Week 14: Positive Education

In this article, the author(s) discuss about how positive education has a great impact on a student’s overall well-being. They even go into how in some schools, similar to ours, that have a class that teaches mindfulness and how to cultivate positive emotions. It was surprising to see that there are some schools out there that also have a class similar to Science of Happiness. It is not a required class and can easily be looked over if some students have fulfilled most of their requirements for what they are studying. The class also appears to have very little importance to what a student is majoring in, however, they don’t know how helpful this class can be for them. We are aware of eating healthy, getting enough sleep and exercise is important for our health, but we never look into how much happiness it gives us.

Learning about positive psychology has become quite an experience for me and I’m able to view the world in more of an optimistic light. Mindfulness is still something I need to work on, but it is a slow process.

Week 13: Weak Ties

Throughout my days in school, I have some conversations with friends before we go our separate ways for class or to study. It isn’t essential, but the little conversations I have brighten my day.  In this  week’s article, they discuss strong ties and weak ties between the people you talk to. The friends I discussed before, I don’t have a strong tie with them, but I don’t think of them as just acquaintances either. Then again, despite us not being close to one another, I still see them as a valuable part of my daily life this semester.

I found this article to be quite interesting and I do agree that conversing with someone does make your day. It doesn’t matter if you are the closest buddies or if you just met today, talking to someone could make your day even better.

What were your thoughts on the article?

Week 12: Forgiveness

Forgiveness can come easy to some, but for others, depending upon the situation, it can be hard to forgive that person. In this article, the author talks about the studies that have been done on forgiveness. I never once thought that forgiveness could have been something that could be studied. We never put much thought into it. We either forgive the person for their actions or we don’t. It sounds so simple. Then again, there are those that have gone through a ‘severity offense’ in which the offender has put the person through so much trauma that it becomes hard to forgive.

Personally, I would find it difficult to forgive someone who has hurt me in those ways, which is probably why there is a slower process in order for that person to be forgiven. Once that person has gone through the process, he or she is able to free themselves from their past by forgiving their offender. I can see how this will help many people that have gone through these situations, but my question is will they be able to forget? Will they be able to put aside what happened in the past and forgive their offender, or will their past continue to haunt them?

Week 11: Strengths

I found this article quite interesting. It goes into the strengths that we portray rather than our weaknesses. A questionnaire was done with University students, and the end result shows what their list of strengths in number of the first priority to least important. I was quite shocked to know that creativity was closer to the bottom rather than the top. Then again, that might be my artistic mind talking. I do believe though that creativity can be just as important as the other strengths that were listed. In the end though, you are forced to choose which of the ones listed are most important to you on a personal level.

Which of the traits listed did you think was important?

Week 10 – SUD

The article goes into depth about substance use disorders and how it affects the development of an adolescence’s brain and personality. It also goes into how a certain gene code can be found in many others that suffer with the same condition. What I found fascinating, as well as a refresher, that once we reached adolescence, our sensitivity to rewards heightens. During this time, we want to seek out ways to have fun and avoid what we feel is negative. It explains why teens engage in such risky behaviors. I don’t believe that this is the main reason to drive an adolescence to use drugs. Another factor that I believe plays a bigger role on the cause are personal issues with family or school and drinking or smoking  becomes an escape.

Did anyone else find something surprising about the article, or did you already know about these facts?

Week 9 – Relationships

Before going into the article, I already had an idea about how some people tend to choose their partner that resemble closely to their parents, but I never understood why. Once I read through the article, I was able to understand the reason a bit better. Our parents’ relationships play a big role in our socialization and how we act with our future spouses. I would compare my previous relationships to my parents and a few of them have some similarities to my dad. It is weird to think about, but all my life, I have been exposed to my parents’ relationship.

It isn’t something that we notice unless we really think about it or compare ourselves to our parents. Overall, I had a difficult time really getting into the article, but I understood what it was talking about. Did anyone else have a difficult time with the article or was it interesting to you?

Week 8 – Mindfulness

When I hear the word “mindfulness:, I think of someone becoming aware of their surroundings and taking time to think about what to say. After reading this article, I now know that there is more to mindfulness than what I originally thought. Mindfulness helps us focus on the now and clear our minds of thoughts that may distract us from our main priority. While I continued reading through the article, I was curious about what negatives it may have. There may be one or two areas where it does go into how mindfulness might not work for certain things, but is cleared through studies that have been done on it before. One example of that was when the article goes into future goals. When you are in a state of mindfulness, you would be focused on the now, not what may lie in the future. Then again, in order to strive for a goal, there needs to be motivation which mindfulness surprisingly has. Instead of using  extrinsic motivation to push you further, autonomous motivation is more involved. Autonomous motivation can actually last longer and proven to be a more positive experience than extrinsic motivation. I may have to keep that in mind since I have a hard time motivating myself at times.

I am curious on whether or not mindfulness also involves meditation. Does anyone else have any ideas? What are your thoughts on mindfulness?

Week 7: Positivity

When I started reading this article, I found it difficult to really get into it, however, I did understand the point of it. Positive emotions can do the body well and affect the way you react to your surroundings. It was something that I was already aware of before, but taking the initiative to be more positive proves to be difficult. Similar to what the article had said, positive emotions can be fleeting, so it may only last a moment until something else brings down the mood.

I know that exercising and taking cold showers in the morning can help boost your mood for the day, but are their ways to maintain that? If something sets you back or brings you down, what do you usually do to help you get through it in order to become positive again?

Week 5: Sleep can affect GPA?

Sleep deprivation affects both mind and body, so it is no surprise that it will negatively impact someone’s GPA. Social support from friends though was very unexpected. I have heard how socializing with peers can help improve a person’s mood, but I never thought that it would have a negative impact on a person’s studies.

The article was quite eye opening for me because I am one of those few that stay up late and wake up later on weekends. There are times when I don’t feel hungry and skip breakfast entirely or I just grab a snack as my morning meal before heading out. I never thought that these things would have that much of an effect on my studies. After reading this article, I felt like I needed to change my routine to see if that will help my studies, even just a little bit.

Is anyone else thinking the same thing or was this something you already knew?

Week 4: Depression

Depression can affect many people, some more than others. The article goes into how depression is often diagnosed with wealthier individuals. The reason for that is because not many families can afford the medication or therapy for someone with depression. Some might not even think of it as a big problem and try to tread through life, despite their depression that is always lingering over them.

I found the studies they did with those with mild depression, or having suicidal thoughts, was very interesting. In both studies, they were looking into how transcranal magnetic stimulation (TMS) will help those with severe depression. Individuals with severe depression need a stimulant in their brain that offers more positivity. In one study, Mark George randomly assigned two groups, one that will receive transcranal magnetic stimulation (TMS) treatment, while the other group was given a sham treatment. Both groups’ thoughts of suicide decreased and proceeded for 6 months after treatment. Another study was to look into patients prior to either treatments and the results remained the same.

The studies were interesting to me because of the sham treatment. Their brains will think that this treatment is making them feel better, when in reality, it is themselves. To me, it does show that we can power through the difficulties with depression on our own, but we still need that guidance to help us through it.

After reading this article, I decided to look at the suicide rates to see how high or low on the chart the U.S. was. In the World Health Organization chart done in 2012, we were ranked 50 out of 170 tying with Uruguay. That is pretty high on the scale. Maybe if those with severe or even minor depression were given the treatment needed to live a happier life, our ranking may change, hopefully lower.

I am curious about what other countries have thought about doing for their people that have suicidal thoughts. Do other countries besides those in the article provide just as much care or little care?

Week 3: Positive Psychology

“…psychology is not just the study of pathology, weakness, and damage; it is also the study of strength and virtue.”

From what I was able to take from this article, psychology would look into more of how something can be prevented. I can’t quite recall which article it was, but it had talked about how we look into the negatives of a problem instead of looking into the positives. That is what this article goes into. When we view the negatives of a mental illness or how a person acts in general, we try to find ways how how to prevent further damage or correct his or her behavior. Then we have positive psychology that looks into happiness and what a person may be best at.

I liked the story about Martin Seligman and his daughter. It was quite shocking that a child, at the age of five, would say something like that. The reason I liked it though, was that even a kid at that age can make these kind of choices. I thought that once a child was in their teens or adolescence, he or she would come to realize that they should change how they react to situations.

The quote up above has now become one of my favorite quotes, not just from the article, but overall.  It shows that psychology is not just about the negatives, but also the positives. I never once thought of psychology as something negative, but a way to learn about how a human thinks and behaves. I am curious on what others think about psychology. Do you think of it as a negative, positive, or neither?

Week 2: Genetics or Environment

I started reading the article without looking at the title so I could go in blindly. That way, I had no predictions on what I may be getting into. Once the article went into studies of twins, I immediately thought that this will be an article about genetics. Similar to what the article had said, monozygotic twins share the same genes, so what ever disease or disorder that may have been passed down, both of them would have it. The article later goes into how alcoholism may be genetic or environmental. From the studies, it almost seemed that it could be either or.

Genetics play a big part of this article, but personally I believe that their environment has a bigger impact. There has always been an argument or theories on whether or not genetics plays a big role or their environment plays a big role to how the child behaves or grows. What I found a little odd was that the article went into parental-monitoring, but it didn’t go into how the parents may have abused alcohol in the past or start binge drinking later when they had children. It does make sense though that with little parent-monitoring, the child may or may not engage doing reckless activities, but the same would also go for those that have stricter parents.

My question for this article would be, if the parent(s) had done drugs/alcohol while pregnant, would the child also start using them at a young age? If the parent(s) drink/do drugs in front of the child, would that child be more likely to drink and do drugs?

Week 1: Flourishing

When I started reading the article, I imagined that it would be talking about mental illnesses such as ADHD, ADD, or from the Autism spectrum. I have witnessed and heard how many people with these mental disorders that have achieved great things. When I continued reading, that was when I realized I was very wrong. The article was quite interesting though. The mental disorders I discussed before are usually developed at a young age and stick with you for a while, but the ones discussed in the article can develop over time. A few examples can be depression, anxiety, and alcohol dependence.

The article went into how we try to find ways to prevent mental disorders or ways to have control over it, which is something I can relate to and understand. Someone with ADHD or ADD who tends to have a hard time focusing in class, they blame their disability and rely more on their medicine. It doesn’t have to be a bad though since the medication helps the person improve themselves and have a clear mind, however, it will not make the disability go away.

From what I read, I do wish that the article did go into other mental illness besides what it talked about. How would ADHD or ADD fit in? Would they be considered flourishing, languishing, or in between?