12: Moving forward

12: Moving forward

Interestingly, my post-course self-rating scales increased in all categories in ccomparison to my pre-course scales.  Although five months is a short amount of time, this course has certainly introduced me to topics and areas that I hope remember beyond this semester.  One of my favorite lectures was on positive emotions by Dr. Armstrong in the very beginning of the course.  A lot of what she talked about hit home with me and brought some perspective into my own life.  Everyone finds happiness in different ways, but we express it s12: Moving forwardimilarly in laughter, love, and hope.  Express gratitude daily to those you care about, do nice to others, and live every moment to its fullest potential.  I’ve learned especially this semester that being proactive is difficult and wanting change requires a lot of hard effort and self-discipline.  However, small little adjustments can create meaningful change that will make an even more lasting impact in our lives.

 

 

11: You snooze, you…. win?

11: You snooze, you…. win?

For this week’s assignment, I was given the task to keep a sleep journal.  Overall, I found this daily log to be helpful in recognizing my sleeping habits and patterns.  Although I don’t suffer from any sleeping disorders like insomnia or breathing difficulties while sleeping, I still think there is valuable information in consistently recording about the quality and quantity of sleep I received.  On average, I found that I was getting about 6-6.5 hours a night and the quality of my sleep was rated mostly 8-9 out of 10.  This is pretty ideal for me.  With this amount, I’m able to fully-function, maintain focus, and not feel lethargic.  Typically, I am in bed by 11:30PM or 12AM (the latest) and awake at 6AM.  On occasions where I am unable to meet 6 hours of sleep, I take full advantage of taking naps when time permits and situations allows me to.  I notice that taking 15-25 minutes to recharge boosts my energy level immediately and is completely effective.  Interestingly, I noticed that it doesn’t take me long to fall asleep.  In fact, 2-5 minutes was the average length of time.  I think I’m one of those who could fall asleep anywhere and anytime.  Additionally, I think the room temperature makes the most difference in my quality of my sleep.  I’m extremely sensitive to temperature and trying to fall asleep in a bedroom that is too warm is probably the most uncomfortable thing for me.  As emphasized by Dr. Mountcastle, the consequences of sleep deprivation is costly to our bodies as we are not allowing our brains to “re11: You snooze, you…. win?st.”  Although we all have experienced situations where it might have negatively influence our sleep, I hope we can recognize the effects it has on our well-being and productivity in the long run.  Whether you were assigned to do the physical activity, food, or sleep journal, these exercise allows you to recognize and acknowledge any irregular habits and behaviors you might have and even encourage you to seek appropriate help if needed. 

10:  Be Kind, Do Nice

10: Be Kind, Do Nice

Last night, I was watching a film called Room.  The plot is about a women named Joy and her five-year-old son, Jack, who are held captive in a small shed they call Room.  Inside, they share a bed, toilet, bathtub, TV, a small skylight window, and a make-shift kitchen.  Their meals don’t have much variety or nutrition and Jack doesn’t know anything beyond those four walls.  Even after seven years of captivity, Joy tries to remain positive and optimistic for her son, but sometimes it’s difficult for her to stay strong.  This movie really brought things in my life into perspective and I felt it tied into with what we discussed this week in class.  Specifically, Dr. Armstrong talked about how expressing gratitude boosts happiness, mental health, and overall wellbeing. Despite Joy and Jack’s difficult situation, they embraced the negative and tried to optimize the situation within their control to the best of their ability.  For example, Jack learned how to read even though their educational resources were nonexistent.  At the end of the day, they were grateful for each other.  Fos10:  Be Kind, Do Nicetering this gratitude not only encourages positive emotions, but it strengths relationships.  In the article by Fredrickson, she provides further evidence suggesting that positive emotions broadens cognition, our ability to be attentive, and the elements of optimal functioning.  This means we grow personally through building creativity, meaning, and self-acceptance.  As a result, we do good by feeling good.  As Dr. Worthington mentioned in class, happiness and positive emotions are states —  building character strength or virtue is a conscious effort from the heart.  Does our actions align with our actions?  Two acts of kindness I did week involved individuals who mean a lot to me.  One was bringing in brownies for my coworkers and another was calling a family
member to see how they were doing.  Regardless of how simple or extravagant the act is, all it takes is one action to influence others.  I think it’s 10:  Be Kind, Do Niceimportant to cherish those strong close relationships and take advantage of opportunities to express appreciation and gratitude.  Not only does it encourage social engagement, but it helps me stay grounded and content that I’m making a difference.

9:  What’s the worst that can happen?

9: What’s the worst that can happen?

Work hard, play hard, and be humble.

Personal development not only requires effort and perseverance, but patience in order gain that momentum to grow your character and reach your goals.  With graduation just right around the corner, I couldn’t be more appreciative of this reflection.  This past year has been quite a journey.  I’ve never been so busy juggling school, applying for grad programs, interning, maintaining a social life, and making time for other compartments of my life.  Though, I can confidently admit that I’m content and comfortable about my personal and professional development plans moving forward.  I’m in a different place of my life than I was three years ago where I struggled to identify my interests and wishes about the future. One obstacle I faced was getting too caught up in the opinions of others — whether it be my family or close friends.  I quickly realized I was just living to meet the expectations of others than myself.  Had I done the exercise in identifying the roadblocks that prevented me from reaching our fullest potential three years ago… I probably would have realized it sooner than later.  One comment I loved most about Dr. WuPong’s lecture was that we have an invitation for our personal journey all around us — we just need to be open to those invitations.  I can’t emphasize how much this resonated with me.  Once I realized my interests and strengthens, it’s almost as if all the opportunities came looking for me instead of the other way around.  When you devote a lot of time into your work and it’s reflective of your passion, others quickly acknowledge and point that out.  In the reading by Ross, Dekas, and Wrzeniewski, the authors mention how meaningful work relates to changing a person’s self-concept and your self-perceptions.  Keeping that open mindset truly allows us to acknowledge what might had been in front of us this whole time, even in the most busiest circumstances.  Additionally, gaining a different perspective from others to help clarify career/school goals can certainly be beneficial.  Another reading adds that building trust and identifying the people who will accommodate you to meet your needs for job crafting is so important.  Certainly, setbacks will occur and things aren’t always smooth sailing.  However, changing the mindset to think of challenges and obstacles as opportunities for improving and goal setting is powerful.   Make the most of our situations and obstacles — my mentor tells me they are just blessings in disguise. 9:  What’s the worst that can happen?

8: A mindful minute

8: A mindful minute

I recall many memories of sitting cross-legged on the floor chanting mantras in a different language.  Specifically as a child, my family was actively involved in Buddhism practices and teachings.  We would go to the temple couple times a week and I can clearly remember the smell of incense that were lit before every prayer and meditation.  Despite my exposure at a young age, it was difficult for me comprehend the purpose or even managing to sit still at times.  However, those experiences truly became influential throughout my life, in retrospect. 

In the reading by Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is simply the conscious awareness of the present moment.  Though Buddhism is fundamentally being in touch with your own deepest nature, anyone can practice mindfulness.  In fact, each moment of our lives is an opportunity to be present.  Similar to what was mentioned in class, our bodies are constantly present, but our minds may be else where.  With so much variety in techniques, discovering that balance between motivation and commitment can transform and change life experiences and satisfaction.  Our ability to be mindful is challenged through how we approach challenges and uncomfortable situations — Are we flexible? How do we react? Certainly, it’s important to dissociate our thoughts from our identity in those situations; observing our thoughts in a non-judgemental manner is an important component to remember.  In additionally to cultivating self-awareness and authenticity, these attentional skills can promote connectedness and the ability to communicate effectively at an interpersonal level.  As we grow mindful of our thoughts, we, in turn, become more empathic.  Supported by Dr. Brown’s reading, being mindful affects how we regulate our emotions and behaviors that extend beyond individual well-being. 

In regards to integrating mindfulness and the workplace, the understanding of attentional control as a way to encourage task performance and enhance awareness of job demands can be influential on the approaches companies take in ma8: A mindful minutenagement.    Certainly, tasks variety matters — some task requires more precision and attention than others.  How does being absorbed in a task differ from being in a flow-state with a less attention-required task?  In one of Dr. Reina’s readings, being mindful effects psychological health, turnover, and absenteeism.  With goals to improve worker health and job satisfaction, mindfulness essentially becomes like a resiliency factor as a way to address work-life stressors.  Perhaps, mindfulness can allow for employees to fully detach from work tasks during breaks and time off the clock in order to reduce burnout and enhance recovery.

7: What’s so special about HER?

7: What’s so special about HER?

 Consciously, I try to act modestly and think humbly.  In fact, it makes me really uncomfortable to flat out admit my strengths and accomplishments.  Not to say that I don’t know what they are, I just choose to show them in a different manner.  As a result, I do a lot of inward reflection but preferto focus my energy on other people.  I don’t necessarily think that I am neglecting myself, but I do think I’m able to skillfully navigate between the two dimensions.  Up until this week, I never really constituted this as a “strength.”  In a nutshell, my StrengthsFinder themes really reinforced the relationship building domain and emphasized an appreciation for others’ uniqueness — this is pretty accurate.  Here were my five: individualization, connectedness, achiever, relator, and input.  Interestingly, I noticed that last week our class discussed how we are all so similar and didn’t even know it.  This week, we talked about how different and diverse our group is.  Which one is it?  We need similarities to connect us together and differences to set us apart.  Despite the report being helpful in labeling these aspects, I think it also serves as a motivator for developing the strengths that I admire.  “Strengths spotting” could be a way to do so — someone can acknowledge how another uniquely utilizes a strength and even try to adapt those attributes.  Recognizing this in a professional setting can strengthen a team or organization by assigning tasks to someone who is “more suited” to complete it successfully.

Recently, I wrote my personal statement for grad school applications centered around my strengths and what I’d previously done to support that.  Although I didn’t label them exactly as the StrengthsFinder assessment, there was a big overlap on these themes and the ones I mentioned in my essay.  Throughout this week, Dr. WuPong reiterated in class that others can help recognize your own strengths.  This was actually a technique I used to lay the framework for my personal statement; I asked individuals who 7: What’s so special about HER?knew my work ethic, personality, and values to evaluate what they believed to be my strong points.  A lot of their responses were similar and even a couple brought attention to a strength that I hadn’t thought about.

For professional/career purposes, having a particular strength may be useful or beneficial.  Not to say that any of these strengths are view “badly,” I think it’s important to know how to effectively use any skill in any given context.  Mentioned in the video that Dr. WuPong showed, I found the concept of the mindset being growth versus fixed really interesting.  Somethings just happen naturally or intuitively, but our mindsets are very adaptable if we choose to allow it to expand.  The key is to admire and appreciate your own and others’ strengths while still allowing room for growth when trying to apply them to achieve your goals.

The Inner Monologue

The Inner Monologue

As Dr. Wu-Pong mentioned in class, the suppression of our negative feelings can be damaging, but sometimes we are in social environments where it’s difficult to fully express our emotions.  Because of what is “socially acceptable” in that given situation, it may enable us to respond in a manner that isn’t truly reflective of our opinions.  These “biting my tongue” moments really challenges us to regulate our own feelings, while also meeting our intrinsic/extrinsic motivational needs.  Embracing emotions for what they are and trying to understand their roots can boost our persistence and resiliency.  Even though our inner monologues may sometimes be negative, what actually matters is how we act upon feeling them. Additionally, the triad for self-awareness affects all aspects of our lives (personal growth, relationships, career, health, etc.).  It is our self-awareness that helps us develop a self-identity and ultimately grow into the best version of ourselves.  I think developing a self-awareness takes patience.  Luckily, we have role models and mentors in our lives who help us set goals and motivate us to achieve them.  The ability to explore our emotions non-judgmentally not only takes practice, but helps us align our values accordingly.  Similar to what Dr. Armstrong said, our emotions can have a “ripple effect” on others.  Deep, long-lasting change comes from within before it can be translated into our social interactions — understand yourself before you try to understand others. 

While we continue to develop this positive identity, we also expand the ability to understand other people’s perspective.  In my life, I’ve seen empathy facilitate the connection with others — when I’m empathic, I’m able to feel compassion.  Tackling a tough conversation The Inner Monologuechallenges m
e to remain openminded while still respectfully replying to their point
of view.  The positive relationships I value most are fostered on the values of connectedness, peace, joy, and growth.  In fact, the reading on high-quality connections suggest that empathy, positive emotions, and emotional contagion accounts for how emotions travel between people.  As an “outgoing” introvert, I’m not a big fan of small talk.  However, I really value meaningful, high-quality connections and conversations with others.  Although I think finding a commonality or attitudinal similarity really fuels a connection, our positive spirit is what attracts others towards us.  I really admire individuals who constantly radiate sunshine, positivity, and harmony.  The article also mentions the power of the present moment and how it enables people to experience a sense of freedom and happiness which can help open people to connect with others.  As discussed in class, the advances of technology can be a roadblock for cultivating any relationship.  However, our lives can feel a bit more enriched and energized if we just enjoy the moment and the company of others.

5: Me + ?? = A perfect relationship

5: Me + ?? = A perfect relationship

In class, strong communication skills made it on the list of the qualities needed to have a happy, successful relationship.  In contrast, issues of infidelity were noted for unhappy couples.  We each have specific qualities that we find attractive in a partner.  In fact, what I find competent during my current age period could be completely different later in my adulthood.  For one, our psychosocial development emphasizes different conflicts at different stages, according to Erikson.  Even though our relationship experiences are cumulative, why is it that some individuals tend to be fall back to unhealthy relationships?  From the reading by Salvatore, Collins, and Simpson, our perspective of interpersonal relationships begin as early as childhood experiences with our caregivers and are representative in our adulthood.  For example, those with secure attachment styles supported through episodic memories during childhood show more positive relationship processes.  In my life, I’ve noticed the influence love and trust instilled in my childhood environment and how that affects the way I act and engage in my relationships.  Not only does it affect our current relationships, but also contributes to how we raise our own kids.

Additionally, I think it’s important to take into account the external problems that make it difficult to maintain a successful relationship overall (we may or may not have control over).  In the article by Karney and Bradbury, a figure further supports that communication was rated a relatively severe problem, but the reading additionally looks at marital problems across all types of income.  From witnessing personal experiences, two people may be compatible for one another but external demands and timing can make things difficult for a relationship to withstand.

Another point from Dr. Salvatore’s lecture that I found interesting was that for individuals who were exposed to any risk factors during early childhood, romanic relationships can serve as pivotal moments or “turning points” for development.  It’s not until we develop the heart and the mind that we become fully human, as mentioned by Jean Vanier, through which we can achieve with the help of romantic relationships.  I learned in a previous psychology class about the self-expansion theory — how we are constantly searc5: Me + ?? = A perfect relationshiphing for ways to broaden our self-concept through which we can achieve from interpersonal relationships.  Specifically relating to this, our romantic partner may introduce us to knew skills and activities (picking up better habits, learning a new sport) that can result in positive developmental adjustments while expanding our self-identity.  I think it would be interesting to see whether turning points in emerging adulthood or later adulthood have more lasting resulting in changing our beliefs.

4: We have control!

4: We have control!

As evident in class, the majority of us through a show of hands admitted that we felt anxious within this week alone.  Although it’s programed and wired within us, the role of individual differences is significant when determining our appropriate “range of anxiety.”  Different things will trigger different responses from everyone.  Knowing your personality style can determine which treatment or st
rategic tips can be a best fit for you when coping with anxiety or depression.  For example in the Seligman et al. article, individuals who might be seeking practices that make lasting happier results may be more compelled to try positive psychology exercises like the “gratitude visit” or  “identifying strengths.”  Or psychotherapy.  Or the combination between the two through well-being therapy (Rashid, 2009). Others may decide that a medicinal route is right for them.  Interestingly, the reading by Kahn suggests the process of initiating this route is anxiety-inducting in and of itself during the beginning stages.  For me, the feeling of being anxious gives me a sense of urgency when meeting deadlines or heightens my ability to focus during an exam.  My level of anxiety during those moments may be elevated, however it’s not significant to a point where I become detached and dysfunctional.  Luckily, Dr. Sood mentioned that no one ever dies from anxiety!  *phew* Because those moments where your heart feels like itsbeating out of your chest is definitely uncomfortable and feels like you are.

Here, one individual shows evidence for one of the “seven hidden worries” from Kahn’s article of worrying about needing to be medicated forever.  They showed concern with being defined as “depre4: We have control!ssed” and opted out of medication.  On a good note when it gets difficult to handle stress, they gravitate towards friends and family as a coping strategy.  Even discussed in class, I understand the importance of being empathetic and serving as moral/social support and how it can make all the difference to an individual.  Acknowledging where/how these ideations and feelings stems from can be one of the many “fixes” for those with anxiety or depression.  Also, it’s comforting to know there are easily accessible resources on our campus to assist us in any way possible (and $2 Advil!!).

4: We have control!

3: PERSONALITY

I hope I’m not the only one that enjoys taking these surveys, especially when they are predictive of personality.  In a way, it’s similar to taking those addictive Buzzfeed quizzes.  I think my survey results were fitting for my personality.  Though, my scores for impulsivity were much lower than expected.  My self-control tends to fluctuate, even at a daily level.   Maintaining that comfortable, mental boundary is hard!  I found it interesting that my scores for both sensation seeking and anxiety sensitivity were the same score.  Considering they are on both ends of the externalizing and internalizing personality traits spectrum, it sort of “balances” out.  Although my scores indicated I scored low in hopelessness, I tried to implicate the tips discussed in class to help manage a negative thought this week.  Specifically, I was stuck in traffic ultimately causing me to be late for class leading to some cognitive distortions.  I recognized physically that I was becoming anxious as I felt my heart race increase.  However, the awareness of those physical sensations and assess the situation instantly helped managing the situation. I think personality is a lot more dynamic especially when we’re in those types of situations.

2: Little Happys

2: Little Happys

blue-everyday-good-quotes-Favim.com-1595876

I’m a firm believer in this quote.  In fact, I actually keep a small section in a journal to joint done three things I’m grateful for each day — I call them my “little happys.” :)  It doesn’t take any longer than a couple minutes and often times I have more than just three things that made me smile that day.  But one thing I love about this habit is having the chance to reflect back on the last 24-hours and replay each moment that brought me joy.  Sometimes looking back on previous days, you can’t help but to feel overwhelmed with such gratitude.  Gratitude toward my own life and for all lives.  It brings me a sense of peace and encourages me to spread that optimism with those around me.  My little happys from yesterday were 1) the cotton candy color skies during sunset 2) hilarious snapchat filters and 3) being brought spinach pizza.  It’s always the little things that matter!  Although it may be such a simple task, it certainly is a meaningful change made to create a lasting impact.  Being proactive about creating positive emotions doesn’t have to be a hard thing — little changes and recognition can generate just as much optimism.

1: Well-Being

Well-being is pretty subjective.  I like to think about my life in different compartments: personal growth, relationships, health, and happiness.  Someone could have completely different areas that are meaningful to them — maybe their career or faith.  Ultimately, the importance is finding balance and growing in all areas of life that you cherish the most at a pace that is comforting for you.

It’s way easier said than done, definitely.  But I certainly think their are benefits categorize and evaluate the different areas.  Prioritizing and little daily efforts makes all the difference.  Some days are going to be harder than others and maybe there’ll be more curveballs.  But that’s okay, we’re all works in progress.

What are your unique compartments of well-being?  How do you know when your focusing on one area more than another?