The power of a positive mindset

Posted 26 March 2020 2:23pm

We spoke to five students from across the School to discover how they are approaching this extraordinary time. From friends, family (pets included!) and taking up new activities, each of them offer something we can all learn from.

Year 6 students Maddie Miller and Sarah Shearer are both positive young students who love school and the opportunities it brings. While their co-curricular activities are on hold for the moment, both girls said they are taking the chance to spend more time with family…especially their pets.

“I like playing with my pets, because they always make me feel really happy,” said Sarah of her three dogs - Holly, Patchy and Rosie – and her cat, Coco.

“Like Sarah, I have a little dog called Ruby and she always brightens my day,” said Maddie. “And my sister had to come home from boarding school, so that’s also very nice because she keeps me happy and always entertains me.”

When asked whether their family activities have changed much due to social distancing and isolation, Maddie and Sarah mention they both live ‘out of town’ so things haven’t changed all that much.

“I live on a property, so there’s always something to do,” said Maddie.

Neither of the girls are concerned about the prospect of studying remotely and both have a positive outlook on the broader issue facing us all.

Maddie said, “I believe there’s going to be a cure, and it doesn’t really affect kids our age…we won’t get as sick as adults do.”

Meanwhile, Sarah looks to the time when things will return to ‘normal’: “Even if school does have to shut for a while it will re-open eventually and it’s not going to last forever.”

Year 9 student Annika Wilson suggests this period of uncertainty is the perfect time to discover new things in order to keep a positive mindset.

“Paint that sunset, make that dress, read that book. This period will be what you make of it, so make it the best it can be!”

She strongly believes that life is what you make it: “Positivity isn't hard to come by if you're looking for it. If you look for the negatives, then you find the negatives, but if you're actively seeking positivity, then that is what you will get.”

Tiffany Henson (Year 10) is used to keeping busy due to her involvement in countless co-curricular activities. Her advice is to make sure you keep doing what you love.

"Whether it’s spending more time doing what you enjoy, like piano, reading or baking, or doing basic things like getting out of bed in the morning before class, it is really important to focus on your own needs," said Tiffany.

"I also suggest setting a routine, or even just simple goals. For me, I have told myself by the end of this period of remote learning, I am going to have learned one piece of music on the piano, and to have gone on a walk every day.

"It might not be a lot, but it is a goal I have set for myself to keep my head in a happy place, despite what is going on.”

Saumya Nagar in Year 11 understands how overwhelming things can feel as a teenager and offers some simple advice to her peers during challenging times.

“First, know that you are not alone, there are multiple other students who feel stressed, lost or anxious occasionally and it's absolutely normal,” said Saumya.

Second, when you do feel overwhelmed it is really important to take care of yourself. For different people it comes in different forms, some students unwind through sports and other activities, while for others it's through pausing and reflecting on themselves,  so it's really important that you find something that enables you to de-stress and get back on track.

“Finally, when you feel like it's becoming too much to handle, I encourage you to talk to someone. It does not have to be a teacher or the counsellor, talk to your friends, other students or a trusted adult. But remember, it is much healthier to let go of what we're thinking, then letting it build up  inside of you.”

Thank you to these four optimistic young women for contributing to this article.