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The Power of Hugs

Hugs, not drugs…drugs are for mugs and thugs.

John Magee Hug

For those of you who do not know me, I am the Managing Director and founder of Kindness Matters, which works in partnership with schools across the UK, supporting mental health and wellbeing.

In this capacity, I am blessed to regularly visit primary and secondary schools and support their staff and pupils.

Hugs, not drugs…drugs are for mugs and thugs.

This is a phrase I often say to KS3 pupils when I deliver my keynote presentation.

It outlines how I changed my life from drug abuse and organised crime to kindness.

I recently visited Westminster Primary, feeling out of sorts. I had woken up that day feeling overwhelmed by a sense of exhaustion after summer term two.

I belong to various Twitter groups with Headteachers/SLT and Teachers. I have been doing my best to keep everyone propped up and motivated because, like myself, many schools are on their knees following Ofsted inspections.

It is fair to say we have had to adapt our teaching and learning along with the added pressure from the impact of Covid on ourselves and our school community.

Westminster Primary has a lovely warm family feel, and all the staff are amazing, from the cleaners and canteen staff to the Headteacher.

When visiting them, I walked around the school feeling somewhat emotional and out of the blue, AHT Debbie Elliot came up to me and, without saying a word, put her arms around me in a hug that seemed to last a lifetime.

As we embraced at that moment, I felt an enormous amount of relief and vitality kick in… ‘I really needed that hug’, I said to Debbie, ‘more than you know’. She smiled and then rushed off to deal with her daily tasks.

Here is the thing, there is something magical when we hug. It releases a chemical in the body called Oxytocin, the love hormone known for its healing properties. It reduces free radicals that may lead to cancer, increased weight and various other diseases.

What does it cost to give a hug? That’s right, nothing. However, what difference can it make?

Thank you to all those who know the value of a good hug and the many psychological and emotional benefits for the giver and receiver.

Remember that old saying …there is more happiness in giving than receiving.

I wonder who will be the next person you hug.

Your Kindness Coach, John.

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The author

John Magee UK Kindness Schools' Ambassador. Sharing Kindness with Teachers & cultivating kind classrooms in hundreds of schools throughout the UK. Father, Speaker, Author & Mentor to leaders of Education.

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