It’s here at last!
You have heard me refer to Positive Education of a number of occasions. I am delighted to share that on the Pupil Free Day at the beginning of Term 3, every Investigator staff member (not only teachers) participated in a full day ‘official launch’ seminar, and this will only bring benefits for your student/s. I have seen some other schools loosely refer to ‘Positive Education’ without any real understanding of what it actually is. At Investigator the application of Positive Psychology is authentic. It is not an ‘add-on’, a fad or even an additional subject. It is a way of thinking and a way of being that is key if we are truly going to be our best selves. It encompasses robust wellbeing initiatives backed up by scientific evidence, and we all gain from developing skills in a variety of areas, including resilience, expressing gratitude, friendship building, mindsets, strengths awareness and experiencing positive emotions.
You will hear students at Investigator refer to their character strengths. We all have them and they underpin the best you. Students are learning to utilise strengths to enhance relationships, work performance and wellbeing. They are learning to recognise them in both themselves and others, and how to apply them in times of adversity to overcome and bounce back from difficult situations.
Perhaps you would like to know your own signature strengths. Please feel free to take the free survey below (no need to pay for the report):
I have been lucky enough to have participated in a number of National Positive Education conferences and one speaker I have found particularly interesting is Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor of Psychology at The University of California, who has conducted scientific studies into what she describes as “The How, What and Why of Happiness”. Lyubomirsky defines happiness as “Experience of frequent positive emotions and a sense that one’s life is good” and her work is particularly relevant, given the strong evidence which suggests that happy people:
- are more productive, creative and financially successful at work;
- demonstrate greater resilience when dealing with stress and trauma;
- have stronger immune systems, are physically healthier and even live longer;
- are more likely to have fulfilling marriages and friendships; and
- are more effective leaders and negotiators.
The big question is what can we do to lift our level of happiness? Listed below are 12 tips from Lyubomirsky and her fellow researchers.
- Do more activities that truly engage you.
Researchers call this experiencing ‘flow’. When did you last ‘lose yourself’ in an area of passion? For some it might be gardening, for others cycling or completing a jigsaw.
- Savour life’s joys.
Replay a good day by talking about it with your family or a friend, or writing about it.
- Learn to forgive.
Bearing a grudge is a burden on you. Let go of anger and resentment towards someone who has hurt you.
- Engage in acts of kindness.
It feels good to be kind and both the giver and receiver experience positive emotions. This is great role-modelling for your children too, and kind people are more likely to experience reciprocal friendships.
- Nurture relationships.
Invest time and energy into cultivating, healing, affirming and enjoying relationships.
- Cultivate optimism.
Consider keeping a journal in which you visualise, plan and write about the best possible future for yourself.
- Avoid over-thinking situations and comparing yourself to others.
Try not to dwell on your problems, nor engage in unhealthy self-talk. A strategy might be to ask yourself, “What would I say to a friend who is thinking like that?” Chances are you would advise them to chill out. Apply that advice to yourself as well.
- Develop strategies for coping.
Learning to view mishaps as set-backs from which you can recover (through effort and time) is a good place to start.
- Count your blessings.
You would have heard your children talk about the gratitude journals they write in and talk about at school. Consider doing the same yourself. I write down the good things about my day before I leave work each night and we begin every staff meeting with “What Went Well’ and votes of gratitude. I am delighted to hear that many Investigator College families are doing the same.
- Strengthen your spiritual connections.
Research shows that religious and/or spiritual people are happier than those who neglect this area.
- Commit to your goals.
Set yourself some meaningful goals (not too many) and devote some time to working to achieve these. Celebrate your successes along the way and when your goal is finally achieved.
- Take care of your body.
This could mean exercise (and joining the growing number of people aiming for 10,000 steps per day), but this could also mean engaging in mindfulness practices, having regular medical check-ups, smiling, laughing, getting plenty of sleep and eating healthy food.
Thank you in anticipation of your support of Investigator College’s Positive Education programs. Your role modelling is also vitally important and we look forward to providing training opportunities and more guest speakers for you in the future also.
Parents and Friends
We are in the process of relaunching the P&F and this presents a great opportunity for you to connect with others and to help make Investigator an even better place. Please contact your child’s Home Group teacher if you would like to join.
Thank you for your ongoing support and for recommending Investigator College to your friends and colleagues. Places for 2022 are now almost full as people continue to seek a sea-change and a top-quality education at the only Anglican College on the South Coast.