I still can’t wrap my head at the fact that this is the last week of classes! It is that time of the semester to look back at the last few months and reflect on what I have learned in this class.
A major lesson that I have learned about this semester and that is of great meaning to me would be the topic of positive psychology. I think it is safe to say that we all have something going on in our lives that can at times get the best of us. This semester has been a huge eye-opener and stressful one because I am currently trying to figure out if I am in the right major and if this is where I want to be for the next two years of my undergraduate studies. Since being introduced to methods to flourish as an individual through the PERMA model, I can see a slight change in the way I go about dealing with situations. Through the PERMA model, I have made a connection relating to positive relations. For instance, in class we learned about the importance of surrounding ourselves with positive and people that will allow us to grow as an individual. This topic stuck out to me because, for the most part, I enjoy the people that I surround myself with, but there are a few individuals that I question if I should continue having a friendship with. I think it easier to tell someone to cut an individual out of your life that is bringing you down, but it is a lot more complex to do so if the person has confided in you with all their problems. I do not want to simply let these individuals go because I know they need help, but I also want to grow as a positive individual. Another major lesson that I learned in class was the whole concept of substance abuse. Although I have learned about alcoholism and drugs throughout middle school and high school, it is another thing to learn about it in college. For instance, now that most of us are adults, we are becoming aware and seeing first-hand individuals suffer from substance abuse. I personally have friends who are occasional drinkers, but I am glad that I am aware of what to do if in fact one of my friends ever need help. I am also glad to know that VCU offers many resources such as Rams in Recovery and The Well. Lastly, I would like to mention that we should all be aware of the huge substance abuse problem that many individuals are sadly facing because it can happen to any one of us.
I can apply the PERMA and the positive relations in my personal and professional life by surrounding myself with people who are career driven, motivated, and determined to continue bettering themselves. Additionally, if there is ever a situation where a family, friend, or future co-worker is experiencing hardships with substance abuse I will be able to intervene and be a support system and an ally.
Although it was hard to begin, I have made a couple of positive changes in my life, the first being incorporating mindfulness into my everyday life. Since learning about the positive effects that mindfulness brings to an individual, I took it upon myself to begin partaking in mindfulness exercises before and after bed by listening to mindfulness exercises on Youtube. I must admit that things were going well for about a week as I was consistent with watching these videos, but eventually, I stopped watching the videos. I noticed that after I was done with the mindfulness videos, I still managed to stay up late checking my social media. I knew this method of mindfulness was not ideal for me so I decided to incorporate a different method of mindfulness in my everyday life which has been meditation. This time around, I set up a yoga matte in a corner of my room so I can be reminded to meditate daily. My yoga matte has been on the ground ever since and whenever I am feeling stressed (which has been daily), I take about half an hour of my day to meditate; sometimes I do it a couple of times a day. This method has worked wonders for me because I pass by yoga matte daily so I am constantly reminded to take time to myself and relax. Another mindfulness activity that I was introduced through this class and continue to use is the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. For those of you who don’t remember, this breathing exercise consists of: breathing in through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, and finally exhaling for eight seconds. This breathing exercise has been a great addition to my life because I use it almost daily, especially when I am working on my assignments or right before I take an exam. I encourage you guys to also try this breathing exercise, especially in these upcoming weeks! I still need to work on the strengths that I scored low on from the VIA Strengths Survey. I think it is important to be aware of your strengths and weakness especially your weakness. I would like to work on improving my bottom five weaknesses because there is always room for improvement. Additionally, it is great to have concrete strengths in place in order to complete various tasks or simply interacting with other individuals.
It is important to take what we learned in class and reciprocate that knowledge to our social network, especially our personal network and social media network. I plan on continuing to post on my social media accounts my journey with mindfulness meditation. Regarding my personal network, I can share with my family and friends what I have learned in this class. I can also share with them what activities have helped me and have them partake in those activities as well.