From the Director of Wellbeing, Matt Porter
Broadening and building positive emotions
The focus of Wellbeing Mentor time for this fortnight has been based on identifying positive emotions when they occur. By doing so we are better able to recognise and replicate these feelings during times of stress, sorrow or hardship. The key to teaching resilience is to increase self-awareness, not so that we are always happy or so that we ignore negative emotions, but rather so we can identify these feelings for what they are and then return to our “happy place” more easily and more readily if and when they occur. Broadening and building positive emotions takes practice.
The Broaden and Build Theory describes how the ten positive emotions of joy, serenity, amusement, awe, pride, gratitude, interest, inspiration, hope, and love are like “tiny engines” which drive personal growth and fulfilment.
Research has shown that experiencing any or all of these positive emotions with sufficient frequency and authenticity allows us to become more open, flexible and accepting. In other words teaching our boys to pay attention to their own moods and emotions will enable them to recognise when they feel good and when they are at their best. This will enable them to seek out these emotional states willingly or return to them with greater ease when they do experience negative emotions or personal set backs.
According to research on the Power of Positivity we should aim for a positive:negative ratio 3:1. In other words for every negative, thought, emotion or experience that we have throughout our day we should seek out, identify or recognise three positive emotions, interactions or experiences.
Some strategies for building positive emotions that our boys have had a chance to practice during Wellbeing Mentor Time this week include:
- Exercise: Just 60 seconds of moderate/ high intensity exercise is enough to release hormones and increase circulation which delivers more oxygen to the brain.
- Relaxation/ mindfulness/ meditation: Taking time out from our busy days to slow our thought processes and focus our consciousness internally on something as simple as our breathing can be an easy way to refocus our thinking away from negative emotions and achieve a state of calm and relaxation.
- Music: Listening to music has a powerful impact on mood and emotions. I’m sure that most of us could think of our favourite songs if we want to get fired up, motivated or achieve a heightened state of emotions. The challenge for this activity was to find songs which help calm us down, make us feel relaxed or those toe-tappers that make us feel happy.
- Laughter: While laughter may not always be the best medicine, there is significant evidence to suggest that the increased oxygenation from deep breathing associated with laughter and the release of endorphins may have similar health effects to moderate exercise.
- Social support: In times of stress having someone to talk to can help in one of two ways; either by talking through the problem and helping is to seek out a solution or appropriate coping strategies or by distracting us from the stressor and taking our mind off our worries.
Dr Andrew Fuller provides a number of fact sheets and free resources designed for schools and families. These can found via the link below.
One of his tips on how to be happy is as follows: “The art of making yourself happy is something we can all learn and practice. No one is happy 100% of the time. Life has its ups and downs. Even so there are some sure fire ways to increase your happiness. Don’t wait to see if you are having a good time. Instead of going to places and seeing if it is fun decide in advance to have fun regardless of the circumstances. Enjoy the day regardless of the weather. Make the most of the occasion regardless of the company.”
Andrew Fuller’s Parent Presentation
The Waverley College Parent Association is proud to bring you this important event for parents and carers.
Andrew will present a session for parents on ‘Raising Boys to be Respectful Gentlemen’.
Andrew will be working with Year 7 students earlier in the day examining the ‘The Learning Brain’, and with our Year 8 students in a session called, ‘From stressed to strong’. He has also been scheduled to work with our staff on ‘Creating Resilient Schools’.
Refreshments will be provided.
To register for this event, please click HERE.