Based on all of the content taught in class and all of the content in the weekly readings, I’ve learned the importance of maintaining overall happiness and well- being and I’ve learned the complexity of happiness and well- being. First by reading about the study published by Keyes, I was introduced to this idea that well- being is complex. The take-away message from that study was “the absence of mental illness is not the presence of mental health”. As a result when I was introduced to mindfulness, I didn’t understand how mindfulness connects to happiness and well-being. However, I now understand that mindfulness has its place in everything that I do. Specifically, practicing mindful eating allows me to increase my overall well- being by making me more aware of what and why I am eating. Also, practicing mindfulness at work allows me and my co-workers to be able to communicate effectively with one another. Realizing the different ways that mindfulness can be incorporated into my life, I was able fully grasp the complexity of happiness and well- being and how they relate to one another. Happiness and well- being go hand- in- hand. The most meaningful topics for me were anxiety disorders and academic well- being because they are both topics that I have a close relationship with. Anxiety is something that I struggle with and has history in my family. So learning about the different causes and perspectives regarding anxiety opened my mind to different ways to combat anxiety. Additionally, academic well- being was a very meaningful topic for me because most of my anxiety stems from worrying about my academic success. So learning the different skills that enhance academic well- being allowed me to be open minded about adopting some of those skills to make life a little easier for me.
Knowing the complexity of happiness and well- being, I have committed to dedicating time to myself to practice mindfulness frequently. I have also committed to keeping an open mind about the different things that may impact my happiness and overall well- being. One of the exercises that encouraged me to open my mind to these possibilities was the week 10 exercise that required us to ask 3-5 people what they value about us. This exercise opened my mind because I didn’t know just how much those compliments could impact my day. Those compliments are still fresh in my mind today and still impact the way I think about myself and my role in the lives of other people. Since taking this class, I have started working on tracking my feelings. This has been very beneficial especially for managing my responsibilities at school, at work and at home. I have also started to make a conscious decision to spread positivity to others to increase their happiness and well- being. One of the things that I could improve is the tendency to allow disappointments to overwhelm me which causes me to lose sight of the bigger picture. The bigger picture is that everyday is a new chance to be happy and make decisions that contribute to my overall well- being.
After this class is over, I plan to share thoughts that promote mindfulness on my social media. One of the most important things that I want to share on my social media stems from the very first lesson in this class and that is that happiness is complex. It is not just the opposite of sadness. Happiness is based on a plethora of components and should be thought of as being part of a continuum. This is the most important message to spread, because it allows people to understand a little bit more the complexity of happiness and how that relates to their overall well- being. It also gives them a great preview into the other aspects of happiness that they will eventually learn throughout life. By spreading this information, I hope that other people are able to think of new ways to increase happiness, positivity and well- being across the world.
I chose this image to represent what I have learned this semester because it truly embodies the greatest lesson learned in this class. Often times we think of happiness as something to be “achieved” however, happiness is actually a by-product of multiple things and it is different for each person.