Our Year 12’s are leaving

I like to think they feel a deep sense of gratitude to you, their friends, and their teachers. As a community, we feel a deep sense of gratitude to God.

Being appreciative causes us to feel good. An American Professor of Psychology’s investigations into happiness lead to the book: ‘The How of Happiness’, by Sonja Lyubomirsky. She became very interested in a large study of twins. In short, even if identical twins were raised in completely different homes and circumstances, they self-reported very similar levels of happiness (subjective wellbeing). Approximately 50% of self-reported-wellbeing (happiness) is arguably genetic. Lyubomirsky’s research suggested 40% of happiness is affected by our activities, and only 10% according to our circumstances. Most of us think our circumstances determines most of our happiness. This perception does not appear to be true.

She formed the below understanding:

Lyubomirsky says expressing gratitude is a lot more than just saying: “Thank you.”

‘Gratitude is many things to many people. It is wonder; it is appreciation; it is looking at the bright side of a setback; it is fathoming abundance; it is thanking someone in your life; it is thanking God; it is “counting blessings.” It is savouring; it is not taking things for granted; it is coping; it is present-oriented. Gratitude is also an antidote to negative emotions.’

‘Emerging research has recently started to draw attention to its multiple benefits. People who are consistently grateful have been found to be relatively happier, more energetic, and more hopeful and to report experiencing more frequent positive emotions. They also tend to be more helpful and empathic, more spiritual and religious, more forgiving, and less materialistic than others who are less predisposed to gratefulness. Furthermore, the more a person is inclined to gratitude, the less likely he or she is to be depressed, anxious, lonely, envious, or neurotic.’

Sonja Lyubomirsky identifies 8 ways that gratitude boosts happiness

  1. Grateful thinking promotes savouring positive life experiences.
  2. Expressing gratitude bolsters self-worth.
  3. It helps people cope with stress and trauma.
  4. Gratitude helps people adjust and move on from personal adversity.
  5. It encourages thoughtfulness towards others.
  6. Expressing gratitude strengthens existing relationships and nurtures new ones.
  7. Gratitude tends to result in less comparison to others, deterring feelings of anger, bitterness and greed.
  8. Gratitude help keep our feelings of appreciation fresh, rather than taking good things for granted.

The take-away of Lyubomirsky’s research is that when we teach our children to be grateful, we are helping them experience improved wellbeing. Encouraging our kids to be appreciative of others causes them to feel increasingly positive about their world. In a previous newsletter, I shared with you research that observed authentic spirituality (rather than just religion) positively adds to a person’s sense of wellbeing.

With a sense of curiosity and a heartfelt desire to share the Bible’s wisdom about true happiness, I found the below passage.

What the Bible say about true happiness

3 ‘Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor;
the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
Happy are those who mourn;
God will comfort them!
Happy are those who are humble;
they will receive what God has promised!
Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires;
God will satisfy them fully!
Happy are those who are merciful to others;
God will be merciful to them!
Happy are the pure in heart;
they will see God!
Happy are those who work for peace;
God will call them his children!
10 Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires;
the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
11 Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers.’
(Matthew 5: 3 – 11)

In saying goodbye to our Year 12’s, I hope they make time to express their gratefulness to you. You will both enjoy the experience. I also hope they take a way an understanding that true happiness is pursuing the things that are important to God; like working for peace, being humble, merciful, and doing what is right.

Thank you for helping SCBC be a great place for young people’s lives to flourish.

Des Mitchell