I have learned many different lessons throughout the duration of this course. The major lessons I learned from the content this semester is the importance of practicing mindfulness, the significant impact positive psychology has on one’s behavior and mental/emotional well-being, the importance of focusing on one’s strengths instead of dwelling on weaknesses, and even the influence one’s personality may have one them possibly possessing addictive qualities. Of the many major lessons I’ve learned in this course, the topics that were most meaningful to me was learning the importance of practicing mindfulness as well as the different ways in which one can be mindful, the advantages of focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses, and as well as tracking and managing automatic negative thoughts.
Growing up, I was often known was the sensitive friend/ loved one, who was often stressed, anxious, and sometimes negative. Although it bothered me to be perceived in such a way, I had great difficulty attempting to change it. My thoughts were often negative, which in turn influenced my behavior and interactions with others, how I viewed myself, and even my academic performance. This class forced me to focus on the good qualities that I have, and ones that others seem to admire about me. Keeping in my my god qualities makes it easier to forgive myself when making mistakes, makes it easier to bond with others due to the desire to share with others qualities that may positively influence them, etc. I have found that I am more aware of my thoughts and how much I allow them to influence me. When negative thoughts enter my mind, I’m happy to say that I quickly replace them with more optimistic, positive thoughts. Doing so has resulted in me being less anxious and stressed, and has even allowed for me to rekindle friendships that I may have severed due to the negative tendencies I used to have. I also contribute this change to the start of practicing mindfulness. Every day I take alt least 30 minutes to sit, relax, and enjoy the moment. For example, for the past few weeks I have been taking walks just to enjoy nature and all of the beauty it has to offer. I take the time to admire the sky, the birds chirping, and even the graceful movement of the lakes and ponds. I even take a moment to watch people and admire that similarities and differences we all possess whether it be the way we walk, dress, and even talk. These are the moments where I am the least stressed, anxious, and I am the most happy and grateful. Through these moments I am able to enjoy the day regardless of the negative situations that may occur.
Another aspect about this class that I enjoyed the most and learned a lot from are the opportunities it provided to attend different programs. While I genuinely enjoyed our class yoga session, I believe my favorite program that I attended during this semester was the Wellness Friday program hosted by OSMA. During this program students gave a presentation about the importance of mindfulness and even allowed the students in the audience to share their thoughts on mindfulness. To my surprise, I was able to freely express myself and share my thoughts during this session. We even had a mini yoga session.
I plan on sharing the information that I have learned through this course while having everyday conversations and even through sharing nice videos and info graphics I may see online. I also plan on sharing this information with my family by telling them about the science of happiness course. I have a little cousin that will be attending VCU this upcoming academic year, I have already started taking to her about this course and how imperative it is that she takes it, so that receives all of the resources that she needs to be be academically successful, and physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy.
I believe this image best summarizes what I learned this semester, because I have come to realize insightful it is. When a speaker first introduced this quote I didn’t quite agree with it. I felt it wasn’t that easy to be happy, simply because you wanted to. I also felt that there are many others factors that influences whether one could be happy or not. I have now come to the understanding that although there are many factors that influences one’s happiness, it is up to that individual how much they allow those factors to influence them. It is possible to be happy even in the face of adversity simply because you are fully in control with how you allow outside factors to influence you.