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.