Made In Mayflower | 'Together We more positive 
10th February 2021
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What is positivity?
When I first met my partner I was the most positive man on the planet.  
Don’t panic…this isn’t a story where I confess she’s sucked the positivity out of me, far from it!  But nothing would bother me.  You know the saying about water off a duck’s back?  Well if that's the case then I was king of the ducks.  “Why aren’t you upset about that?  That should make you angry” were common phrases around our house.  But I had the view of “Eh, can’t change it, no point worrying about it”.  I didn’t want to be brought down by negative feelings, I was good feeling happy.
But here’s the thing.  There are no negative emotions, they all have a purpose, something they’re trying to tell us.  And getting addicted to that happy feeling can actually be a really bad thing for you and contrary to what positivity is.
When we constantly fool ourselves into thinking everything is OK when it’s not, we risk never facing a problem or emotion head on, and instead risk allowing it to escalate and  spiral out of control. Positivity isn’t about blindly smiling our way through life, it’s about recognising when things are tough and actively looking for ways to improve them.  It’s a subtle but important difference.  My partner’s a smart cookie, and she helped me learn to do this.  Because it is hard, nobody likes confronting those difficult or painful experiences.  But taking ownership of our life and actively looking for ways to drive it in the direction we want, rather than pretending everything is fine…that’s how we attain positivity.  A positive mind is the one that can admit “this is tough”, but also know that you’ve got what it takes to pull through.
It’s like BLAME.  Blame naturally shifts the focus outside us, and makes us the victim.  When we’re a victim we can only see the negative, all the bad that has been done TO us, rather than taking some personal responsibility.  That’s not to say that everything is always our fault, it’s not.  But when we blame less we actively look for reasons to move forward and be happy.  Brené Brown is a research professor who believes “that you have to walk through vulnerability to get to courage, therefore . . . embrace the suck”.   True positivity is about embracing all the suck that life throws at you, and still getting up each day to try and make it better.
In today’s newsletter we’ll start to look at some ideas focussed on bringing more positivity into our lives, and into our mindsets.

Tag @NathanwhiteMCA on Twitter and use the hashtag #positivity to share
Step up

ATTENDANCE for all is a must. Pupils who are on time and are fully engaged, make more progress. They go on to have better life choices. Step up to the mark.
"If you are positive, you'll see opportunities instead of obstacles" - Confucius

This week I was very fortunate to have been able to chat with the Dr of Happiness himself, Andy Cope founder of The Art of Brilliance.

Andy was generous enough to give up his time in-between webinars to talk about:

- his work supporting schools, children and professionals with positive psychology
- 2%ers and how they stay positive
- post-traumatic growth and staying positive in a pandemic
- the power of thinking of others
On this week's tea@2 I'll be flying solo.  So come and join me, and join in the chat about staying positive in the face of negative life events and more.  

Follow Andy all he does to promote positivity and brilliance here: 

Sleep is so important to all aspects of our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.  Here are two great apps that can really help with sleep troubles.  Both offer a free trial period before you decide whether to buy or not. 
Just click the image.

enables pupils and their families to create a fresh sense of perspective whilst developing their talents and interests.
"Good words are worth much, and cost little." - George Herbert
Two of my least favourite phrases of all time:
  • It will soon be...
  • When [x]...happens...[y]
We're all guilty of using these phrases, especially when times are particularly tough.  "Don't worry, it will soon be half term" or "when lockdown is over we'll be able to...".  All that phrases like these serve to do is to delay happiness, they help to keep people trapped in their current mood rather than lift them out.  When we spend our lives looking to the future for our happiness, we create a cage of negativity for ourselves in the present.  There are always things about the present we can focus on which will improve our mood without dismissing what's going on.  A gratitude practice is great for his, and we'll look at this more in a minute.

The words we use, our self-talk, have a massive impact on our experience of life.  How often have you said something like the following to yourself:
  • I can't do that,
  • I don't deserve it,
  • I'm not as good as,
  • There's no point in even trying.
Now, how often would you say one of those things to your loved ones?  You wouldn't, right?  Telling your child they're not good enough for decent friends, or your partner that they don't deserve a job that makes them happy? The thought of it is just plain wrong.  Why would anyone deliberately say such hurtful things to their loved ones?  Well, it's what many of us tell ourselves on a daily basis.  Words matter.  The words we tell ourselves have as much of an impact on us as they would if someone else said them to us. Feed yourself a diet of negativity and you'll believe it, it will shape your world and your view of yourself.  Feast on positive self talk and you'll not only believe you can achieve more, you actually will achieve more.  

Positive self talk helps to create a positive life outlook: helps to create a positive life.

Let us know how you get on with changing your self talk by tagging @NathanwhiteMCA on Twittter and use the hashtag #positivity to share 
"The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see" - Mary Davis

Gratitude literally changes the chemistry of the brain.  Pretty cool, right.  But don't take my word for it.  Just type the word gratitude into google (other search engines available 😉) and you'll find dozens of articles ready to show you the science.  When we have more gratitude in our lives it helps us to become happier, more positive people. Now, it's often hard to feel gratitude when there are a lot of negative life events going on around us, but that's just when we need it most.  Something to fall back on to lift us out of the dark and into the light of positivity again.  So, whenever you're feeling fine, in top spirits, no need to boost your positivity battery; that's when you need to start the practice, and keep at it every day so that when you do slip into a less positive place (and guaranteed we all will at some point) it comes as second nature to you, and you can pull yourself out all the more easily.

So, what is a gratitude practice?  Well, it really is as simple as it sounds.  It's just about being grateful for what you have in your life.  It's a cornerstone to most contemplative practices, and whenever I teach it we start small and build up from there (it really can be incredibly hard to start with, but ends up getting much easier).
  1. Find somewhere quiet
  2. Ground yourself with some focussed breathing
  3. Think of 3 things your grateful for in your life: 1 person, 1 place, 1 thing
  4. Gently bring yourself back to full awareness
Once you've done this a couple of times try and build up to 5 things, and then 10.  When you get really good at it you can challenge yourself to a week or a month of 10 things a day that have to be things you've not mentioned before.  

What we find is that once we have a regular gratitude practice it's harder to be taken out of positivity. But when it does happen it's much easier and quicker to bounce back, simply by focussing on those things we're grateful for.

Let us know how you get on with creating a gratitude practice by tagging @NathanwhiteMCA on Twitter and use the hashtag #positivity to share 
Random acts of kindness
"Happy people are disproportionately other-orientated"
- Prof. Laurie Santos

Professor Laurie Santos is a world famous cognitive scientist, professor of psychology, and creator of possibly the most popular university course ever, with her wellbeing course at Yale University having been subscribed to by over 3,000,000 people worldwide.
Yet one of her central tenants is the same advice my Nan raised me kind to others!

Professor Santos cites the research that shows even when you force people to do good for others it improves their own wellbeing more than if they had just been focussed on improving their own wellbeing themselves.  She talks about the 'mini windfalls of Covid19' as a way of doing this now.  Many of us are now working remotely, which means we are potentially saving time and money, eg:
  • no commute time,
  • bus fare or petrol savings,
  • no daily/weekly coffee shop trip,
  • holiday savings when travel banned
What Professor Santos suggests is that instead of re-purposing these funds and time to help ourselves we would be better directing them towards others.  For example, use your commute time to do some volunteer work, or donate that extra couple of pounds bus fare each day to charity.  The evidence shows that these acts of kindness to others will do more for improving your wellbeing than focussing on yourself.  

With improved wellbeing comes improved positivity.

Let us know how you get on by tagging @NathanwhiteMCA on Twittter and use the hashtag #positivity to share 
Looking for more advice on children's wellbeing?  Try one of these links:

ATTENTION and focus are key learning behaviours that pupils are taught. Pupils learn how to organise their ideas, accelerate progress and achieve the highest standards. 
Self expression matters...
Last week I asked you to share your #selfexpression examples.  We had some lovely examples of children (and adults) expressing themselves creatively.
Just WOW!  When this happened on our Year 1 morning meeting we were all stunned into silence.  We just had to ask for a recording to share with everyone, and here it is.  Any music producers out there ready to snap these two up?
You can let us know each week how you're looking after your wellbeing using the following hashtags on Twitter:


Each Wellbeing Wednesday we'll consider a different aspect of wellbeing that we can all share some tips on with each other.  This week, how do you stay positive?  Is it always possible?

Dates for your diary 

Weekly Wellbeing Class Chats - Every Friday

Together we can... catch up with our friends and share something we’re proud of.

YN - Fri 1.30-1.50

YR - Fri 2.00-2.20

Y1 - Y5 - Fri 2.15-2.45

Y6 - Fri 9.00-9.30

A chance for us to share a story, then move into smaller groups and have time for the children to chat to each other, not just to their teacher.

Behaviour Workshop: How can I prepare & create a positive learning environment? - Tuesday 23rd February, 7:30pm

DEVELOPING the talents and interests of our pupils and their families sits at the heart of our ‘Together we can…’ ethos. Empowerment fuels improvement for all. 
Daily lockdown anthems | Do you have any requests? | Press & play
Press and play. You can't always choose the situation you're in, you can always choose how you respond to it.  This week's 'song' is more an example of how we can find some positivity in anything if only we're prepared to look for it.

Any Mayflower family dances you want to share?  
Remote Learning has its benefits, but long days of screen time is not one of them. So what do we do to counter this?

This brilliant video highlights and shares the importance of screen breaks in order to balance the day. Class Teachers have very carefully managed your remote timetables to ensure you have plenty of opportunities for rest, fresh air and exercise. It is very important that you take full advantage of these breaks to stand up and stretch. Thank you very much to Mr White for making such a fantastic and useful film. 
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