​The end of Semester 1 is within sight and the Year 11s and Year 12s have just gone through their exam periods. Teachers are in the middle of a peak for the year’s work and we are in the midst of winter with short days, long nights and much needed rain with cold weather. Of course, all of us are spending more time indoors and sharing whatever bugs we may have with each other. 

With the winter chill upon us, perhaps we should try and find some lighter moments in life.  We should be looking for things that make us laugh. We can watch or read something comical, or seek out people who make us laugh. We should be looking for the humorous side of things and not be ashamed to laugh. 

However, often we will not laugh because our workplaces can be serious, or we are afraid we will look silly or unprofessional. Even more frighteningly, perhaps we just don’t laugh enough in general. 

We have all heard the quote: Laughter is the best medicine - but we may not be so familiar with  Charlie Chaplin’s words: I believe in the power of laughter and tears as an antidote to hatred and terror.

The physiological impacts of laughter are well researched and marked: It is a powerful antidote to stress and pain; it can leave us relaxed for up to 45 minutes; it releases endorphins that make us feel great and lowers stress hormones; it can help the blood vessels function more effectively and, as a result, even help us live longer. Laughter can ease anxiety and tension, improve moods and strengthen resilience.

So we need to find opportunities to laugh, not at the expense of others, but with others. Often we are drawn to people who make us laugh because of all the benefits of laughter. This week at Senior School Assembly, I had planned for a ‘laugh’ opportunity by showing a very bad Star Wars lip reading video that made very little sense, but raised a few chuckles. However, due to an outstanding School Leaders’ Assembly on individuality and caring for each other, the opportunity never arose. The message that they conveyed provides a clear segue to not being afraid to have fun and laugh, as long as it is not at the expense of others. 

I hope that over the break you do find the opportunity to spend some time together with family and friends to have a good laugh. 

I look forward to seeing everyone back at School smiling for the start of Term 3. 

Simon Shepherd

PS The website below has more on the power of laughter if you want to read it. I’ve also included the bad Stars Wars Link we would have watched in Assembly if you are looking for some humour from The Empire Strikes Back.