3 April 2018

Don't Worry

How often do we say this, to ourselves and others? But I cannot think of any two words (or is it three?!) that have been uttered so many times with so little effect. Saying "don't worry" rarely stops someone from worrying; in fact, it quite often prompts greater concern. And whilst it is good to talk about things, rarely does this stop us worrying. It is important to distinguish between worry which tends to be periodic, and anxiety, which is on-going and can be clinically diagnosed.

Long ago, a King set his wisest advisors the task of distilling all the wisdom that had been accumulated in the world into one single phrase. His wise men poured for many years over books and ancient manuscripts, and they debated the topic at length. In the end, they presented the King with four words, which they felt captured the entirety of philosophy and the human condition:

"This too shall pass."

This is a reminder to all of us, in good times and in bad; it is a mantra to help us keep perspective in life. We build things up - the weight of our expectations can turn something we are very much looking forward to into a disappointment, just as something we are dreading can turn out to be a relatively satisfying experience.

We have a tendency to over-inflate the importance of what we do. And when we do this, we are even more exposed to the fear of being embarrassed or appearing inadequate in front of our peers. Boys and young men in particular are susceptible to this. Digging down into what is actually motivating us to worry can help us to achieve a better perspective on this.

Much of what we worry about is not so important. Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister in the face of the Nazi onslaught in World War Two - when his nation and the civilisation it represented was facing annihilation - had more to worry about than most. When he reflected on his life, he said, "When I look back on all these worries, I remember an old man who said, on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened."

And he is right. We worry about many things that just never happen. Or if they do, they are never as bad as we imagined they were going to be. And even if they are pretty bad, there are lessons to be learned from them.

Erma Bombeck said: "Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but it never gets you anywhere." If we are worried about something, we should try to fix it if it is in our power. Doing some exercise, or reading a book - focusing on something else can sometimes present a solution. If we cannot fix it, we can ask for help from someone else who might be able to. The chances are that it may not happen anyway, or it will not be as bad as we expect. And if things still go wrong, we can always take responsibility and apologise. This too shall pass, and we can hopefully do better next time.

SchoolTV

In the latest edition of SchoolTV, you will discover practical advice for teaching your kids about the benefits of incorporating a healthy diet and good nutrition. If you have any concerns about your child, please contact the relevant school psychologist for further information. Here is the link to this month's edition http://scotch.wa.schooltv.me/newsletter/diet-and-nutrition

Mindfulness - Brain Reset

Year 11 and 12 students have the opportunity to participate in four mindfulness sessions in the lead-up to their examinations. Helen Heppingstone will take the boys through a series of mindfulness and relaxation techniques which will refresh their brains and bodies, enabling them to better handle the pressure of the exams and get more out of their study time. In the past, some students have said that they are too busy to attend these sessions, and my response is that they are exactly the sort of person who should attend! I use Covey's analogy of trying to chop down a tree with a blunt saw; it is far more effective to pause and sharpen the saw than to continue on regardless. The details of the sessions are as follows and students should contact me if they are interested:

  • Session 1: Wednesday 4 April (3.45-4.30pm) - Week 10 of Summer Term
  • Session 2: Wednesday 11 April (3.45-4.30pm) - Week 11 of Summer Term
  • Session 3: Wednesday 2 May (3.45-4.30pm) - Week 1 of Autumn Term
  • Session 4: Wednesday 9 May (3.45-4.30pm) - Week 2 of Autumn Term

These sessions are free, but places are limited. Please encourage your son to speak to me if you think he would benefit from attending.

Mr James Hindle
Director of Student & Staff Wellbeing