Blog Post 3

Blog Post 3

I think that the most meaningful topics for me were the lessons on automatic negative thoughts, mindfulness, and gratitude. I have struggled with automatic negative thoughts a lot, making tasks like presenting, and even calling up to talk to a few friends difficult. I tend to think that my voice is annoying or that I try to call or text my friends and family to the point where I’m just being a bother. And although these thoughts have been proven to be wrong, its still bothersome to deal with. However, when learning that these thoughts happen to everyone, that they were normal allowed me to feel just a bit better. And with the help of the weekly exercise I’ve haven’t been having too much trouble with them. I still have them, of course, but I have found myself thinking on more of the positives in order to quiet these thoughts just a little. Mindfulness was another meaningful lesson for me because I am always fretting over the past or the future, and I realized that I don’t really enjoy the things in the present and so I miss out on a lot. After the lessons on mindfulness I have taken more time to really appreciate the things around me. Especially recently with the wonderful weather we have been having lately. I take my time walking to enjoy the warm weather, to admire how bright and blue the sky is, and even the chatter of other students around me. Doing so also helps with stress seeing that I am not spending all of my time wondering about my future or mulling over something I had done hours or even years ago. Focusing my thoughts on the now has allowed me to relax and prepare better for the tasks I need to do now rather than stress myself over the what ifs. Lastly, gratitude is another lesson I really enjoyed because I realized that with everything that has been on my mind (school, my career, etc) I don’t really take the time to appreciate the people and things in my life that allows me to be able to think about, and even stress about, the things I am now. I only get to stress about school because I have amazing parents who are doing so much for me by giving me the opportunity to even go to college. And it motivates me to work hard so that I can really give back to them in the future.

The lessons I had mentioned above would be really helpful in the career I hope to have in the future, which is a psychologist. Mindfulness would especially be helpful because by keeping my mind in the present I can really give all of my attention to my client. I can devote my attention and really listen to what they are saying, to gauge their emotions, and find the best ways to respond rather than fretting over saying something wrong or if I would end up doing more harm than good. I think that it will also help my clients if I were to share the exercise with them, if one of their troubles include thinking too much of the past or future. And, of course, the lesson on active listening would also be a lot of help to my career since for most of it I will need to listen to my clients as they tell me what they are feeling, etc. Some changes I made by incorporating what I learned is to make sure to devote some of my time to focus on the good things that happened rather than focusing on little things that I would eventually blow up into a bigger deal than it was. It also lets me appreciate the things that happened and what I did that day. However, I still have a bit of trouble hesitating on doing a lot of things (contacting a few people, etc) and so I still need to work on controlling my negative thoughts. Also I think that I need to incorporate more time to meditate, even just a little, so that I can have a way to relax after a busy and stressful day, especially since finals are coming up. And after learning how much your diet can affect you other than physically, a change I need to make is to be more mindful of what I eat.  However, seeing that a complete dietary change seems like a bit too much, I think I just need to take more care of how much junk I eat and find healthier snack options.

I would continue to share the insights and lessons I have learned by incorporating them into the conversations I have with my friends and family. What I mean by that is that I tend to find that a lot of people trust me enough to come to me looking for advice or for someone to listen to. And I could share these lessons and insights with them in hopes that they would be as helpful to them as they were to me. For example, most of the times they seemed to just be stressed, just like me, about things in the past or thinking about the future. So showing them how to stay in the present (maybe by meditation or even just going outside to sit with them to talk and have them enjoy the weather and nature) so that they can have a moment to relax and then maybe we can work though ideas on how to work towards their goal, etc.

Blog post #2

As we continue through the semester I can really see how each new topic we learn can connect to the other, sometimes in subtle ways and others are obvious. It has shown me that everything we do, whether it’s out diet, our sleeping habits, our relationships, emotions, etc that they are interconnected and impact the other. For example, what we eat can boost our mood and in affect influence the way we behave throughout the day with our friends and in class impacting our relationships with them. And how with exercise and better sleeping habits a lot of things, physically and mentally, can be improved if we combined everything we have learned and put into effect.

I think the most interesting and perhaps, surprising, thing I have learned is just how much our diet and exercise can affect us. For instance it can affect our mood, memory, sleeping habits, etc. I always knew that your diet influenced our bodies a lot, but I never knew just how much and how. In the psychology class I am also taking this semester we did learn, briefly, that some individuals have to be on a strict diet to keep their symptoms from getting worse but I was astounded by how much a diet can help. For example, how the ketogenic diet can reduce and even possibly get rid of seizure symptoms. Another topic I did find very helpful for me personally, as I stated in the last blog post, was the lesson on automatic negative thoughts and how I can slowly learn to overcome them by focusing on the good things that came out of the things I did that my negative thoughts would have kept me from doing in the first place. It also helped that I wasn’t the only one experiencing those thoughts and that I wasn’t just being ‘weird’. Another lesson I enjoyed was on emotional intelligence. I always thought that I was able to gauge another person’s emotions well, more so when I knew the person a little better than a complete stranger. However, my own emotions can be a bit of a mystery to me at times and I’m not very good at expressing my emotions so I wouldn’t say I have high emotional intelligence.

One of the things I think I will try to change and incorporate into my life is my exercising habits. I tend to mainly go to classes, the library, and then back home so I don’t really do much. However, I think I can start by incorporating some relaxing walks outside once in a while to take in my surroundings. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with me. I can also start going to the gym with my roommate once in a while since I don’t really like to go alone. Another thing I think I can change in my daily behavior is to spend more time reading in order to relax after a stressful day of classes. To devote some time for peace and quiet so that I don’t end up overwhelming myself with negative or nervous/anxious thoughts. I will also try to better my sleeping habits and try to go to sleep earlier, and getting the right amount of sleep rather than too little or too much as I tend to do now.

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Blog Post #1

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What stood out to me the most in the first four weeks was the lesson about automatic negative thoughts. For as long as I can remember I would have these random, negative thoughts whenever I planned to do something whether it was going out with friends or how I would feel doing assignments in class. I thought that this was just me being pessimistic or there was something wrong because no one else probably had these kinds of thoughts. So learning that these were something that many experience it made me feel less guilty about having them. And so it pushed me to find ways to not let them control my life.

One thing that had helped me was the Three Good Things exercise. It allowed me to take note of the things I was able to do/accomplish that I had doubts of beforehand (such as calling up a friend without losing to the negative thoughts that I was being bothersome). This helped me in fighting back these negative thoughts because it showed that they weren’t true and made me think that every little thing that comes to mind may not be valid. It also allowed me to focus on the good things that had been happening to me, big or small. During my first year here in college I had been too focused on the people who have been impacting me negatively. I was letting the things they did get to me too often and way too hard. After this exercise I had come to realize that there were better things to have on my mind and that I shouldn’t let things weigh me down.

Learning about the Keyes Flourishing scale was very interesting for me too. I didn’t know that a person with high mental health could possibly have a mental illness or someone with low mental health could be without one. It was something that opened my eyes more to the people around me. And although I knew that there are people who do hide things behind a smile, it made it more apparent that those who are always bright and happy in public may have things they are struggling with. That they don’t have everything together as I initially thought.

I was already aware that genetics played a role in ones behavior and the possibility of having a mental illness. And it was something that worried both me and my family seeing that it could possibly affect me or my siblings, but given the complicated family history we aren’t very certain making it all the more worrisome. However, learning that they don’t determine it 100% did take some of that away. Especially when I learned that its a mix of both environmental and genetic factors that play into it, and not solely one or the other as the nature vs nurture argument suggested. Learning about the how behavior could be genetic was slightly amusing for me because of it made me think about how similar my family and I were. Whether its our temper or maybe even our humor it was interesting to learn that genetics could have influenced this as well as being around each other that could have caused it.

In the end the biggest thing that I have learned is that there are better things to be occupied with than the little irritable things. And that there are many ways I can help myself think more positively and stay more in the moment than fretting about the past or future.

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