This week's Senior Assembly message from our School Captains:
How to keep your spirits up …
Mitchell: If you’re anything like me, the beginning of term is fun and exciting because you get to catch up with everyone and you don’t have any homework! But when the term progresses, we can often experience what I’m going to call Term-1-Shock – that feeling we get when we realise those seemingly endless 8 weeks, of endless Netflix and endless swims have truly ended and it's not long before we’re back in the school-grind. And I was pondering, as we all come to this bittersweet realisation, how can we keep our spirits up?
By way of analogy, and as a way of answering the question about keeping our spirits up, picture in your minds, two buckets. Bucket 1 has some clean water in it, and when a clean sponge is dipped in the bucket, the sponge will obviously come out clean. With Bucket 2 however, although the water is also clean, when a dirty sponge is dipped in it, the water then becomes dirty.
The message of the buckets therefore is about seeing the good in things, and making the most of them. A way to keep our spirits up is to think about how we react to things. We can choose what to take out of a situation - we can be like the dirty sponge that soaks up the bad things, or like the clean sponge that soaks up the good things.
Claudia: The following story also helps to further paint the picture about making the most of things.
In Year 9, I was on the bus home from school one day and some stuff was happening in my life which honestly made me feel pretty bad. And it was all spinning in my head and I stressing out and I kept telling myself that I just need to think about something else - like anything to take my mind off this. And so I started thinking about the bus – thoughts like - I am so thankful right now that someone somewhere in history invented roads and engines and buses so I can just hop on this bus and in 20 minutes I’m home, because today I could not deal with walking for an hour with this heavy school bag on my back.
And then I started thinking about my friends, and how lucky I was that I can chat to them about anything. And then I started to think about all the good things I had - my mum and my dad, my family, the butter chicken at lunch, my school, and finally I think what I took most comfort in was that no matter what’s happening, I know the God of the universe loves me. And I felt a lot better getting off that bus.
Sometimes bad days happen, bad things happen that dirty our water before we even get to sponge it up. And sometimes we can’t fix those things with a clean sponge, or changing how we look at it. On that day on the bus, the things that were happening didn’t just go away, they were still there. I was still upset about some things and a little stressed about others. But what gratitude, what choosing the clean sponge over the dirty sponge does, is it gives us joy, and this gives us a new perspective in how we deal with challenges we face.
Happiness is about circumstances, it’s about having a good day, but joy is deeper than that -- it’s about hope. It is about seeing the good and holding on to it, even when bad things happen. We need joy to make the most of our good days and we need joy to pull us through the hard day.
There’s this great quote that says “It’s not joy that makes us grateful, but gratitude that makes us joyful.”
But gratitude is not just an attitude, it is an actual act. Something I’d encourage you all to do, and it’s something I started after that bus trip and has been really powerful in my life, is to spend anywhere between 30 seconds and 5 minutes every night before you go to bed just asking yourself this one question: "What was good about today?"
It’s so easy, and helps us see the beauty in every day.