Posts Tagged ‘practice gratitude’

Hey everyone, we’re almost to the end of February. Did you make any new year’s resolutions? And if you did, how is it coming along? 🙂

Some years back, I stopped making resolutions. I don’t know if it’s cos I’m older now and more jaded. Or maybe I’m just tired of setting myself up to feel bad and I’m older now and realizing life is too short to spend too much time feeling bad. Back when I used to still make resolutions, I always resolve to write on this blog more often. But because I don’t make such resolutions anymore, I completely don’t have to feel bad that my last post was 4 months ago!  I think you’re beginning to see how this non-resolution-making-business can totally work to our favour. 😉 Besides, those of you who have been following this blog know that I’m a science geek and I only believe in things that are backed by science and good statistics – and the statistics for people who are successful in keeping to their resolutions? A mere 8% (according to a study done by University of Scranton)! That’s not very good odds at all!

SOOooo…if you haven’t kept up with your resolutions to lose weight, eat healthier, study more, sleep less in lectures, be nicer to your siblings, save more $$, manage time better etc etc., there’s no need to feel bad! Scientific research says that there IS a better way to be happier, healthier and do better in school that is not related to making new year’s resolutions – PRACTICE GRATITUDE. Researchers have found that people who practice gratitude regularly increases their long term happiness by at least 25%!  Professor Robert Emmons who has been researching gratitude for the past decade also found significant benefits in terms of less visits to the doctor,  being more resistant to stress and trauma in life, having a higher sense of self-worth etc etc.

I hope to spend more time writing on this topic in greater depth in future on this blog (note to self: this is not a new year’s resolution since it’s already mid Feb) but for now, suffice it to know that beginning a gratitude practice doesn’t have to be complicated! Check out the youtube video above for some ideas or try out the three good things exercise that Dr. Martin Seligman came up with (more on the research on this in another post). Apparently there are now nifty ‘gratitude apps’ you can use to make practicing gratitude literally an exercise at your finger tips.  Something for you to mull over this week. 🙂

photo 1Hello everyone! Welcome back to a new school year! Although with the lessons starting and homework piling you may not feel very welcome and may in fact already feel like dying. I feel you. This was me just three weeks ago, lying on a hammock on the best beach in Asia with not a care in the world. It might as well be three years cos that feeling of not having to wake up to anything is already a distant memory. And it’s only Tuesday! All those people who talk about how a holiday recharges you for more work (or study) must not know what they’re talking about.

So I thought a ‘survivor guide’ of sorts is in order for those of you who are literally scrapping by.

1. Practice Gratitude

Sounds abit lame but totally backed up by scientific research which shows that people who practice gratitude daily are happier, more energetic, more hopeful, falls sick less easily and have richer social lives etc. It can be in a form of a gratitude journal where you pen down the stuff you’re grateful for daily, or thinking grateful thoughts, or even just saying ‘Thank you’ more often. Perhaps you are grateful for your friends, or the person who fixed your breakfast or that the mee siam today tastes extra nice. Whatever it may be.

2. Practice Acts of Kindness

Again it sounds abit hokey but research has shown that practicing small acts of kindness can tremendously boost your own level of happiness regardless of the recipient’s response. Things like helping a stranger with directions, or helping an old auntie with her groceries, or helping your friend queue up for food etc.

3. Get into Flow

Probably something I should talk about more in another post but flow can be described as enjoyable experiences whereby you are so engrossed you forget the time has passed such as when you’re playing candy crush, or running or shooting hoops etc. Many students say they don’t have time to do anything enjoyable once school starts but that’s precisely why you’d need it so you don’t burn out even if it’s just once a week over weekends.

Finally: Take a Breathing Space

Research has shown that intentionally taking a couple of minutes to close your eyes and just focus on your breathing (and not do anything else while you’re at it) can help to reduce anxiety and stress and increase mental focus and clarity.

Hope this helps you to survive the first week better and know that things will become better as you adjust to the pace and get your groove on. A few new things regarding the counselling department this year for you to take note:-

– While I’m still the only full time school counsellor here we do have an intern counsellor Ms Pauline Ong whom some of you have met. She’s doing her Masters in Counselling with Monash University and will continue her internship with us here at YJC till the middle of the year (clap! clap!)

– There is a new counselling room which is right next to the original one. The new room is so nice you won’t believe it and it’s closest to the back door of the student resource centre so do pop by and have a chat and some tea and biscuits.

– I’ll still do the resilience workshop for the JC2 CTGs in Term 2 and this year I’m also launching the Dot b programme which is a once a week (45 minutes each time) x 9 mindfulness curriculum that has been proven to help students focus better, be more efficient and manage time better as well as reduce stress and anxiety. Sounds good? Pop by and get an introduction sheet and sign up if you’re interested. It’s a really good programme if I may say so myself.

That’s it from me. Have a great week ahead!  – Ms Joan (School Counsellor, YJC)