27 June 2024

Happiness Week at Carey: embracing joy, wellbeing and social justice

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Happiness Week at Carey: embracing joy, wellbeing and social justice
Happiness Week at Carey: embracing joy, wellbeing and social justice
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This term at Carey, the Senior School has been filled with opportunities to connect, strengthen our community, and emphasise the importance of social justice. From cooking meals for Hawthorn Community House to today’s Winter Sports day, the variety of activities has been extensive, and our students' involvement and leadership have been commendable.

One of the term's highlights was attending our House Chapel Services, where each House supports different organisations reflecting our students' diverse interests. For example, Cartwright House supports the Afghan Women’s Association, showcasing our commitment to global social justice. Another significant initiative is our participation in Save the Children Australia Group’s Homework Club. Led by 54 Reasons leaders, a team of student volunteers supports the education of children from refugee backgrounds, helping to bridge educational gaps.

In April, the Quad buzzed with excitement on a Friday afternoon as our Community Leaders collaborated with the Rotary Club of Canterbury on the FORaMEAL initiative. This community service outreach involved student volunteers packing 12,600 emergency relief meals in just 90 minutes, providing sustenance to over 60,000 people affected by natural disasters. Such efforts reflect our dedication to making a tangible difference.

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To cap off a busy term, we’re celebrating Happiness Week at Carey, focussing on what makes us truly happy and fostering wellbeing for all. A survey of Senior School students revealed diverse sources of happiness: hugging pets, spending time with family and friends, enjoying summer, fitness, relaxing, eating chocolate, watching movies, travelling, practising gratitude and engaging in sports.

Research indicates that while external circumstances influence happiness, 50% of it is genetic, 40% depends on intentional activities and only 10% is circumstantial. This highlights that happiness is largely within our control. Here are some scientifically proven strategies to boost happiness:

  • Savour everyday moments: appreciate the simple, good things around you.
  • Prioritise experiences over materialism: experiences bring more joy than tangible items.
  • Give back: helping others through volunteering or small acts of kindness enhances your happiness.
  • Set meaningful goals: engage in activities that are both enjoyable and significant, such as volunteering.
  • Avoid comparisons: focus on personal achievements rather than comparing yourself to others.
  • Build relationships: strong social connections are the biggest predictor of happiness.
  • Smile more: a positive outlook can become a habit with practice.
  • Practice gratitude: regularly express gratitude and keep a gratitude journal.
  • Exercise: just seven minutes of exercise a day can boost your mood and self-esteem.
  • Get fresh air: optimal happiness is achieved at around 13.9°c.
  • Sleep well: healthy sleep patterns are crucial for wellbeing.
  • Meditate: regulate negative emotions and rewire your brain for happiness.

In the Senior School, we’ve organised various activities to promote happiness and wellbeing. We kicked off the week with Gratitude Day, featuring welcome stickers, hot chocolate before school and frisbee at lunchtime. On Wednesday, it was Crazy Tie and Sock Day with Music in the Quad. Today featured a Gratitude Wall and MasterChef. Finally, Friday is a casual clothes day and the Big Freeze, a community service fundraiser with a barbecue organised by our Environment Leaders, with proceeds going to Wildlife Activities. Fun activities include basketball, lacrosse, 10-pin bowling, quoits, soccer, Slip 'n Slide and an ice pool.

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The Happiness Week MasterChef contestants
The Happiness Week MasterChef contestants
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We hope these activities bring joy and a sense of wellbeing to our students. Happy Happiness Week and happy holidays!

Frédérique Petithory
Acting Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Learning

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