I noticed that the common factor in the topics covered in the past 5 weeks is one’s self. For Social Emotional Learning (SEL), one of the skills is self-awareness. I strongly believe that if you do not know what works for you and what doesn’t, then it will impact how you interact with others and how everything else will impact you. I think it’s important to recognize our strengths and our weaknesses, which can sometimes be the same thing, in order to grow as an individual. For example, I’ve been told that I am a perfectionist. It is my strength because I am very detailed-oriented, I continuously push myself in order to see how far I can go, and I will put in more than 100% in what I do. However, this is also my weakness because I will obsess over minor things and there will be times I will feel unsatisfied with what I’ve created because I’ll feel as though I could’ve done better or done something differently.
So before going on to developing the other skills that make up SEL (self-management, relationship skills, responsible decision-making, and social awareness), we have to “recognize our own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence our behavior” as well as “assess one’s strengths and limitations”. SEL relates to what we learned during the first 5 weeks since we took the VIA survey for our positive psychology exercise in order to determine what our individual strengths were and in which skills we needed to improve on. I thought the “304 Ways to Use Your Strengths” document that Dr. Walsh shared with the class was useful in order to accomplish this. I’ve only looked at how to use my top strength, which is Appreciation for Beauty & Excellence, just to see how I’ve incorporated it into my daily life but I plan on looking at my lowest 5 skills (forgiveness, spirituality, humility, perseverance, and prudence) in order to further develop them.
When I saw that we would be touching on mindfulness, I was really excited since I find it very useful and enjoy practicing it! Mindfulness allows us to become fully aware of our current emotions and thoughts that are going through our head at the present moment. By practicing mindfulness, we are able to bring our attention back to things we lose sight of/control over when we are overwhelmed by internal and external factors that affect our overall well-being, such as the way we breathe, our heartbeat, the sensations we feel throughout our entire body, etc. This allows us to return to a neutral/calm state in order to figure out how to tackle what is that we’re struggling with. I felt that this topic was relevant to depression and mood states as well as positive psychology since mindfulness has been used as a coping method for those who struggle with their mental health. It relates to Fredrickson’s Broaden and Build Theory because by practicing mindfulness, we’ll be aware of what is negatively affecting us and how to cope with these negative emotions to return to a positive mood by utilizing other coping strategies (ex: reaching out to people in our support system).
The other topics, Emotional Resilience in a Digital Age, Positive Relationships, and Getting to Know Yourself also focus on one’s self since how we view ourselves can be impacted by technology, others, and by our own thoughts. We unconsciously use technology more than we think we do and are often distracted by it rather than utilizing it to our advantage by being productive, neglect taking care of other responsibilities, or divert our attention on what we are doing or who we are interacting with. I don’t know when I began to realize I felt this way, but the constant overflow of messages and notifications that appear on my phone’s screen make me extremely anxious. There are days I wish I could just throw away my phone and not worry about it, but it’s difficult to do that since I use my phone to keep in touch with others and stay up-to-date about my interests via social media. With Apple’s recent update, I’ve been able to limit my phone usage using the Screen Time service and keep track of how often I use my phone (ex: how much time I spend on social media), which I think is something we can all benefit from since our phones are a huge distraction.
Another reason why I try to reduce my phone usage, especially with social media, is because I find myself comparing myself to others. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does I do feel bad about myself, mostly when I see posts in regards to body image and overall appearance. I’m somewhat insecure about my skin (I’ve been dealing with acne for as long as I can remember) and my weight even though I’m considered skinny, but because we are the ones living in our bodies, no one will ever understand why we feel the way we do even if we perceive each other’s “flaws” as “goals”. It also doesn’t help that what other people post make us feel like we need to change our appearances or that they’re living a more fulfilling life. But not everything is as it seems since most people tend to share only the positive things that occur in their lives.
So depending on how we utilize technology is whether it can positively or negatively impact us. We use it as a way to stay in touch with close ones, which is how this topic intertwines with positive relationships. Positive relationships deals with all types of relationships: the one we have with ourselves, acquaintances, friends, family, and significant others. I feel as though the relationship we have with ourselves is something that is constantly changing since we ourselves are changing, for better or for worse. The people who we maintain relationships with are the ones who impact whether or not we grow or decline as an individual. I think it’s important to take a step back and reflect on the relationships we have with others and why we still do. I think about that a lot with my friends because with the ones I’ve been friends with for a while, I wonder if I’m still friends with them just because of our past or if I still genuinely like them. And with the new friends I’ve made in college, I wonder if our friendship will last when we no longer see each other in person as often. However, I am aware of who is a part of my support group, which is something we touched on during the positive relationships topic. They’re the ones I trust and can feel like I can be myself with and we genuinely care about each other. Like we stated in class, they’re the people who will be there for the good, the bad, and everything else in between. which I believe is something important for everyone to have. Without a support group, it can be detrimental for an individual since there is no one they can lean on and are most likely to fall into risky behaviors.
I chose the following image since in order to “conquer” one’s self, you must know yourself and for the reasons I explained above about how the topics covered were about ourselves.