The Science of Happiness journey has taught me a lot this semester both about myself and the general topic of the path to a happier life. Last fall, I stopped by the science of happiness class to see if it is worth taking in the spring. I talked to Mrs. Walsh about the topics and did the strength and weakness exercise. My weaknesses were maybe triple the number of my strengths. One thing this course has taught me through the various units from positive psychology to social wellbeing is to focus on the positives in my life– focus on what you can control and be optimistic. I found this message to be common in throughout the lessons. So, this semester, during the strengths and weakness exercise in class, I found that my strengths were double my weaknesses. This to me was amazing. I had been practicing being positive and working on myself all semester, and there it was crystal clear– I am starting to look at the positives in myself more than my weaknesses which is one of the keys to a more successful and happy life. I found most topics we covered this semester to be insightful and exciting. One topic that I found particularly meaningful was the forgiveness unit. In the Wade and Worthington reading, I learned that forgiveness is not only the reduction of vengefulness or anger but it also positive thoughts and feelings towards the offending person. To me this concept was astonishing. Then, after hearing the story of Dr. Worthington, I was further amazed. I always thought myself to be a forgiving person, but Dr. Worthington’s story almost changed my perception of the extent to which one can forgive. This concept really opened my mind and heart to treat humans as the fragile beings that we are. Another thing that stuck with me from this course was the idea of satisfaction. Sometimes you can do something fun and feel happy, but at the end of the day, what matters more than happiness is overall satisfaction which is a sort of comfort with who you are. This concept resonates in my mind as I move forward to achieve my dreams.
The application of the things we learned in the class can be one of the most challenging aspects. I like how there is always a practice exercise that exemplifies that application isn’t too much of a hassle–it can just be an extra 15 to 20 minutes a day of extra work. These additional few minutes, however, can be transformational. By exercising 20 minutes, meditating for 10, and talking to a close friend for 30 minutes a day my life can transform. I will be more positive, focused, and energetic in my daily interactions. So far, I have been meditating for a long time, I started doing yoga, taking 15-minute jogs in the morning, and became more aware of my positive and negative thoughts. I think this is a great start for me and I will work in my year off after I graduate to perfect these skills and add on more.
In regards to sharing knowledge, this is something I always find myself doing naturally. I always want to share the way to a happier life with my friends, family, and United2Heal board members. Recently, I started off my board meetings with a 3-minute mindfulness meditation to get everyone to be more focused and mindful of their thoughts and surroundings to start off the meeting right. I found this effective especially on a Sunday evening when most of my board members are thinking about their week ahead. I also plan on continuing to post my thoughts and knowledge on social media. I have noticed that a few people always like my weekly social media posts and I would like to keep them informed of my new findings and journey to live a happy, healthy life.
I finally would like to thank everyone in this class for such a great semester. I enjoyed talking to you on Fridays and enjoyed every lecture. I always recommend this course for my friends and my little sister who is a freshman. I wish I had taken this course from my freshman year.
These past 5 weeks of the course have been fascinating and transformational for me. I have learned a vast amount of information that connects very well with each other. In week 5, we learned about relationships. We were required to reflect on good relationships and see what makes them successful. I enjoyed this because it allowed me to reflect on my past relationships and what the causes of the problems were. Week 5 connects with the other weeks because using methods from other weeks can help build stronger relationships. For example, using positive identity techniques, mindfulness, and caring for your overall self can play a huge role in having healthier romantic relationships that may lead to less problem. In week 6, we learned all about positive identity and relationships. I thought Fredrickson’s article was important in giving me a good background on positive emotions and how the broaden-and-build theory helps with building positive action in your life. The weekly exercise made feel appreciated since I got a lot of positive comments from my family and friends. Week 7 was one of my favorite weeks since meditation is a dear practice in my life. I had started meditating in January on and off. Meditating has helped calm my thoughts and increase my focus as I prepared to study for a big exam I am taking soon. The exercise was only part of my daily routine. The second lecture I thought was beneficial since the speaker really helped me focus on not judging my thoughts which help me focus even further. Meditation ties to the previous weeks since it is a great practice to be more mindful of all of your thoughts which seep into your daily life in many aspects including relationships. The most thing I enjoyed about week 9 was the yoga; it was my first time doing it. However, since that day, I have been doing yoga every morning for 20 minutes. It helps me start my day with less anxiety and more energy. Yoga, like meditation, is a great method to bring positivity into your daily life which connects with all the previous weeks. In this last week, we took personality survey to test the degree of impulsiveness, sensitivity to stimulus, negative image, anxious we were. Not to my surprise, I had a high score in the sensitivity to stimulus category since I always am I need of high-intensity stimulus to be focused. We also learned about addiction. I thought it was interesting that after one is addicted, he or she doesn’t take drugs for pleasure but more for a relief of the negative physiological reactions. I think through mindfulness and health practices one can learn to better control negative consequences of your personality.
I have made many larger connections on general outlook of life. I have noticed that everything we learn in class is directly related to how successful and happy I will be in my life. In the past, I have been talking to myself and dealing with my stress in harmful ways. I have grown to be mindful of my thought patterns. All the topics since the beginning of the week all intertwined to give an overall picture of how one should lead a healthy and happy life. The most important thing I have gained from this course has been positive self-talk.
Since the beginning of class and this year, I have made many changes in my life in order to life with a more happy and healthy life. I started to become more dedicated to my morning meditations because of all the benefits that I learned. I also started to do daily yoga after the day I tried it in class. In general, I am trying to have a more positive outlook because it actually changes my actions. Additionally, I subscribed to YouTube channels that give me constant reminders about have a healthy balanced life. I am more inclined to read and engage in articles about better wellbeing. Now, I have the need to share my knowledge. This is one very important aspect that I have gained in class since spreading knowledge is crucial because that can be lead to transformational experiences in many people’s life. It is important to invite your family and friends to practice these new habits with you.
So what really is happiness I thought when I entered the classroom. The whole idea is temporary pleasures that doesn’t really have much meaning. So what if you’re happy? If you’re contributing nothing to the world. I really entered this class with a very skeptical mindset about happiness. I always thought that “ahh happiness is overrated.” As long as your life has meaning and you are making a good impact on the world then that is all that really mattered. But…. It’s not that simple. I really realized that in order to care and have an impact on the world you must care for yourself first. We are all human and we run out of passion, energy, and motivation. We need something that will keep the fire fueling. Working on things to make you happy I learned contributes to your fuel to keep the fire burning.
The first exercised we did was the Key Flourishing Exercise. Not to my surprise, my scores were low, it showed that I wasn’t happy but I didn’t really care to be happy. The exercise to me was more of an identification exercise but it didn’t really have much of an impact on the way I thought.
The first time I really started to reflect on my happiness was when we watched the Ted Talk on happiness. This talk was very interesting. One line that really stuck with me was that you have to be happy to be successful, not successful to be happy. The talk further discusses the role of positive psychology in our everyday life and how positive thoughts can influence our everyday actions. This really helped be aware of my everyday thoughts and my general pattern of thinking. I also thought the three thoughts exercise were very helpful. I loved how it made me want to look for happy events in my life which overall contributed to the awareness of wellbeing. I think the field of positive psychology is a great place for me to start my journey into happiness which will eventually lead to a more successful and meaningful life.