Reflections & Connections: Blog Post One

My first few weeks of “UNIV 391: The Science of Happiness” have exceeded my expectations for the course.   This is not to say that I had low expectations for the course; on the contrary, I entered this course with a great deal of optimism and curiosity.  What could a course on “The Science of Happiness” really be about?  Shorty after the first class meetings, I found my interest in the course reaffirmed.  There have already been several topics that have both drawn new interest and helped me to make connections with other facets of my life.

Such a connection was made early in the course when we were presented with information about how much we are effected by our genetic makeup, in contrast to our environment.  As an assignment we were to compose a family tree of a specific trait or characteristic and trace it back through generations.  It was interesting for me to find how common, or uncommon, a specific trait was among my family; as well as to try to figure out whether it was because of genetics, environment, or other factors.  This was insightful for me, as I found that there was a unique yet indistinguishable pattern running in my family, of which I am a sort of “beneficiary”.   I believe that another valuable connection was made while reviewing both positive psychology and character traits.  I was able to perhaps step back and, in a kind of out-of-body way, assess myself and deepen my understanding of why I may take certain actions.

I could also make connections in the presented material itself.  I could see a direct relationship between the positive psychology practices (PERMA) and how they could be used to aid depression.  Also valuable to me was the information on depression itself.  I was surprised at the different classifications, which I then used in reflection of certain patterns in both myself and my family.  During this reflection, I reminded myself of the concept of nature vs. nurture, which caused me to find slight conflict.  I questioned whether the experiences of my family, which had depression-like effects, could have possibly been a result of being reared (nurtured) in a way as to depress emotions or feelings (a direct effect from the environment).  Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to the rest of the semester and the developments that I will make while applying the information to myself and those around me.





20 thoughts on “Reflections & Connections: Blog Post One

  1. It’s cool how you were able to relate this course not only to you but to your entire family as well! The family tree also helped me to see a lot of characteristics I have with my family. There are times where I am like my mom when I get angry and there are times where I am like my dad and I also question if it is because of nature or if I just developed it from them through seeing them be angry.

  2. It’s so interesting to me your outlook on the family tree activity because i I felt the same about it. I came to a realization that I never really thought to take the time and just look back at the ways in which my family and I are alike and different and what could possibly be driving these traits and how they affect us all.

  3. The connection between genetics & our personality surprised me as well! I used to think genetics only influenced hair color & diseases, but now realizing that personality traits could also be passed on completely surprises me and intrigues me to delve further into other traits that could be passed on. Similar to you and your realization of the correlation of depression in your family, I’ve been thinking more and more about the correlations seen in my family!

  4. I am really interested in the same topic as you- nature vs. nurture. Although I have learned about these in previous courses, it was brought to a new light in this class. I am glad you have benefited from the lectures, and learned more about your family traits and been able to explore such topics. best, abigail

  5. I have so many questions while reading your post. Even though we learned that PERMA can be used to help others who suffer from disorders, I’m interested in how. You brought up depression. So I’m really interested in your opinion. How can PERMA be used to aid someone suffering from depression? Each of the pieces of PERMA can be useful to anyone. For example “Meaning” : being able to relay to someone who is suffering that there is more to life than just pain. Then giving them specific example. Maybe they have a daughter or a mother who relies on them. Maybe they created a bucket list. Or what about “Engagement”? Have they found something that they can do and zone out with?
    What do you think?

    • I believe PERMA to be more beneficial in terms of mental health and not so much illness; which I believe to be the case in my own family, although some are certainly suffering from depression. In regards to my post, I was wondering if such aspects of PERMA as positive emotion could aid in their mental health, seeing as though I do not believe they are suffering depression. As covered in class, strategies which employ positive emotions could help to alleviate problems rooted in negative ones (i.e. deression and other stress-related problems). Truly, I believe that the basis for my considering PERMA as an aid resulted from an initial elimination of depression as the root problem, opting instead for a compromise in the mental health of some of my family members.

  6. I am happy for you that you are getting such a positive experience from this class ( I am as well)! Your thoughts on nature vs nurture regarding family depressing gave me something to think about as well. Great job!

  7. I completely agree with you about the family tree activity. I was able to learn a lot about my family and how alike we are even though it doesn’t seem like it. And the correlation with positive psychology and aiding depression is so interesting, because I was thinking the same thing. I was wondering if it would be possible to help people using positive psychology.

  8. I totally agree with this post because environments plays a vital role in terms of emotions and our daily routines. I think after learning about positive psychology we all will be have some kind of positive impact in our life. Positive Psychology has been one of my favorite lectures in this class and I am hoping to learn more about it. After completing the family tree assignment, I feel like everyone in the class has learned a lot about their family.

  9. I felt the exact same way when I saw this course, and even my mom was like “really? You don’t need to take that.” I took this class out of curiosity and the want to learn the science behind happiness so that I could apply it to my daily life to be happier. I find it interesting that you were able to connect some of what we learned to your family, because I was able to do the same when we talked about genetic influences on behaviors. Great blog post!

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