Positive University

I really liked this article!! I found it slightly frustrating at times in this class that some of the concepts we studied seemed really unspecific and vague, but this article had a nice graph of actual steps. I like that this is the last article so we can see actual steps. I like to see the direction that the things we’ve learned could lead the university in. I love the idea of how different the university could be from now. Do you guys think that it is reasonable to expect the university to move this direction soon?

Weak ties

I really liked this week’s reading because once again it was over a subject that is never really consciously thought about but incredibly impactful. I really never thought about how my interactions with people I don’t know affected me, but the more I think about it, the more I can verify the study’s findings. It’s very important to note that in order for the interactions to be a positive influence on mental health they have to be a positive interaction. I can think of many times that a stranger has almost ruined my day (before mindfulness was introduced to me of course).

Do you think you are ever a positive influence on someone you have weak ties with?


I really liked this article. For some reason, it was much easier for me to understand than the other readings. I also think the topic is very interesting. Like many things we learn in this class, it makes sense to the point as though it seems to be common knowledge, but alternately I never really had thought about the topic explicitly. I am pretty excited about this finding because I don’t think people realize how important forgiveness is. To me, this subject ties into mindfulness a lot. I think the more mindful I become, the less I hold grudges or really care that much about what happened in the past at all. I can really see how the subjects with the forgiveness treatment ended up happier overall, because forgiveness can be so freeing. It’s just a way to let go of the past and stay in the now.

My question for the class is, do you think only certain situations deserve forgiveness?In other words, do you think that there are many things that are unforgivable?

Differences in Character Among US College Students

I thought this article was very interesting because as we progress in this class, I am more curious about measuring seemingly subjective things like happiness and personality traits. This article was very interesting because of the findings, in my opinion. I am surprised by how similar the results were of all the participants. I always feel as though my peers can easily have drastically different views and values from me, so the thought that at the core, we are generally the same in valuing personality traits is intriguing. Additionally, I would like to know if “endorsing” a trait means to practice that trait or to value it? I am confused about that. Another cool thing about this article was the mention of the middle schoolers. Their “endorsements” were different overall from the college kids, which the article mentioned is likely the product of development and change. I did not really expect that large of a change in the overall values in the participants and the middle schoolers. Do you feel as though your personality traits are vastly different now from when you were in middle school?

Substance Use Disorders

I found this article very interesting because I do not feel as though the general public understands much about substance use and there is a large stigma surrounding it. It’s clear to me that substances take advantage of many different brain systems as mentioned in the article, which makes it incredibly challenging to get rid of an addiction.  It is also clear to me that adolescence is a prime time to begin a substance addiction. It’s a very confusing time in one’s life and many actions of adolescents stem from them trying desperately to find out who they are. This means trying many things and substances are some of those things. I watch the show Intervention very often, and to me it is easy to see how people develop substance addictions. Generally, the user had a traumatic event in their childhood which led them in their adolescence to hang out with deviant personalities and try many different drugs. If that is not the case, almost always the user has an addicted parent that either used around them, or simply passed down the gene of an addictive personality. This article specifies all that goes into these debilitating addictions, which is important for many people to understand. There are many things to be considered in addictions, not just the illegality of the drugs. My question for the class is what do you think needs to be done to fix this epidemic?

Analyzing Relationships

This article was fascinating to me because it involved something that I never thought would be studied in such a way. Obviously, if you have a secure childhood you’re more likely to have a secure adulthood, but I did not really think there was a large correlation between the relationships at different stages of life.  I have generally seen romantic relationships as unpredictable in the fact that many different variables are involved in forming and maintaining romantic relationships. Additionally, I personally dislike psychological studies on effects of one’s childhood because no one can control their childhood, but it inevitably affects them the rest of their lives.

My question is, is it possible to change your fate of healthy or unhealthy romantic relationships in your adult years?

Contemplating Mindfulness at Work

I find this article especially interesting because I know I have said in previous blog posts that companies ought to take advantage of the effects of mindfulness and happiness practices. The benefits are very obvious, and it seems as though many companies are trying to take a more holistic approach to taking care of their employees. I think it is so important to recognize that practices like mindfulness will not only cause employees to work better and harder, but they will also cause less sick or mental health days and probably increase the likelihood of an employee staying at their job. I think this is a huge step in the right direction to including mindfulness in everyday life, and will make mindfulness a bigger phenomenon in society. The benefits of mindfulness in the workplace almost seem endless to me and companies would be foolish not to utilize them.

My question is, do you believe that mindfulness practices will soon make their way into public education?

Role of Positive Emotions on Positive Psychology

I agree with this article’s findings wholeheartedly. There are many things that one can do in seeking a lasting mental reputation of happiness, and it is very clear that feeling happy, even for just a little, is one of those things. Clearly, feeling happy makes you happy. Who knew? But on a personal level, I can easily agree. The periods in my life that I can remember as the happiest were always periods during which I felt happiness, no matter how fleeting. It’s almost as if this study is saying that those who are happy and stay that way feel intense happiness at some points, but not always. It’s important to recognize that to be happy your whole life does not have to be perfect and fun. If that was the case, this study would claim that only people who are happy 24/7 are “happy” people.

My question for the class is: If one does not consider himself happy and doesn’t feel feelings of happiness, how exactly do you propose they make themselves feel happy?

Implications for Sleep and Other Behaviors

This article was both fascinating and unsurprising for me. All of the categories that it touched on were almost unspoken signs of success. It has always been clear to me that people with good time management skills do better in school, though I know many successful people with terrible time management abilities. Similarly, I know that having good relationships, positive mental health, good sleeping patterns, and regular exercise is usually a recipe for success. Clearly, however, these things do not cause academic success. This is an article about correlation between behaviors, not causation. Moreover, I feel as though these are studies are simply proving that successful have healthy habits, which is not exactly groundbreaking. It’s almost obvious, that happy people will have better GPAs, along with a good sleep schedule and exercise regularly, etc.

I also noticed that in each section, there were many contradicting study findings. My question is: In your opinions, are these habits and indicators common among academically successful people? Or, like me, are the majority of the smartest (academically successful) people contradictions to these habits?

Silver linings for depression

I really liked this article because I’ve been excited to talk about depression and how that factors into the Science of Happiness. I think it is incredibly important to talk about depression in this class because as the article mentioned, it is one of the biggest health problems globally.  I know so many people with depression, in my family and in my life, and it has huge effects that people only recently started talking about. I’m happy that this article explores the exact science behind this mental illness, because I know for sure that it is constantly disregarded as laziness and dramatizations.

My question for the class is do you think that positive psychology interventions like the ones we learned last week would be effective for helping people out of depression?

Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi 2000

I really enjoyed this article because I feel as though positive psychology is really what the Science of Happiness consists of. I connect their fundamental findings with governmental infrastructure. To me, the government is always too focused on fixing what is currently wrong. While I agree that problems should be fixed, I also think that more emphasis needs to be put on building a greater tomorrow, like the emphasis in positive psychology. Positive psychology allows people to grow to become more resilient, which will undoubtedly be beneficial in the future. Similarly, the government should spend more money on improving infrastructure like transportation and education to make the country better in the future. Positive psychology is about getting better, not getting fixed.

Do you guys think that positive psychology works the same way with everyone?

Genetic Influences on Adolescent Behavior

I found this article very interesting, both because of the topic and because of the authors (our very own Dr. Dick!!). I think this is a significant sect of psychology because it seems to feel into the nature vs. nurture debate. Adolescence seems to be a time in which predispositions to things like drugs and alcohols will become extremely prevalent because of the stresses and changes in that time. While genetic heritage is impossible to ignore, I personally see the environment and events in a person’s life as the majority of the influence, a sort of 60-40 split. In my experience, adolescence has been the time where one’s direction in life almost seems solidified. Traumatic events either have happened or are currently happening and change one’s life plan drastically. Addictions begin and start to take their toll on a young person’s future, and usually are clearly inherited. I liked the section on twins a lot because it illuminated how differently twins, raised with the same or similar environments, can become or react completely different even with the same genetics. I think this field has a lot of discoveries ahead of it and will be studied for many years to come.

Flourishing, Not Floundering

This article was incredibly interesting to me as a concept I subconsciously understood, yet never considered. I would not consider it a new idea as much  as just a true phenomenon with substantial proof. The absence of mental illness has never and will never imply mental health, just as someone who is obese but yet to suffer from diabetes or heart disease is healthy because of their lack of illness. The American government is far away from achieving success in the mental health of its people, and likely will not reach that success any time soon. This topic, to  me, seems as though it deals greatly with a societal perception of health, i. e. pathogenic, salutogenic, and the complete state model. The entire society’s perception of health, specifically mental health, must change for this particular concept to be fully understood. I was not personally surprised by how backward the American statistics were on this issue. As an American, I can fully attest to the fact that everybody is expected to be without mental illness, if someone has mental illness, it must be solved or “cured”, and the rest of the world was just fine and dandy as long as they had no diagnosis. My question is how and will this change? Could one ever work towards a complete reversal of societal knowledge of mental illness, or will people realize their misconceptions?