From the Director of Wellbeing, Matt Porter
Given the daily demands and pressures that we all face in balancing school, work, family and social commitments we too often neglect to take time out and prioritise our own wellbeing, let alone thinking about the wellbeing of others. The 2017 Year 7 orientation day provided some fantastic opportunities for our Waverley boys to do just that. New Year 7 students mixed freely with staff, senior school leaders and each other. They had a chance to begin to form relationships which will stand them in good stead throughout their Waverley journey and beyond.
The Edmund Rice Touchstones of Inclusive Community and Justice and Solidarity underpin all of these relationships from the very first steps taken on this journey last Friday. The sessions on faith and mission, peer relations and social justice exposed our new Year 7s to just a small portion of the Social Justice and Co-curricular options available. A special thank you to all of the staff and students who made our graduating class of 2022 feel so welcome.
Here’s the good news for all involved, doing good deeds doesn’t only benefit the recipient, it may also have a significant impact on our long term physical, social, emotional and spiritual health. It is often the smallest gestures that make the biggest difference and the more often we practise kindness the more likely we are to have others reciprocate in kind and then we all reap the benefits.
People who engage in kind acts become happier over time. When you are kind to others, you feel good as a person — more moral, optimistic, and positive. Performing positive acts just once a week is all it takes to increase happiness. In Wellbeing Time this week, students have been set the challenge to do one small act of kindness for someone each day.
These acts of kindness create an emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardioprotective” hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.
When we give of ourselves, especially if we start young, everything from life satisfaction to self-realisation and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and wellbeing and good fortune are increased.
When we’re kind, we inspire others to be kind, and this creates a ripple effect that spreads outwards to our friends’ friends’ friends — to three degrees of separation. Just as a pebble creates waves when it is dropped in a pond, so acts of kindness ripple outwards, touching others’ lives and inspiring kindness everywhere the wave goes.