you are what you eat?

you are what you eat?

Last week, I was assigned to the ‘eat’ exercise. I did something like this in high school, having to log in everything I ate during the day for an entire week. It got old really fast, and sometimes I forgot to even do it. I didn’t care. Why does it matter what I eat? Why is something like this a grade? These are some of the questions I asked my ignorant high school self. During that time I was a pretty healthy person, but I didn’t understand why logging everything you chew and swallow on a website mattered. To me it was just a waste of time. The importance of it never got through to me. My mindset completely changed this week.

Logging my meals on SuperTracker and keeping up with the journal held me accountable. It opened my eyes to the things I’m putting into my body and the moods I’m in when I do so. Looking at my journal, I notice that when I was in a bad mood or feeling stressed I either didn’t eat at all or ate too much. When I overate, I was typically eating foods that aren’t nutritious or beneficial to my health. Welcome to college, right? No. Being an “overworked” college student isn’t an excuse to treat my body like this.If anything, I should be helping it when I’m not happy or stressed. In class we discussed that too much or too little of essential nutrients can disrupt how our body functions, and I certainly don’t want that. My body does so much for me, not to mention I only have one, and I should start to thank it with a healthier diet. I was a “health freak” when I first came to college, exercising for hours every day and always being conscious of what I ate. Since my freshman year, I have gotten busier and busier, which caused me to start putting my health on the back burner. This week made me realize that this isn’t okay. I won’t give up cheeseburgers and pizza ever, but the activity this week made me realize that I need to be more aware of what I’m eating. Something else I have started to think about is that what I eat is closely related to the amount of sleep I get and how often I exercise. When I sleep well, I eat well. When I exercise, I do the same. This all greatly affects my mood and what I am able to get done during the day. Logging in what you eat isn’t a waste of time because it has the ability to change your entire outlook on what you put into your body and the way you will move forward in the future. Eat the cake, pull the all nighter, and skip the treadmill. It’s okay. What’s important is that these behaviors don’t become a pattern.

out of the box

out of the box

I thought this week’s material was sort of complicated, but extremely beneficial at the same time. In class we talked about being “in the box” and how it involves us being blind to our roles in certain relationships. It’s seeing people as irrelevant and labeling them as unimportant. In the book “Leadership and Self-Deception”, Tom is definitely “in the box”. He creates problems unknowingly and by being in the box, he perpetuates his conflicts and makes them worse. Dr. Wu-Pong made the point that people oftentimes perpetuate problems by finding allies in others, which just leads to collusion. I am definitely guilty of this at times because I want people to agree with me and be on my side even when I know I’m wrong. I quickly learned that this “satisfaction” doesn’t last long and only makes matters worse. Dr. Wu-Pong also told a story about her mom and how when she called to talk about her day, she listened but didn’t hear what her mom had to say. She gave quick answers without true acknowledgement. This is something I tend to do. When people talk to me about things they are interested in or want to share, I don’t always hear what they have to say or respond in ways that show I care. Dr. Wu-Pong made the point that people can pick up on our behaviors, and I totally agree. She also said that we are hard wired to be hypocrites. This comes into play in my own life because I expect everyone to listen to what I have to say, but I don’t even listen to them. As said in class “we create the behavior we criticize”. We tend to complain when we are treated in ways we don’t like or approve of, without even realizing that we may be exhibiting the exact same behavior. This is something I wish to change moving forward. I need to focus more on how I am behaving towards others instead of only worrying about how others are behaving towards me.

Another thing we discussed in class were hot buttons and schemas. Dr. Wu-Pong described how schemas are our emotional personalities and how we view the world. She said that the way we view things is oftentimes distorted because we can either see things that aren’t there or amplify what is already present. One of my biggest hot buttons is when I feel as if I’m not being appreciated by those I care about. When I feel this way, I tell myself I’m not doing enough, which just leads to me getting upset and shutting down. I now realize I feel this way due to how I view the world. When reading “Emotional Alchemy”, a lot of the schemas applied to me but the one that hit home the most was perfectionism. I am extremely hard on myself when I don’t get the results I want. As it said in the article, this causes me to work much harder than I have to, which 100% relates to me. I always go above and beyond while holding myself to very high standards, but it just ends up making me feel that everything I do is never good enough. This schema pushes me to the point where I become so stressed that my relationships and “ability to enjoy life’s pleasures” rapidly decline. I feel that I’m doing so much for not only myself, but for others, and when they don’t “recognize” it, I tell myself I’m unworthy. Because I’m a perfectionist I push myself to do more and more, which causes me to feel unappreciated when I now realize that I actually am  appreciated. We talked about flipping our maladaptive beliefs in class and thinking about how we are being treated in a different light. When I think I’m not being appreciated, I’m probably the one not being appreciative or that person is appreciating me, but because I hold myself and others to such a high standard due to my perfectionism, I can’t even see it.

This week was really important to me and it made me realize how I view the world is how others may view me. It’s important to approach relationships with a heart @ peace like Dr. Wu-Pong said. I’m going to carry this with me in the future because treating people like objects never helps a situation. Recognizing our schemas while treating people like people is how I think we can become much better versions of ourselves.

g i v e kindness

g i v e kindness

When I think about acts of kindness and what they consist of, I think of so many different possibilities. To me acts of kindness are something we do every day without even realizing it. They can range from smiling at somebody or holding the door open to donating your time and energy to a cause that is close to your heart. This week in class, Dr. Armstrong discussed positive emotions, and I think these emotions easily relate to performing acts of kindness. Human flourishing is about not only feeling good, but doing good. When we allow ourselves to experience more positive emotions, we broaden our span of possibilities that are sometimes right there in front of us. In the article “The Role of Positive Emotions”, it states that they broaden our momentary thoughts and actions. The broaden-and-build  theory suggests that specific positive emotions, like joy, interest, love and pride, all have the ability to expand our thought processes. This is really interesting to me. I think it simply means that when we think more positively, we have more opportunities to do things positively.

I am someone who typically sees the glass half empty. I tend to let negative emotions and experiences affect me to the point where they take over my actions. I also have a hard time forgiving others, which allows negativity to surround me for an extended period of time. When I don’t forgive, the situation sticks with me until I eventually forget about it. It’s usually really hard for me to let go, but I now know the importance of forgiveness. The reading “Efficacy of Psychotherapeutic Interventions to Forgiveness” explains that forgiveness is allowing yourself to truly set free your angry thoughts, feelings, and emotions while at the same time, there is an increase of more positive thoughts toward the offending person. While this is the case, the article emphasizes that forgiveness is more about yourself than the other person. I didn’t really realize this until now because looking back on the times I have forgiven someone, I am mostly thinking of them and not myself. This can cause the act of forgiveness to be artificial, while you are still carrying around the remnants of the negative experience. I usually am one to always help others, but when I experience negative situations, it becomes really hard. I now fully understand how important it is to be positive because not only does negativity affect your own behavior, but it can affect the behavior of others as well.

Yesterday, I was part of an act of kindness that really made an impact on me. I was grocery shopping at Kroger later in the evening, and as I was leaving, I came across a middle-aged man who was standing by the entrance with a plastic bag filled with supplies to clean windshields. He asked me if I wanted my windows cleaned, and I declined, but I gave him the last $5 I had. The man was so thankful and I could truly feel his appreciation. He told me he’s just trying to get by, and that me walking out the door will help him put food on the table. At first giving him the money was a small act, but after listening to what he had to say, it became much bigger. This interaction allowed me to put my own “problems” into perspective. I have so much to be grateful for, but still complain about the smallest things. This experience made me realize how lucky I am, but also that I truly assisted in making someone’s day a little bit brighter. Even though it was a quick interaction, I know I made a difference to him, and that is what matters most. I don’t believe in the idea that money buys happiness, but it allowed me to experience something special. This showed me that sometimes the littlest things can have a big impact. Even yesterday I smiled at a complete stranger as I was going to class, and I got an even bigger one in return. As we talked about in class, these small things can really foster community as well as social engagement.

Today Dr. Worthington discussed virtues and in his reading “Humility”, it says that this quality involves the presence of things like empathy, respect, equality, and valuing others. I think being a humble person has a lot to do with the extent to which you perform acts of kindness. When we have respect for others and are empathetic towards their situations without judgement, we are more likely to do something that is kind. Dr. Worthington explained that we want virtues to become habits of the heart. I think it is right to use our mind to judge certain situations, but it’s the heart that is capable of so much more.

 

live your mission

live your mission

Before this week, I never thought about personal mission statements let alone actually creating one. At first I didn’t take the PMS assignment seriously because I thought I already knew my “purpose” in life, but I soon realized that it requires deep reflection to actually figure it out. This week really helped me understand more about myself and how what I’m doing now greatly affects how I achieve both my long and short term goals. I am someone who is always thinking of others and how they’re feeling without passing judgement. I accept people for who they are and try my best to understand what they’re going through while making them feel comfortable and accepted. As I reflected on how I treat those around me, especially my family and friends, and got feedback from other people in class, I realized that my mission is to better the lives of others through acceptance and compassion.

As Dr. Wu-Pong stated in class, we all have a sense to leave the world better than we found it, and how we do that is up to us. I think our own personal happiness plays a major role in how we put or own imprint on the world. Happiness is a choice you make everyday. I think happiness gets lost when our personal mission becomes more material and about changing our circumstances rather than changing our actual activities and behavior. In the article “Achieving Sustainable Gains in Happiness”, it says that the effects of making positive circumstantial changes, like buying a new car or getting a pay raise, don’t last as long as when we change our patterns of activity, such as practicing mindfulness, working to achieve our goals, or adjusting our outlook on life. Changing our activity can also be as simple as working out. The effects of changing our patterns of activity last for a tremendous period of time, whereas circumstantial changes (buying a brand new car) really don’t. The article also made the point that when we focus more on circumstantial changes, we end up taking them for granted, which doesn’t allow us to create positive experiences from them. I think this has everything to do with creating a mission statement. A lot of peoples’ mission in life is to make more money or live in a fancy house. To me these are short-lived and don’t have lasting effects. I wouldn’t consider them callings either because they don’t serve a greater cause due to how self-involved they are. Creating my personal mission statement has allowed me to determine how I should be living my life every day in order to make the world a better place. I feel like people get lost in social gain rather than serving a purpose larger than themselves, and I can admit it can be hard not to. We live in such an individualistic society where it’s sometimes challenging to not do things that only benefit ourselves. It became very clear to me that the way we act now in our personal lives, we can use in our professional lives to make an impact that serves a larger purpose.

In my personal life, I think I treat everyone equally and accept people for who they are. I want people to know that I’m truly there for them. One of my VIA character strengths is fairness, equity, and justice, meaning that I don’t let my personal feelings bias my decisions about other people. When it comes to what I want to do in my professional life, I think this strength is really important to have. As an elementary school teacher, my dream is to help underprivileged children achieve success despite their background. Children in general have a hard time relating to their teachers because they feel as if they don’t know what they’re going through, which is absolutely true. I don’t know what they’re going through, but with compassion and acceptance, I think I can help a lot of children find the motivation within themselves to be successful despite where they come from or what they’re experiencing at home. In the article “Managing Yourself: Turn the Job You Have into the Job You Want”, it talks about “job crafting” and how important it is to incorporate it into your professional life. The point of it is to redefine your occupation so that it includes your strengths and passions. That if you feel stuck in your job, there are ways to incorporate your strengths and motivations to make the workplace an environment where you can truly thrive professionally and personally. I fully understand that being a teacher is about so much more than actually teaching. To me it’s about making a difference in the lives of others through knowledge, understanding, and compassion. I will craft my job so that I can use my strengths, like treating others equally, in order to hopefully have an impact on the lives of my students. “On the Meaning of Work” talks about purpose and how we can find this in our own profession. It says that we can use our purpose as a sense of direction and intention in our work lives.

Creating a personal mission statement has provided me with a sense of meaning that I will carry with me every day as I take the steps to become not only a teacher, but a better person.

 

mindful > mind full

mindful > mind full

As stated in class by Dr. Brown, although mindfulness originates from Buddhism, the capacity for it is something we all have. This mental training has become completely secular in today’s society as millions of people practice it daily. I am not one of those people, but after this week, I am going to commit myself to becoming one. In the article “Wherever You Go, There You Are”, it states that we oftentimes forget in the moment that we are here and present, which leads to robot-like thinking. We tend to lose touch with ourselves and our potential to achieve things. I have an extremely hard time living in the moment because I’m always thinking about what I need to get done in the future, and when this happens, I lose contact with what is most important: experiencing the now. Dr. Brown made it clear that practicing mindfulness isn’t always relaxing, and I know that for me it won’t be. It’s difficult to sit with your stress and see around the edges of what is going on. If I take the time to deal with my mind in action and my racing thoughts, I will have better outcomes when it comes to growing, learning, and being creative. Not only that, but mindfulness can help improve my social relationships. I just have to make the effort.

“Mindfulness Training to Enhance Positive Functioning” explains how this practice can lead to a sense of trust that can be truly felt along with a greater capacity of closeness to others. Mindfulness also helps one deal with stressful social conflicts as the article states that when we witness and experience thoughts and feelings in the now, we are better able to prevent destructive actions based on the specific conflict. This makes total sense because when you pause for a second and really experience what you are feeling, not only will this inhibit impulsive behavior, it will give you the ability to actually solve the problem. One of the things that Dr. Brown said that really stuck with me is that the mind should be a tool, not a master. I think this can be directly related to social relationships because when we have conflict with someone, we should use our mind as a tool to fix it rather than something that controls our actions. And speaking personally, when I let my mind control my actions, the outcomes are definitely not always positive. If we use it as a tool, our relationships with others will be more fulfilling (and positive).

The article also touched on empathy, which is a key social skill utilized in relationships. It allows us to not judge others, which is something that embodies the mindfulness practice. When we are truly mindful and not wrapped up into our own thoughts, we are better able to understand the feelings and emotions of others. I think empathy is one of the most important qualities a person can have and it can become even stronger by practicing mindfulness. Empathy is something I think I possess, but if I commit myself to being genuinely mindful, the behavior I display towards others will become more beneficial to my relationships. The “Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership” article states that true leaders possess empathy and have the ability to truly feel other people’s moods and emotions. This affects not only their own brain and how it’s wired, but can impact how others start to think and act as well. We can all be leaders through empathy, which allows our individual minds to “fuse into a single system”. I think that is extremely powerful. One thing that stood out to me from this article is that we must transform our own patterns of thought in order to treat others in ways that are not “forced”. Mindfulness allows us to change our behavior by rewiring our brains in ways that will allow us to connect with others. It’s important to know that even if you are someone who dismisses the thoughts of others without intention, you have the ability to change. Our brains can develop new neural networks that can help us become leaders to others. It just takes practice & dedication.

Dr. Raina emphasized how crucial it is to get out of our thinking brain in order to truly be in the moment. When we are mindful, he said, we are more aware and can minimize the gap between our values and our behavior. I think when this gap closes, our values become more clear, which in turn impacts our behavior towards others. “Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review” made the point that being mindful allows us to truly pay attention to our interactions with others. When we put our racing thoughts into a different place, we can better understand the messages others give us. It allows us to communicate more effectively, which to me is the basis of any well functioning relationship.

Because of this week, it has become extremely clear that mindfulness can change not only yourself, but how you treat the people around you. Being mindful can be extremely hard even with practice, but the benefits seem to be incredibly worth it.

 

mindful > mind full

mindful > mind full

As stated in class by Dr. Brown, although mindfulness originates from Buddhism, the capacity for it is something we all have. This mental training has become completely secular in today’s society as millions of people practice it daily. I am not one of those people, but after this week, I am going to commit myself to becoming one. In the article “Wherever You Go, There You Are”, it states that we oftentimes forget in the moment that we are here and present, which leads to robot-like thinking. We tend to lose touch with ourselves and our potential to achieve things. I have an extremely hard time living in the moment because I’m always thinking about what I need to get done in the future, and when this happens, I lose contact with what is most important: experiencing the now. Dr. Brown made it clear that practicing mindfulness isn’t always relaxing, and I know that for me it won’t be. It’s difficult to sit with your stress and see around the edges of what is going on. If I take the time to deal with my mind in action and my racing thoughts, I will have better outcomes when it comes to growing, learning, and being creative. Not only that, but mindfulness can help improve my social relationships. I just have to make the effort.

“Mindfulness Training to Enhance Positive Functioning” explains how this practice can lead to a sense of trust that can be truly felt along with a greater capacity of closeness to others. Mindfulness also helps one deal with stressful social conflicts as the article states that when we witness and experience thoughts and feelings in the now, we are better able to prevent destructive actions based on the specific conflict. This makes total sense because when you pause for a second and really experience what you are feeling, not only will this inhibit impulsive behavior, it will give you the ability to actually solve the problem. One of the things that Dr. Brown said that really stuck with me is that the mind should be a tool, not a master. I think this can be directly related to social relationships because when we have conflict with someone, we should use our mind as a tool to fix it rather than something that controls our actions. And speaking personally, when I let my mind control my actions, the outcomes are definitely not always positive. If we use it as a tool, our relationships with others will be more fulfilling (and positive). The article also touched on empathy, which is a key social skill utilized in relationships. It allows us to not judge others, which is something that embodies the mindfulness practice. When we are truly mindful and not wrapped up into our own thoughts, we are better able to understand the feelings and emotions of others. I think empathy is one of the most important qualities a person can have and it can become even stronger by practicing mindfulness. Empathy is something I think I possess, but if I commit myself to being genuinely mindful, the behavior I display towards others will become more beneficial to my relationships. The “Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership” article states that true leaders possess empathy and have the ability to truly feel other people’s moods and emotions. This affects not only their own brain and how it’s wired, but can impact how others start to think and act as well. We can all be leaders through empathy, which allows our individual minds to “fuse into a single system”. I think that is extremely powerful. One thing that stood out to me from this article is that we must transform our own patterns of thought in order to treat others in ways that are not “forced”. Mindfulness allows us to change our behavior by rewiring our brains in ways that will allow us to connect with others. It’s important to know that even if you are someone who dismisses the thoughts of others without intention, you have the ability to change. Our brains can develop new neural networks that can help us become leaders to others. It just takes practice & dedication. Dr. Reina emphasized how crucial it is to get out of our thinking brain in order to truly be in the moment. When we are mindful, he said, we are more aware and can minimize the gap between our values and our behavior. I think when this gap closes, our values become more clear, which in turn impacts our behavior towards others. “Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review” made the point that being mindful allows us to truly pay attention to our interactions with others. When we put our racing thoughts into a different place, we can better understand the messages others give us. It allows us to communicate more effectively, which to me is the basis of any well functioning relationship. Because of this week, it has become extremely clear that mindfulness can change not only yourself, but how you treat the people around you. Being mindful can be extremely hard even with practice, but the benefits seem to be incredibly worth it.

 

thumbs up for strengths

Before this week, I had a pretty negative mindset about self assessments. I never thought they were effective or even accurate, and to be honest, I wasn’t thrilled about spending $15 to learn what I “already” knew about myself. My outlook immediately changed after I took the Clifton StrengthsFinder “test”. I was incredibly surprised at how on point each of my top five strengths were when describing myself and my behavior. Because of this assessment, I not only learned how my strengths shape the way I act, but how they can further be utilized in positive ways. My top five are:

consistency, discipline, harmony, responsibility, and restorative.

These weren’t shocking to me in the slightest only because I’m a major perfectionist and thrive off everything being in order. At all times. When things aren’t consistent and harmonious, I tend to freak out and think the world is actually coming to an end. My perception of being this way has always been negative due to the fact that people sometimes tell me I’m too uptight and never “let go” (which can be true), but I don’t want to view myself in that negative light. The “Action-Planning Guide” made me realize that my strengths have a very strong positive side and can be used in ways that really benefit me from here on out. Knowing how my “OCD”-like behavior can help me lead a constructive life has changed the way I view my own actions. I learned this week that it not only gives me the drive to get things done, but also the drive to get things done in ways that I can be proud of and satisfied with. This will greatly affect how I achieve both my short and long term goals. Using my strengths every day and integrating them into my own personal and professional lives can truly bring me life satisfaction, and that is totally what I’m after.

The activity we did in class by putting one of our strengths onto a name tag and talking to others about what it means to us was really eye opening. I learned that although another person and I can have two completely different strengths, they can still be related to each other in ways that give us something in common. The strength I put down was “consistency” and I talked with someone who had “achiever”. At first I didn’t think the two were similar, but then realized that by both being consistent and productive, we are able to achieve the things we want. I truly envy some of the strengths that other people in the class have, but I learned that someone could potentially envy the strengths thathave too. We are all different in our own unique way and this week has made me appreciate not only my strengths, but the strengths of others. And as it said in the video we watched in class, that is what makes you human.

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connections m a t t e r

This week made me realize how grateful I am for the positive relationships in my life and the connections that hold them so strongly together. I think every connection you have with someone matters, whether it’s with your best friend or a complete stranger, and what is so great about making them is that there is always room to grow. In middle school I was an extreme introvert, my parents being the only two people I could fully rely on for support. I was afraid of developing relationships with people because I didn’t want to be rejected. High school was sort of the same. There were so many different “cliques”, I had no idea where I belonged, and the connections I did make eventually got lost the summer before college. In the back of my mind I kept telling myself that VCU would be a fresh start. Coming here has changed my outlook on everything.

Although I am still learning the true meaning of high quality connections, I stopped trying so hard to fit in when I came to VCU. I realized I can be anyone I want and be proud of it. After all, VCU is one of the most diverse universities, which gave me a greater sense of comfort and belonging. I learned to be more accepting of not only myself, but of other people. Something I have always believed is that how you view yourself is how you treat others. In class we talked about authenticity and self-actualization and one of the characteristics that ties in with this is having an increased acceptance of self and others. Accepting others for who they are has allowed me to open myself up to people who I probably would have never talked to before coming here.

Although the reading High-quality Connections is about creating connections at work, the points it makes can so easily apply to how you live your every day life. One of the things I loved from this reading is that when you’re experiencing a HQC, the positivity that comes from it makes you feel known. That you matter. And that’s so important. It’s just comforting to know that someone is truly listening and putting their point of view aside. Something else noted in the reading is that when you are fully participating and engaging in this type of connection, you get a sense of being more alive and present. I never really thought about it in this way, but having a genuine connection with someone (no matter the length) does make you feel like you have some sort of purpose. This to me builds confidence and allows you to create even more HQCs, which is something I think everyone deserves.

I have always considered myself an empathetic person, but never knew the breadth of its importance until this week. According to High-quality Connections, empathy is portrayed when you “vicariously experience” another person’s feelings and emotions. It also stated that empathy is viewed as the basis of human connection, and I couldn’t agree more. When you have the ability to see and value what someone else is going through, you are building on your own pro-social behavior. Without empathy, I think high quality connections would be very hard to maintain because what it does is allow you to feel authentic concern for others no matter what feeling they are experiencing. Is a relationship real if you aren’t truly there? It’s something to think about, and I’m glad I’ve finally started to do it. In class we talked about emotional intelligence and how empathy directly relates to this. Being able to listen attentively and show compassion to what is being expressed by others does not only signify your own emotional intelligence, but it portrays empathy. I think one of the most important aspects of this amazing skill is that it promotes growth and change, and is also very important to your own development. I see empathy the most in children. They are so affected by how others feel and immediately act on it by showing their concern, which signifies their own emotional intelligence. I think skills like empathy should be more emphasized in elementary education because they really help shape the type of people children will become in the future. If more people had empathy, there would be more high quality connections, and as sappy as it sounds, I think this has the potential to change the world.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ-pU7ozt3g

takes two to tango

takes two to tango

When it comes to romantic relationships and “competence”, I have never truly sat down and thought about how the two go together, but because of this week, I am starting to create my own idea of what makes a relationship truly “competent”.  Everyone has their own idea of what competence is in a relationship, but to me it is all about communication and respect. There are so many different things that go into a good working relationship, and I think your own perspective on it is impacted by your past. As Dr. Savatore stated in class, our developmental histories influence who we choose as a partner and that the socialization perspective is a strong predictor of the future. This means that how you’re treated in let’s say childhood, influences the way you act in future relationships. The “Interdisciplinary Research on Close Relationships” reading further states that competence in romantic relationships relies on what was developed in previous relationships with caregivers and peers, along with your thought patterns, feelings, and actions . When it comes to romantic relationships in college, I think that they greatly affect relationships in adulthood. College to me is the time to figure out not only yourself and who you are, but also what you are looking for in a partner, and for everyone that is different. The reading I just mentioned ties along with this when it states “expectations must be adjusted by building on the past.” This to me implies that the expectations you have in a romantic relationship in adulthood are formed by what you went through in the past with parents, peers, or former partners. So if you had a partner in college who disrespected you or never communicated, you know that is not what you want for yourself in the future. Your expectations build from that.

As I said, I think your current position in life plays a huge part in romantic relationships. Some people are in great relationships because they are in a “comfortable” place, while others want nothing more than to be in a romantic relationship, but don’t have the “means” to be. There is the assumption that people who live in low-income populations don’t value marriage as much as people who receive higher incomes, and that they don’t appreciate healthy relationships including the benefits that come from them. The reading “Contextual Influences on Marriage” proved this not to be the case. There is research that indicates that people of low-income actually may value marriage more. Many people, especially women, of lower-income have very strong positive feelings toward marriage and want to get married themselves. The reason they don’t has nothing to do with their values. It has to do with the fact that they think their current economic standpoint would not make a marriage last. They don’t want to go into a marriage that would end in divorce. I think that is a very valid reason, and honestly never even thought about it. My mom is a member of CASA, which is an organization that advocates for children in court who come from very extreme and negative environments. A lot of the children she works with are living in single-parent households, most of the parents not being married and living on welfare. My mom has come home so many times just devastated that these parents are living in so much stress, that they just can’t seem to get out of it. This ties in with the article because these parents’ current economic circumstance affects everything, including the hope of being in a romantic relationship.

How you were treated as a child matters so much when it comes to romantic relationships. As Jean Vanier stated in “What It Means to Be Fully Human”, the hearts of children are fragile, and if they are not loved immediately after birth, they grow up with this inner pain trying to prove that they are in fact someone. What really resonated with me was when Vanier went into the topic of fear, and how so many people are filled with it. They are terrified of connecting with someone, which causes them to be very closed off. I think people create this fear based on their past experiences as a child, and they don’t want to let anyone in because they are afraid of getting hurt again. This significantly affects romantic relationships. Like Vanier said, to become fully human we need to learn to open up and care for each other. I think this gives people who feel this way hope. That the love you didn’t receive as a child can be given to you by someone else, and being with that person can be a major turning point, as Dr. Savatore so truthfully said.

 

 

love your strengths

I definitely learned *a lot* this week:

As stated in class, depression and anxiety is a public health issue that so many people are currently experiencing. Everyone wants to be happy. That is the goal. It’s just not always that easy to feel it. To be it. I have a very close friend who has received intense therapy for anxiety/depression, and when I asked him about it, he said it never really helped. It just allowed him to pour out his problems to someone he didn’t truly know. And although he found that somewhat helpful, just having someone to talk to, he wasn’t leaving therapy feeling positive. It didn’t make him happier by any means. The argument in one of the readings is that happiness is something that really needs to be focused on in “psychotherapy”. When your emotions are positive, certain aspects of your life improve, including your relationships with other people and your physical well-being. And it sure does alleviate depression. Happy people tend to spread their positivity, so why not focus on that when dealing with someone who is depressed or anxious? Looking at strengths in psychotherapy builds confidence and can ultimately make someone happier. I cannot agree more with the statement that being hopeful and “resilient” trumps the focus on “psychological burdens.” As with my friend, he hated going to each session because all that was focused on were the negatives, which actually caused him to dwell on them even more. He didn’t leave feeling better. Therapy should include uncovering strengths as the reading stated, because when you dig deep and find them, a glimpse of long term happiness can be revealed. Therapy can be very helpful for people who are depressed/anxious, but I definitely think it needs to include happiness building instead of just relieving the negative symptoms. I never really thought about what this could do for someone. I personally do not deal with depression or extreme anxiety, but I can’t imagine it being easy to talk about without getting some sense of hope or optimism. I agree that talking about the negatives is needed, but it shouldn’t end there. You have to know your strengths to understand your weaknesses.

Anxiety can be very helpful, as I discovered in class that it allows you to focus and can give you the extra push you need to get things done. When we aren’t anxious, we don’t avoid things, so in a way I think anxiety can help someone act more positively. I know that when I’m anxious about meeting a deadline or finishing a task, it gives me the motivation to just finish. To get it done. But obviously, not everyone has this optimal anxiety. It can become extreme and overwhelming, causing you to not be able to finish a task or even think. It was mentioned in class that this degree of anxiety can be heritable and that your brain can be wired like that. This can be linked to the “Does This Mean I’m Crazy?” reading, which is about the common worries of people who may take medication for depression or anxiety. In the article it mentioned that a good way for a doctor to tell someone who is very critical of themselves dealing with depression or anxiety is to say that their anxiety can very well be a “biological illness”. I’m guilty of tracing the two to just the person experiencing it, but have never really thought about how both anxiety and depression can be genetic predispositions. I found the fears of people taking medications to be very valid and understandable.

This exercise along with what I learned from class and the readings this week made me realize a whole lot . Positive psychology is so important and it’s evident from the Seligman reading that it can have some major lasting effects. Increasing your own knowledge about your individual strengths can do wonders when it comes to relieving symptoms of anxiety or depression. Even if the period of relieved symptoms only lasts six months, which is far from everlasting happiness, it is possible to increase that time period even more in the future with positive psychotherapy, and I think that is amazing.

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love your strengths

I definitely learned *a lot* this week:

As stated in class, depression and anxiety is a public health issue that so many people are currently experiencing. Everyone wants to be happy. That is the goal. It’s just not always that easy to feel it. To be it. I have a very close friend who has received intense therapy for anxiety/depression, and when I asked him about it, he said it never really helped. It just allowed him to pour out his problems to someone he didn’t truly know. And although he found that somewhat helpful, just having someone to talk to, he wasn’t leaving therapy feeling positive. It didn’t make him happier by any means. The argument in one of the readings is that happiness is something that really needs to be focused on in “psychotherapy”. When your emotions are positive, certain aspects of your life improve, including your relationships with other people and your physical well-being. And it sure does alleviate depression. Happy people tend to spread their positivity, so why not focus on that when dealing with someone who is depressed or anxious? Looking at strengths in psychotherapy builds confidence and can ultimately make someone happier. I cannot agree more with the statement that being hopeful and “resilient” trumps the focus on “psychological burdens.” As with my friend, he hated going to each session because all that was focused on were the negatives, which actually caused him to dwell on them even more. He didn’t leave feeling better. Therapy should include uncovering strengths as the reading stated, because when you dig deep and find them, a glimpse of long term happiness can be revealed. Therapy can be very helpful for people who are depressed/anxious, but I definitely think it needs to include happiness building instead of just relieving the negative symptoms. I never really thought about what this could do for someone. I personally do not deal with depression or extreme anxiety, but I can’t imagine it being easy to talk about without getting some sense of hope or optimism. I agree that talking about the negatives is needed, but it shouldn’t end there. You have to know your strengths to understand your weaknesses.

Anxiety can be very helpful, as I discovered in class that it allows you to focus and can give you the extra push you need to get things done. When we aren’t anxious, we don’t avoid things, so in a way I think anxiety can help someone act more positively. I know that when I’m anxious about meeting a deadline or finishing a task, it gives me the motivation to just finish. To get it done. But obviously, not everyone has this optimal anxiety. It can become extreme and overwhelming, causing you to not be able to finish a task or even think. It was mentioned in class that this degree of anxiety can be heritable and that your brain can be wired like that. This can be linked to the “Does This Mean I’m Crazy?” reading, which is about the common worries of people who may take medication for depression or anxiety. In the article it mentioned that a good way for a doctor to tell someone who is very critical of themselves dealing with depression or anxiety is to say that their anxiety can very well be a “biological illness”. I’m guilty of tracing the two to just the person experiencing it, but have never really thought about how both anxiety and depression can be genetic predispositions. I found the fears of people taking medications to be very valid and understandable.

This exercise along with what I learned from class and the readings this week made me realize a whole lot . Positive psychology is so important and it’s evident from the Seligman reading that it can have some major lasting effects. Increasing your own knowledge about your individual strengths can do wonders when it comes to relieving symptoms of anxiety or depression. Even if the period of relieved symptoms only lasts six months, which is far from everlasting happiness, it is possible to increase that time period even more in the future with positive psychotherapy, and I think that is amazing.

5cae2aa7b7c86c347ad0250985514e26