outlet that focuses on spreading positivity.

Their first video showed Richelle on the Dam square in Amsterdam with a free hugs sign. Van der Knoop: “I was in Amsterdam with three friends and we wanted to do something positive and good. We went into a shop, asked for a piece of cardboard and bought some markers. We created the sign on Dam square and just started giving out free hugs to brighten up people’s day”. She told us that it is quite scary to start a campaign like that as you do not know how people are going to respond.

All different types of people responded happily to her initiative and hugged her. They smiled and their day seemed to be a little brighter. People were literally running up to her, ready to be hugged. Another one of their videos showcases several students, calling someone they value to tell them they are grateful to have them around. The message here is that we should remind people we love them a bit more often. The name pass it on derives from the concept that people should spread positivity and do a little extra something for other people to make them smile.

After the success of pass it on, they collaborated with Dutch YouTuber Sophie Ousri. The same location in Amsterdam was used, and this time both Richelle and Sophie hugged away.

Another channel that did a similar experiment is Aaron Le Conte. He posted a video in 2017, where he blindfolded himself and sat on the streets of London with a free hugs sign. He did the same experiment in Istanbul, Turkey, and the responses in both cities were the same as to the pass it on campaign: people hugged each other and smiled. Le Conte also gave out a free hugs during the London marathon in 2018.

According to National Geographic, positive thinking has a positive result on your achievements. They did an experiment with a woman playing basketball. She was blindfolded and tried to throw basketballs into the basket. She was made believe that she scored all of them, while in reality not one ball hit the net. When they took off her blindfold and let her try again, thinking she did a great job, she performed significantly better. After taking it a step further by encouraging her, she managed to score multiple times.

Therefore, it has been proven positivity encourages more positive thinking and boosts self confidence. Let us know in the comments below what you think would make a great campaign revolving around positivity!

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