What we've been thinking about and working on lately...

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I wouldn’t say the highlight of my year so far has been breaking my leg (Bike + ice = A&E), but I have learned a lot about how to heal quickly and oddly it has been a remarkably positive experience. To the extent that 5 weeks on I am crutch free, swimming and walking for several hours at a time.

 

My first fear of course was how am I going to cope, given that I am very active and the idea of being confined to a sofa for 6 – 8 weeks was my personal idea of hell. However, deciding to be positive and use the time in a different way meant that time flew and I actually quite enjoyed it.

 

And if you are finding it hard to be positive after a setback, then I looked at some research on positivity and well being, and here are some compelling facts. Positive people:

-          live 7.5 years longer than others

-          have a 77% lower risk of heart desease then pessimists

-          experience 50% less symptoms and pain for the same illness

 

In my own experience, what helped me was:

-          Focussing on what you can do, not what you can’t do. As a weird spin-off I now find I own and can play a Ukelele

-          Use the time to re-energise and set future goals for the year

-          Enjoy the “now”. All too ofter I’m looking for the next thing, rather than enjoying what I have right now.

 

I hope you don’t become ill, but if you do, enjoy confounding the experts with your positive mindset...............

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Last year I began volunteering with the Wave Project, an award-winning community surf project that helps young people improve health and education outcomes through surfing.  We work with young people from ages 8 up to 21 who are facing a variety of different challenges. 

They run a network of surf clubs around the UK designed to help young people develop both their surfing and life skills. It’s a simple concept, we surf, we encourage, we listen, and have loads of fun!  I’ve seen first hand how going surfing once a week has transformed lives, helping clients feel more confident and improving their outlook.  

TES, the world’s largest online network of teachers, published an article recently about the link between well-being and learning - it made me realise how much impact the Wave Project must have with young people, not just in their personal lives but in their education.  The article discusses a point of view that schools appear to think that making students happy is neither their business nor their responsibility and that this should be part of their core function. Author Clare Jarmy says ‘So students’ happiness is our business and our responsibility, because happy children are effective learners and teaching them is our job…Academic progress is not separate from well-being; it is part of it.  As teachers, we are not simply preparing students for the workplace, we are also playing a part in their flourishing.’

The official definition of ‘Well-being’ is ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy’. We don’t function or perform well if we’re uncomfortable, unhealthy, or unhappy. Well-being is pretty much the root to a fulfilled life, so why isn’t this core to everything we do?   

Well-being is the primary focus at the Wave Project because we know that when young people are healthy and happy, they do better in life.  We have the results to prove it! We’ve seen dramatic transformations in young people that are isolated, perhaps struggling at school or are labelled with a mental health problem, where after surfing regularly with us, their confidence has grown and they’ve found a new passion and excitement for life. And because they are happier and healthier this impacts on their education… 

Well-being in the work-place has been discussed a lot recently but I think we still have some way to go so I hope you, like I, will take some inspiration from the Wave Project. Our development and performance as adults is no less linked to well being than when we're at school age, so as schools have to recognise, so do businesses, that well-being needs to be addressed.

This recent HR Magazine article discusses the link between leadership, promotability and health & wellbeing. Hellen Davis says “…helping employees take responsibility for their health and wellbeing is good – but the direct link between career advancement and health and wellbeing is rarely discussed.”  Here are some tips on how to create a happier and healthier workforce from HR Magazine.

We all want to be happy and healthy, but what conscious steps do we make to get there? This week, do something different, perhaps an outdoor activity with a group of friends that will fill your lungs with fresh air, get your heart pumping and wash away the cobwebs!

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