bouncing back

bouncing back

 


April 25: Resilience and Stress Reduction

On Monday, Dr. Armstrong offered a great lesson about stress and resilience. She described that it is what you experience when you believe you cannot cope with a situation. I love that Armstrong talked about good stress too. She talked about how stress can be an opportunity for growth and learning. If you are stressed and then fail or are not happy with the outcome of the stressful situation you can add that to what I call “your toolkit” to use for the next time that type of stress arises. An example given in class was projects or presentations. Some people do better in the 24 window before the project is due. While others may plan weeks ahead and do better with that method. Clearly everyone handles stress differently. If you switched our two types of people they may become over stressed and not benefit from the stress. Later when accessing their tool kits they can reassess how to deal with their stress for the best possible outcome. “Learn from your past to make changes to your future.”

Resilience can be talked about in almost every aspect of life.  The 7 factors are empathy, impulse control, emotion awareness and control, realistic optimism, reaching out, self-efficacy, and flexible thinking. When applying it to stress reduction it can be very beneficial to a person’s mental health.

From the Journal of American College Health, the study of Female College Students examines a interesting idea. Does mindfulness contribute to positive physical health in College Students? As a Science of Happiness student I am like, “YES DUH!” But these studies are so important for people who are not as lucky as I am to be enrolled in a University that offers such classes. I believe as a class webouncing back have done a lot of work with mindfulness and I have spread that to my entire life and to those around me. I also strongly believe that sleep, exercise and healthy food consumption is just as important. Being assigned the Food Journal was very beneficial to me because it spread my mindfulness brain into the food aspect of my life. (which is a very big one) I do exercise and practice yoga. I would like to do ballet more often but I think I am doing well in the physical aspect, I just need to put in some work on the healthy diet part.


April 27: Physical well-being

This past week I was assigned an “eat” journal/exercise. My task was to track my food consumption using SuperTracker created by the US Dept. of Agriculture. I also kept a written journal about my experience with the food I ate throughout the week. Depending on how much time I had or didn’t have my food experiences were VASTLY different. It is so crazy that if you take a moment to think about something you do all the time, habitually – you can learn a lot.

The first thing that stuck out to me was that I don’t eat as often as I think I do. I also had many other discoveries:

  1. I drink too much coffee
  2. I drink wine very often
  3. I really like mixed nuts
  4. I like fruit more than vegetables
  5. I eat on the run A LOT – too much
  6. I eat croissants as meals very often
  7. I don’t eat breakfast when I have early classes/work

Ironically, my most favorite experience with food this past week was with a plum. This was no ordinary plum. It saved me from my stomach growling all through ballet class and accompanied me on my way down the elevator to my car. It was so delicious and juicy. The juice was all over my hand when I finished it. The elevator changed the taste of my plum for a second because they must have just mopped it with a potent batch of Pine Sol. I thought about how great it is that another fruit (the lemon) can be used in cleaning products. Then I thought about how I was running very late for ballet class and my instructor would be extremely upset if I was late. Nonetheless through all this I enjoyed the plum the most.

Things I would like to change:

  1. I would like to plan my meals more often so I have food to eat even when on-the-go.
  2. I’d like to start eating more vegetables.
  3. try to stop drinking so much coffee
  4. eat a more substantial breakfast and lunch while eating a smaller dinner.

If asked to do this LAST week I would have been proud to announce I cooked every meal I ate. I LOVE Pinterest and I get great recipe ideas.

Here is what I tried last week:

H O N E Y  S R I R A C H A  C H I C K E N

bouncing back

bouncing back

bouncing back

If you’d like to try and make it yourself here is the recipe I used! Enjoy!

 


 Readings and Viewings:

1. Murphy M.J., Mermelstein L.C., Edwards K.M., Gidycz CA. The benefits of dis-positional mindfulness in physical health: a longitudinal study of female college students. J Am Coll Health. 2012;60(5):341-8.

2. Buettner D. How to live to be 100. TEDTalk.


 

out of the box

out of the box

Social Well Being & Self Awareness


Leadership & Self Deception // Emotional Alchemy

As Doctor Wu-Pong started her lecture “Do Unto Others,” I had no idea the level of relevance it would have on my day and what happened earlier that morning. We talked about the basic problems in relationships and discussed our book, Leadership & Self Deception but what really struck me was Wu-Pong’s personal example about a frequent conversation with her mother. I thought to myself, “oh my goodness that’s me.” It really hit me on a few levels not only had I gone back to thinking like before I completed Dr. Worthington’s Path to Humility Workbook but I had just talked and interacted with my mother in the most negative way.

Dr Wu-Pong mentioned how her mother would go on and on about how her home was, what she had to eat, etc and while I’m listening to this story I’m thinking in my head, “the mother sounds self-interested, boring etc.” The irony of this situation is that I perfectly fell into the routine of finding someone else’s faults and not looking at my own. Not only was I easily able to see myself listening to my own mother with no interest or care about what she was saying to me but 30 minutes earlier I was actually “listening” to my mother go on and on and feeling the same way. This ended up in a horrible fight over the phone which was all emotion based and became very confusing to try and work out. It’s really crazy how life plays out sometimes. If I hadn’t gone to class today I wouldn’t have seen me being upset or the situation with my mom as a personal problem. Before I walked into class I was blaming the argument and feelings on my mother but when I left I had a much different view.

This, of course, applies directly with our book Leadership & Self Deception. In the book we learn about the phrase, “in the box.” I think I was as far in the box as one could be this morning when arguing with my mother. I was completely blind to my role in the situation and on top of that, refused to see my mother’s thoughts. While I don’t think I would say I saw my mother as irrelevant I think my actions and words could have been taken that way.

In class we learned that we are unfortunately hard-wired to be hypocrites. This was exemplified in my argument with my mother when I was mad at her for doing the same thing I was doing.

We also talked a lot about our “hot buttons” and how we react to them. We used the “office politics” example in class but I was using my common theme: my mother. I found it eerily similar and that upset me. I don’t ever want to think of office politics like I think of my relationship with my mother.


The next day, after some time to cool down my mom and I talked about what had happened and I suggested she read the book too! We are working towards not letting little situations like this not get in the way of our wonderful relationship.

{this weekend my mom came down to Richmond and we painted}

out of the box


This week we also read about Emotional Alchemy and being aware of your own Schemas. We read personal stories about people experiencing unlovability, mistrust, subjugation, deprivation, and abandonmentThe reading explores each schema and when they are active for different people. While it was very inform-full to read people’s direct stories and learn about how people react to the situations I found it helpful that our reading included a five step plan to help guide you when you are feeling very upset or really caught up in your present feelings.

  1. Acknowledge what’s going on.
  2. Be open to your feelings.
  3. Notice your thoughts.
  4. What does this remind you of?
  5. Look for a pattern.

I’ve read over these steps a few times and I am working on really trying to internalize them to use when needed. I am am a very emotion driven person when I am upset. I am usually very level-headed and fairly calm in most situations when it comes to reaction. This all changes for me when I get really upset. In recent years, since I have noticed it I have been working on why I get so upset. This 5 step guide really lays it out for you to move forward more positively. I really like that this is not geared to trying to squash your emotional reactions but digging deeper to find the meaning behind them for your personal development.

I want to challenge myself to go through this plan each time I feel unusually emotional in one of the schema categories. I want to use this technique in coordination with getting out of my own “box.” I think these two ideas will be hard to work on, especially together, but I will continue to try and use my experiences for growth.

A Quote to Guide my Actions

“If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?”

-unknown

Realistic?

Realistic?

This week was especially hard for me. I am not usually a person who has to try to be happy or positive…until this week. Usually I wake up very happy but almost every single day this week I was feeling so down and upset when I woke up all I wanted to do was pull the sheets over my head. Nothing bad happened and I wasn’t experiencing any pain so when given the exercise to think of one “negative” experience that happened to me this week I was stumped.

Luckily, I remembered that Dr. Reina had suggested to me to watch This Is Water by David Foster Wallace. I decided to cancel dinner plans one night and just take an hour to relax and thought it was a perfect time to watch the video.

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a must see! It completely changed my outlook of the week and helped me stay positive in a sometimes negative world that I had chosen to see the worse side of. Oddly enough, I am somewhat glad I felt and experienced this because I have learned how to help myself feel better in these situations

I discovered that I didn’t really have a negative experience to talk about. I was just looking at the situations that were happening to me in a negative way. I am usually very optimistic and lucky to think this way automatically. When my usual way of thought was challenged I had to cope and I am proud of myself for doing so.

Acts of Kindness


  1. wrote a card to a VCU food service employee that I had never met. (We later ran into eachvother and met- she gave me a HUGE hug)
  2. Helped a woman get to one of the Woman’s Shelters here in Richmond.
  3. Moved my car so a woman could park (long story but we talked and had a wonderful conversation afterwards)

These three “acts” made my week. They all happened today and turned my week around. I don’t know how it really effected the people who I interacted with but it really effected my mood. Even though deep down I know that I can make a difference – this week I felt like I could not. These 3 situations made me feel useful and happy about myself. This is perfect timing for our upcoming group project and couldn’t help me prepare more.

I love the broaden-and-build theory:

“The broaden-and-build theory posits that experiences of positive emotions broaden people’s momentary thought-action repertoires, which in turn serves to build their enduring personal resources, ranging from physical and intellectual resources to social and psychological resources.” – Barbara Frederickson

This theory is very representative of my life. I feel that I am usually very good at this and will continue to work on it.

R E F E R E N C E S


1. Wade, N. G., Hoyt, W. T., Kidwell, J. E. M., & Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2014). Efficacy of psychotherapeutic interventions to promote forgiveness: A meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82(1), 154-170.

2. Davis, D. E., Worthington, E. L., Jr., & Hook, J. N. (2010). Humility: Review of measurement strategies and conceptualization as personality judgment. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(4), 243-252. 3. Davis, D. E., Ho, M. Y., Griffin, B. J., Bell, C., Hook, J. N., Van Tongeren, D. R., Worthington, E. L., Jr.. DeBlaere, C., & Westbrook, C. (2015). Forgiving the self and physical and mental health correlates: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 62(2), 329-335.


 

Wellbeing Domain Improvement Plan


After reading Rath’s Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements and taking the assessment offered in the back of the book, I was given an “Overall Wellbeing” score. I was given a series of questions and my scores gave me a lot to think about areas I should applaud myself more in and one’s I would like to improve. For Overall Wellbeing I fall into the Thriving section versus the Struggling or Suffering. My Score, 75 out of 100 made me feel content. This score is calculated from The Five Essential Elements which are; Social, Career, Community, Physical, and Financial. Each element is given a score out of 10 according to the questions asked: Social: 9, Career: 9, Community: 7, Physical: 7, and Financial: 4.

Obviously, my low score of 4 in the financial section is not ideal. I am working on improving my financial status and how to budget the money that I do have and make. I would also like to work on the Career section. While I scored a 9 I feel that I may need to retake this assessment. I do not feel like my career path is perfect right now and currently exploring different ideas on what I should do after college and in life. The Physical and Community elements I would also like to work on. I love being a part of my community and feel that my physical wellbeing is extremely important. Without the physical element none of the others can flourish. I always think of each day as a chance for improvement and narrowing down what I can work on is the first step to growth. Right now I have not created an exact Personal Mission Statement. I have been working on it for the past few months and have thought a lot about my purpose and my mission in life. I believe I have been granted a life full of endless possibilities, paths and purposes. I do not believe I have just one purpose. I would describe my philosophy as a collection of purposes that I wish to lead my life with. I want my world to be creative and kind. I want to spread this notion by working with children and helping others of all ages. I’d like to use my love for knowledge to learn about any and all things both near and far. I will use my love for communication to bring things learned to the people and the communities in which I belong to. I would consider being able to express my creativity through all forms of art and communication as the best gift I’ve ever received. To show thanks to this gift I want to share it with others while learning from them. I feel that these assessments, both the Gallup & VIA have given me some direction. I have a very active, flowing mind that sometimes goes in a non-developmental direction. While I do not put myself down for this or consider it bad I am very thankful to have been introduced to these assessments. They have helped me narrow down what I am good at and realize that I have things I would like to work on and improve. They have also helped me see that I am better off than I thought. I have a tendency to be hard on myself, expect a lot from myself and think badly of myself when I fail. Through learning about happiness with combination of many different developmental learning tasks I have realized my entire life I not utilized what I am good at.


“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

– Albert Einstein

 

Happiness Journey

Happiness Journey

This week in my Science of Happiness Class we talked about Career Wellbeing, Meaning & Purpose, & the Hedonic Treadmill with Dr. Wu-Pong.  I really like how Dr. Wu-Pong included a quote from her father. I forget the exact quote but he basically said that life wasn’t about a destination but it’s about the journey.

My mom’s creative photography before getting my wisdom teeth out.

I love this framework because it really makes you want to enjoy each and every day. I’ve had a lot of time to think about this due to my recent wisdom teeth surgery.

Dr. Wu-Pong brought up a good point: If you were to die today would you be able to say you did what you wanted to do in your life? If not, then what do you need to do in order to answer yes to that question?


the ever-so-changing me

{things I want to do or do more of}

  • read
  • make art
  • travel
  • yoga & ballet
  • meditate
  • volunteer
  • create
  • help others
  • work on my Italian

These things do clarify what I want to do but do not explain how to do it directly. There are a lot of things I want to do and I am working on deciding whether I like them as hobbies or want to make a career out of them or both.

I have recently done several things in order to make positive changes in my life. Today I am going to buy an easel to put in my living room. I want to start painting at least once a week. We have talked a lot about flow and I think when I paint I find flow. I want to start paying more attention to the things I am good at and the things people say I am good at. Dr. Wu-Pong mentioned how people told her she was good at working with people and she was so set on 3 career paths that she never even thought about anything else. I often hear that I am creative and people always say to me, “aren’t you a fashion major?” I would love to find something where I can do all of the things I love. Very often people say to me, “You should start a blog!” I love the idea of a blog but it also scares me. I get worried that people won’t like it, it won’t be cool enough, etc, etc but I want to fight these thoughts and do it for me. I think if I start the blog for me then it can never fail. If I do it for me and others like it, great if not, that’s okay too.

I’ve mentioned before that I am graduating THIS May. I also mentioned that I wasn’t really worried about it. I spoke too soon. I am currently freaking out but I think I am okay. Thankfully this Science of Happiness class has put things in perspective for me. This week we had to turn in our Authentic Purpose Exercise. Among a “To Do” list of things that were given to us to help us find our purpose the 1st was writing our own Eulogy. (how fun!) I wasn’t looking forward to this nor did I think I would ever have to write my own, but it really did help. It was strange but I felt a sense of pride for things I have not yet accomplished. It really put things in perspective for me. Also who knew I was going to have 4 kids! Anyways, I think editing your goals and purpose in life every once-in-a-while is a really great idea! If you asked me a month ago what I was going to do after Graduation

I had a completely differHappiness Journeyent answer then I do now. It really is crazy how much life is like a roller coaster isn’t it?

I think this exercise helped me somewhat plan out what I want to do in my life along with helping me take a deep breath. I know I put great effort into everything I do, I know that I want to help people, create art, travel, go to Graduate School all within the next year. I know I have the means and the ability to do all of that. I also know that you cannot do everything all at once, things take time and patience and you have to be gentle with yourself.

Wrzesniewski talks a lot about Job Crafting and the benefits of turning the job you have into the job you want. I think I can honestly say that I do this naturally. At my current job, yes I do a lot of things that I did not craft but I also do a lot of work that I created and brought into the position. In my past position I used my love for PR and Social Media to make my job more fun and tailor it to my interests. In the end, I received a raise for my efforts. I can see how Job Crafting may seem silly or even impossible in some cases but I did it before knowing there was a term for it. I think especially while I’ve been in college I haven’t been able to do exactly what I wanted in my various positions but I have been able to tailor them and make them more… me.

Kennon Sheldon & Sonja Lyubomirsky’s Achieving Sustainable Gains in Happiness: Change your Actions, not your Circumstances is the perfect segway for talking about Happiness as a goal instead of a journey. They mention “The American Dream” and “The Pursuit of Happiness,” how these notions lead very many people’s lives. I think this is where we are set up to fail. This is the perfect example of, “if I just have that job, I’ll be happy.” “If I just get that house, I’ll be happy.” “If I can just have The American Dream, I won’t ask for anything else.” But when people do attain these things they are still unhappy. I think if we can reframe people’s thoughts to create happiness in the now or in the journey as Dr. Wu-Pong’s father so wisely said, maybe we won’t be in search of these if __ then ___.

Another piece of research I read was, On the Meaning of Work: A Theoretical Integration and Review. 

“Meaning, is the output of having made sense of something, or what it signifies; as in an individual interpreting what her work means, or the role her work plays, in the context of her life (e.g., work is a paycheck, a higher calling, something to do, an oppression).”

-Pratt and Ashforth (2003)

I like the part about the role work plays in the context of her life. We are so used to hearing how the role of life and how it plays our in the context of work. I like how life is given more importance.

I have obviously been thinking about what my goals are for a career and what they mean to me. I do need money to support myself and what I want to do in life. I do not want to ever put money before my values, goals and meaning. I think this where it all falls into place. Once I can put meaning to each aspect of my life I can fully understand where a job, or career lands.

I also really like their discussion of “the self” and how it pertains to work. The thoughts and feelings a person has about herself as an object. Not in an objectifying way but in the sense of experiences. I think if you can step back and look at yourself from different perspectives you can really see how you are effecting your life and others. I think this is extremely beneficial no matter where your career takes you.

They also talk about significance. I think if you step back and look at how you are ranking your tasks or just events in life you can see where you place the most significance. If you’d like you to place more significance, say for example in your community, then you make it a point to volunteer. This can also be used to see where your talents and interests lie.

This was a lengthy and not the most easy read but well worth it!

If you have a moment check out 7 Strange Questions. It is interesting to read about what we are doing in class in someone else’s words.

 


R E F E R E N C E S :

1. Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). Achieving sustainable gains in happiness: Change your actions, not your circumstances. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7, 55-86.

2. Wrzesniewski, Berg & Dutton, Managing Yourself: Turn the Job You Have into the Job You Want. Harvard Business Review.

3. Rosso, Decko & Wrzesniewski (2010). On the meaning of work: A theoretical integration and review. Res Organiz Behavior, 30: 91-127.


 

Mindfully Mindless

The Science of Mindfulness. Really you can put the word science in front of anything and it sounds smart and sophisticated. I think though when there is self interest it is even more intriguing. Dr. Reina and Dr. Warren-Brown came and spoke to our class this week. They both brought insight and great advice into attaining mindfulness. I enjoyed their different approaches and ideas for why it works.

I truly believe and have ever since I can remember that the emotions you display are contagious and matter to those around you. I don’t think this is a conscious effort for most but prevalent nonetheless. Jon Kabat-Zinn  writes about becoming “robotlike” and losing contact with ourselves. If you become more self-aware you will be more understanding of how your personal emotions effect others. If used correctly this can create a positive, happy life. If unnoticed, or used negatively, the environment can go downhill. Warren Brown also talks about attention and its importance. I  like his use of alerting, orienting, and conflict monitoring. While this structural method isn’t for everyone, in class he offered a great exercise using a raisin. These examples speak to the level of understanding from Dr. Warren Brown. He handed each student a raisin and told us to examine it in every way possible. After, we examined it further by eating it. This metaphor slowed down our thinking process and focus. He paralleled this with mindfulness. It was interesting to look at mindfulness in this way.


Dr. Reina works for VCU’s Business school. I was a little surprised to see someone from the Business School in our Science of Happiness class. He focuses on The Art and Science of Mindful Leadership. He presented the idea of mind full vs. mindful. I loved this comparison and have since used it to step back and be aware of my thoughts.

After class I mentioned the documentary, I AM to Dr. Reina. Of course, he had already seen it. If you have not had the chance to watchMindfully Mindless it I would suggest it. Reina talked a lot about how your emotions and actions can physically effect the person standing next to you. I know this can come off as a hippie, cliche statement but I AM explains it scientifically. If you pay attention to someone after you smile at them you can feel it. It sounds crazy but if you watch this you may start to understand. This interconnectedness is alive and real.


 

I also really enjoyed Dr. Reina’s point about minimizing the gap between our values and the values we exhibit. I know I have said this before that this is something I am working on but I really feel good talking about it. We even talked about neuron pathways and if you start to think differently your brain will remember these pathways and soon you can train your brain. I LOVE this and I think it is a beautiful aspect of our brains. I think being aware is the most important aspect of all of this.

I am working each day to not be mindfully mindless and be the best version of myself.

 


 

R E F E R E N C E

1. Kabot-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever You Go There You Are (selected pages, TBD – posted on Blackboard)

2. Brown, K. W. (2015). Mindfulness training to enhance positive functioning. In Brown, K.W., Creswell, J.D., & Ryan, R.M. (Eds.). Handbook of mindfulness: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 351-368). New York: Guilford.

3. Goleman, D., & Boyatzis, R. (2008). Social intelligence and the biology of leadership. Harvard Business Review, September, 74-81.

4. Good, D. J., Lyddy, C. J., Glomb, T. M., Bono, J. E., Brown, K. W., Duffy, M. K., … & Lazar, S. W. (2015). Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review. Journal of Management, 0149206315617003. Pages 1-19 only.


 

wait what’s woo?

wait what’s woo?

“Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.”

-unknown

thesweetestoccasion.com

I learned a lot about myself this week upon taking Gallup’s Strength Finder. I also learned a lot about those around me and how our strengths our similar and different. I’m going through a crazy time in my life right now. I’m about to graduate and I’m not really sure where I’m going or what I’m doing. While I am not as stressed about this as most people want me to be it has caused me to think more about who I am and what my purpose is. My short term goals are to better myself in the here and now and my long term goals are the same. I want to continue to grow and better myself each and every day.

A big point that stuck out to me this week was that of living your life through your morals. I think I’ve been struggling with this without really noticing it. I have a set of morals and while they may not be hard and fast I know what I think is right and wrong. The past 4 years at VCU I have grown a lot but I have engaged in behavior or attitudes that do not align with my morals. My goal moving forward is to make moral oriented decisions. I don’t believe I’m a bad person but I think I have a lot of improving to do.

I am very proud of my strengths after this week. I don’t think I’ve ever been given an opportunity like this, to find out my strengths. I love the idea of using the best parts of me to better myself and the world around me.

I think I can use all of my top five strengths to lead a happy and successful life. My strengths all lead to working with people and I love interactions and bringing people’s strengths forward.


 

CLIFTON STRENGTHS FINDER


This week, I took the Clifton Strengths Finder  and learned a lot about my “Top 5 strengths.” I suggest doing this if you haven’t already! It takes about 30 minutes and costs about $15 but it is a wonderful learning experience. The website gives you suggestions on how you experience your strengths and how you can use them to you and your community’s advantage. My top 5 strengths are: Input, Woo, Communication, Empathy and Maximizer. The website offers a lot of literature on each strength, the Signature Themes Report, Strengths Insight Guide and the Strengths and Insight Planning Guide. I am so excited to go forward with each section.

I was initially surprised when I reading my results because I found them to be incredibly accurate. I am interested to hear how others feel about their results and if they chose to act upon them.

I N P U T

“People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.” I couldn’t believe how true this was of me and how I want to continue to keep this aspect of me a prevalent aspect of my personality and lifestyle. A big point that stuck out to me from this section was, “You want to really understand the subject rather than memorizing a few facts just to pass a test.” I have always been this way and always will be. As a Freshmen and Sophomore I didn’t do well grade-wise because my professors just wanted us to regurgitate the information onto a bubble sheet. It wasn’t until I got into my major classes Psychology and Sociology and started to have more open discussions in class that I started doing better. I was interested in learning because it wasn’t about memorizing vocabulary and facts. It was about grasping concepts and I loved that. I love that this section focused on education. I just applied to be a teacher for Teach for America. It has always been a passion of mine to to teach Kindergarten.

WOO

I wasn’t too sure what woo meant but I would definitely say it is applicable to me and my personality. I have a few examples that apply to this theme just from today. “People who are especially talented in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.” A prime example would be when I get into an elevator. I almost always try to find a reason to talk to someone. It hurts me to not talk to people in elevators. Over my lifetime I’ve been in many elevators and the main theme is that no one talks to one another. I think it is fun to talk about random silly things to people, wish them a good day, the weather, anything! As long as there is some verbal communication or a non-verbal smile I am usually content.

COMMUNICATION

This is probably the easiest thing to notice about me when we first meet. I absolutely love talking and communicating with people. I would have to disagree a little bit with this aspect of the theme, “…generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words.” I do love to present and love the thrill of public speaking, which is some people’s biggest fear. I am a storyteller. I love fresh ideas and excitement. Last week,

EMPATHY

“People who are especially talented in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in other’s lives or others’ situations.” I couldn’t agree with this more. I feel that I sometimes levitate towards timid people if they seem shy, or uneasy. It is always a goal of mine to make them feel more comfortable.

MAXIMIZER

“People who are especially talented in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.” I feel so proud/happy that this is one of my top 5 strengths. We talked in class about focusing on your strengths and those around you. I think I can use this strength to bring people up and really help create a stronger happier environment.


UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA AUTHENTIC HAPPINESS INVENTORY


I also took Penn State’s Authentic Happiness Inventory. This was much shorter than the Strengths Finder and offered much different results. I scored a 4.04 on a 1 to 5 scale.

wait what’s woo?
My Authentic Happiness Inventory Results

 

someone you don’t like/annoys you

SO, last but not least this week we were asked to think about a person who annoys us or someone we don’t like. For confidentiality purposes I won’t note who this person is but I will say he annoys me very much. Right after being asked to identify this person we had to also identify a strength of theirs that they may or may not be using in the wrong way. After that we had to find a strength that we envy the most. I kid you not, I tried NOT to pick the same strength that I envied and the same strength that annoyed me. While this may not make much sense – a good way to look at people that annoy you is to think of a misguided strength. Also remember we are all learning and growing at different paces. ALSO remember that you may be wrong. I think always remembering that you may be in the wrong or there isn’ a right or wrong in every situation will keep you humble and understanding.

 

Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationships in my life and what they mean to me. I’ve been really trying to mesh my morals into my relationships and how I treat them. Some days I’m really confident and think that I am a wonderful friend, person, girlfriend, sister, and daughter and then other days I truly feel like the absolute worst. I can remember a time where I honestly felt that if I ran away no one would be effected. I used to have nightmares about how normal life would be for everyone if I just left. Today, thankfully, I no longer feel this way. I am actively trying to be the best version of myself each and every day. My relationships have become much more meaningful ever since I started allow myself to be me. I realized that I was trying so hard to please everyone that I wasn’t ever happy and my relationships suffered. This was a very confusing and difficult time for me because in reality I was putting so much effort in [more so than I do now] and it was not reflected back to me.

I am by no means saying my relationships are perfect or even good sometimes but I will forever try and improve my relationships in every way I can.


“Human connections in organizations are vital. Whether they form as part of long-term relationships or brief encounters, all connections leave incredible traces.”

-Hochschild, 1997


When I came to VCU I was confused, lost and didn’t have my best friend to rely on anymore. When people meet me they immediately say, “Oh you must have no trouble making friends!” I always take it as a compliment but it is a bit off. I am naturally outgoing and love to meet people and that’s great but it’s not just about meeting people, it’s about making connections and keeping them. For a year I struggled with that, I met so many people and had great 1st impressions but there was no follow up. It wasn’t until I joined Phi Mu here at VCU that I learned to make meaningful connections. Some of my family and friends from back home were upset when they heard I joined a sorority but I had never had that much support from females in my entire life. I think the fact that females were supporting me gave me confidence to be me. They didn’t try to change me or make me someone I’m not, they supported my creativity. I started to dress like I wanted to, I was encouraged to apply to everything, be present on campus and just do things I wanted to do. I’m not saying sororities are for everyone, for me it helped me find my niche at VCU which in turn helped me make better, more meaningful relationships throughout my life. I think it is important to find their niche in every area of life. When you have support you can give support.


In The Power of High-Quality Connections I like the emphasis on connections. I think it is a beautiful way to think about relationships as a bond or the “space between.” In class the other day we got into small groups and chose to share a memorable moment in our lives. (or a similar experience) After sharing with our groups we were asked to reflect on how our stories were similar. While my groups stories were all very different they were so similar in the way they made us feel. After sharing I did feel more of a connection to my group. There is something inherently different about sharing your favorite color with a person and your most memorable moment. This reading explains my experience as a “High-Quality Connection.” It is so interesting that my experiences in my life have always reflected this dynamic but I have not paid much attention to it.

I find it extremely upsetting when I have a poor exchange with someone. Whether that be my best friend or the cashier at the bookstore. The research offered in this reading gives different sides to this notion. In my experience a bad connection hurts me if I am close with a person or not. I tend to hold onto it for the rest of the day. This is why I actively try to keep a smile on my face and remember that you never know how someone’s day is going.

I find my degree of connectivity to be fairly high with most people I meet. I am extremely empathetic to the point where it sometimes causes me physical pain. While that is troublesome, I want to use this to my and my communities advantage. I think I can relate to people who may not have many people they can relate to. I think this is one of the reason’s why I want to work with children and like to work with people in general. I like that this reading notes that talking and connecting with people releases oxytocin. (Which reduces anxiety) I know this to be true and I think it would be very hard to argue with. Talking to someone and sharing almost always leads to a more positive outlook.

 

R E F E R E N C E


Stephens, Heaphy & Dutton (2012) High Quality Connections 

Thanks to Dr. Armstrong & Dr. Wu-Pong

B E MINE – The College Years

B E MINE – The College Years

Romantic Relationships:

Their Developmental Origins, and Intervening with Distressed Couples

While I’ve dated in college more that I would like to admit, I am happy to say I am in a loving, long – term relationship. This summer, June to be exact my boyfriend Philip and I will be dating for two years.


 

Philip & I this past Valentine’s Day

 

I 100% believe that competence in romantic relationships are different in college when compared to adulthood. In class, we learned that your competence in romantic relationships has a lot to do with your connections when you were an infant.

I was the 1st born in my family and received a lot of love, attention and care from my mother AND father for the 1st 2 and 1/2 years of my life. My younger brother, however was born into a broken marriage. At 18 months he had 2 separated parents. I truly believe this has effected his relationships in life. Both he and I were raised by my mother. My father was in Italy and we had no contact with him until recently. This all leads to why I believe collegiate relationships differ from adult. Obviously there are many different factors that contribute but in my experience the evidence is clear.

In general, there is so much stress in college that has to do with school, jobs, work but not so much a boyfriend or girlfriend. Yes, many people have boyfriends or girlfriends, and they may cause them stress or have a big impact on their lives, but the general theme in college isn’t focused on them. I think that is one of the reasons why relationships are so different in adulthood. Not only are you an adult, expected to have it all together in every way possible but you are expected to be romantically competent. In college you are giving a “pass” if you don’t have it together in that arena.


 

An Organizational-Developmental Perspective on Functioning in Adult Romantic Relationships

& Interdisciplinary Research on Close Relationships – The Case for Integration.

S A L V A T O R E

In class, we watched this Youtube Video of Jerry Seinfeld and Wale called The Matrimony. Jerry makes a point about “never being ready.” It is really an interesting way to think  about the way we think about relationships.  In Salvatore’s literature, “Competence in romantic relationships relies on capacities developed in early relationships with parents and peers.” Salvatore focuses on the organizational perspective on development. This includes behaviors and how they develop in early social contexts. Another aspect is how people gain sensitivity to how present circumstances vary from past ones.


R E L A T I O N S H I P S

My two good friends Laura and Alex have been dating since high school. They are both smart, attractive and love each other so much. I think something that leads to their happiness and cohesiveness in their relationship is they openness with one another. They are both honest and loyal, share many mutual friends. They hold each other accountable but still know when to have fun and go out. Both Laura and Alex want the best for each other but understand they do not always know what the best decision is. This goes hand in hand with one of Salvatore’s organizational perspective, the pattern of thoughts, feelings and behaviors. If I had to guess, both Alex and Laura had loving, attentive parents. When following up on this guess, I was correct.


What it means to be Fully Human: Profound Words from an Advocate for the Mentally Disabled

F R I E D E R S D O R F

[ THE ATLANTIC]


“The problem today is that many people are filled with fear. They are frightened of people, frightened of losing. And because people are filled with fear they can no longer be open to others. They’re protecting themselves, protecting their class, protecting their group, protecting their religion. We’re all in a state of protection. To become fully human is to let down the barriers, to open up. And to discover that every person is beautiful.”

I really think this quote sums up the article. Fear drives a lot of people and the decisions they make. We can tie this idea into relationships in college or in adulthood.

“So to be fully human is the development of the heart and the head, and then we can become one.”

This is the perfect explanation of my opinion, not only are you not fully developed in your college years but you are still growing in many ways.


C O N T E X T U A L   INFLUENCES  ON  M A R R I A G E

KEARNEY & BRADBURY


R E F E R E N C E


Friedersdorf, C. (2015). ‘What it means to be fully human’: Profound words from an advocate for the mentally disabled

Salvatore, J. E., Collins, W. A., & Simpson, J. A. (2011). An organizational-developmental perspective on functioning in adult romantic relationships. In L. Campbell & T. J. Loving (Eds.), Interdisciplinary research on close relationships: The case for integration (pp. 155- 177). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Karney, B. R. & Bradbury, T. N. (2005). Contextual influences on marriage. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(4), 171-174. doi: 10.1111/j.0963- 7214.2005.00358.x


 

 

As always, thanks for reading!

S T A R T I N G again

D A Y  IDK

 


So I’ve been really bad about posting three things a day I am grateful for so I am trying to re-frame my thoughts around the challenge. It should not be making me stressed or anxious. I find that logging on to this blog daily is not my 1st priority so I think I am going to continue my Gratitude Challenge on paper and post them weekly.

100 Acres of Temperament

100 Acres of Temperament

 

O N  C A M P U S  I N T E R V I W
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Many students on campus are stressed, worried and sometimes feel a sense of hopelessness. I sought out a girl in one of my sociology classes to see how she dealt with stress and what made her stressed. To my surprise she had to think about it. Seconds later she started rambling off an entire laundry list of stressors. I was starting to feel anxious just listening to her. She said work was at the top of the list, and from what I know about her I could have guesses that. She says she like to shop for makeup when she is stressed. (she must be really stressed because her makeup was perfect) I did not get from her that it helps keep her calm but I can tell it makes her happy so those can lead to one another. She didn’t mention what doesn’t work but she claims to work too often. She fully supports herself here at school, her apartment, her car. I think she is doing a lot of things right because she does seem genuinely happy and has a 3.8 GPA. While I know people can hide behind their makeup, GPA and jobs and seem like they have it all together but I do not sense a dangerous level of stress with her. I would suggest she takes two minutes a day to mediate using Calm.com or the HeadSpace App.  She has not shown any signs of depression or high anxiety. Like me I think her anxiety helps her in most cases.

_____________________________________

Erin Barker via Flickr

This week, I did a lot of growing in and out of the classroom. I was put into some difficult situations and it led me to really apply some things I’ve learned this semester in my Science of Happiness class. Yesterday, in class we watched this short YouTube video called “Just Breathe” If you have 3 minutes and you haven’t seen it, or even if you have watch it again. It is so inspiring to hear wise words from 7 year olds. After you watch you’ll see why the photo above reminds me to stay calm. I’ve always loved glitter, now I love it even more. –


I have been lucky enough to only clearly remember two periods of my life when I felt depressed. I know this is not the case for many. However, I suffer from extreme anxiety on a daily basis. I never really thought I was anxious because I played the ever-so-horrible comparison game. I will say I have been extremely successful and have done amazing things in my 22 years on this earth – I owe a lot of them to anxiety. For example I get anxious about not having enough time in the morning before work or class so I get up earlier than I need to. This has been a very positive aspect on my life. I listen to NPR, I have time to make coffee, breakfast, go on a run and prepare myself for my day. If I was not anxious in this sense I may not be able to do those things I care about.

This week I read Michael W. Kahn’s Special Column on Patient’s Worries about Treatment. Not only did this column encompass I wholesome view on the worries about drugs and their affects but it had an extreme parallel to many life experiences. Khan made great initial points all geared toward clinicians but were very relevant to my experiences and to those around me. He said acknowledging the worries was the 1st step and that laid the groundwork for his “Seven Hidden Worries:”

  1. “Does this Mean I’m Crazy?”
  2. “Am I weak, Bad or Lazy?”
  3. “Will I get addicted?”
  4. “Will I need this Forever?”
  5. “Will I look like a Zombie?”
  6. “Will I have Fake Feelings?
  7. “Will I end up like So-and-So?”

I found it amazing that the simple “reframing” of the patients thoughts and attitudes could completely change their outlook on treatment. Khan noted that just hearing that they weren’t presenting signs or saying things that sounded crazy made a physical, immediate change for patients. The patients’ bodies relax, they sigh, and become less anxious.

This brings up a beautiful aspect of what words can do for a person. A comforting ear and reframing of circumstances can change someone’s whole world or at least put them in a step to the right direction. I also liked that Khan noted clinicians make decisions based on their familiarity with the patient. This can carry in all aspects of life. I hope to be an inner-city school teacher and this is the type of framework I would like to bring into my classroom. Treating each student as unique, hearing their concerns, letting them know their are many obstacles that have nothing to do with them.  I truly enjoyed this article and I have no intention of becoming a clinician any time soon. The basis of this can be uniquely molded into your life.

“Often, just asking whether patients have considered what it would be like to try a medication to help them with their feelings is enough to help them begin to share their concern.”


T A Y Y A B  R A S H I D

positive interventions in clinical practice

Another great reading from this week focuses on psychotherapy and its goals. Rashid makes a motion for a paradigm shift and it is on point, educated and just makes me feel happy reading about it. I really like the point made about “reexamining assumptions” and psychotherapy being a place where strengths are discovered not solely a place to discuss problems. I like the request of a delicate approach not some black and white “recipe” that is going to fix a patient. In my opinion we are always learning, growing and adjusting.

“We have mistakenly equated psychotherapy outcome with symptom reduction.”

I love the points made in this article about creating a “hybrid” program with checks and balances. Rashid does not discredit the strides that have been made, in fact, applauds them. He adds layers onto the already grounded framework. My personal favorite, the addition of Positive Psychology. I believe it is so important to focus on what makes life fulfilling. This is not a “Self Help” book this takes meditative thought and an introspective look on the self. I have already seen positive changes in myself since paying more attention to the world around me. As I stated above, this sometimes makes me more anxious but it has lead to a happier me.


S E L I G M A N

positive psychology process

I always find it interesting how some things in your life can life up so perfectly. Obviously, we’ve been talking about Positive Psychology, what it means, how it applies and how to experience it for yourself.

The Seligman article gives a great explanation:

“Positive Psychology is an umbrella term for the study of positive emotions, positive character traits, and enabling institutions.”

A great aside is how my Science of Happiness class and the reason I started this class has a very similar if not identical purpose. I love the idea of studying the “human experience” and I can really feel that my professors do too. I am so lucky to attend a University that so heavily promotes happiness and physical and emotional wellbeing. I have learn to create ties between all aspects of my life and not be so modular. A great point made in this article says that Positive Psychology does not ignore adversities but it encompasses them in to move toward a happier life.

If this article does not describe what I am working toward in my life and helping those around me I don’t know what does.

 

Thank you for reading [if you’ve made it this far]

REFERENCE 

1. Kahn, M. “Does this Mean I’m Crazy?” Hidden Worries of Treatment-Naïve Patients. Harvard Review of Psychiatry

2. Rashid, T.“Positive Interventions in Clinical Practice.” Journal of Clinical Psychology

3. Seligman, M.E.P. Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist

10 Days

D A Y  12

_______________________________

I had brunch with my sisters this morning at Strawberry St. Cafe.

I studied a lot & got a lot done.

Even though the Patriots aren’t in the Super Bowl I still had fun at all the parties.

11 Days

D A Y  11

_______________________________________

I met with my trainer & had a great workout

I got my nails done for my favorite holiday (Valentine’s Day)

I went to Ellwood’s and realized how lucky I am to be able to shop there.

P E R S O N A L I T Y & PREDISPOSITIONS

 

From the time I was a little girl I was always given 100% freedom to be who I was. I was the first born in my family in Florence, Italy, 1993. I come from a long line of alcoholism and very different types of lifestyles. This all leads up to my reaction to my Substance Use Risk Profile Scale or SURPS results. I really enjoyed our class discussion for many reasons but I think my favorite point was that of your surroundings. I think it is so interesting to think about a genetic predisposition only coming out in a certain environment. In my opinion this is very positive because if you want to change something this eludes to the fact that if you change your surroundings it may be easier to.

___________________________

my SURPS results

  1. Hopelessness – 7
  2. Anxiety Sensitivity – 14
  3. Sensation Seeking – 18
  4. Impulsivity -9

 

class average SURPS results

  1. Hopelessness – 10
  2. Anxiety Sensitivity – 13
  3. Sensation Seeking – 16
  4. Impulsivity – 10

___________________________

In all honesty I wasn’t too surprised about my results. What I was more surprised about was what that meant for me in terms of risky behaviors or substance abuse. When I say surprised I don’t mean surprised for myself because I could see myself getting caught in a problem with alcohol in the wrong situation. But I mean surprised that others who test like me have similar problems. It is so interesting coming to college and not only learning about other people, places, things and cultures but realizing people suffer (or don’t suffer) in the same way you do. Growing up with alcoholism I absolutely hated alcohol (which we talked about in class.) Many times I stated, “I will never take a sip of alcohol!” It wasn’t until I was removed from the alcoholism that I thought about it. My gut feeling truly changed all because of my surroundings. I do not think my personality has changed because I now drink alcohol, but I do believe I have grown up in a way. I know that I have a genetic predisposition and I will always have to be careful not to over use alcohol or self-medicate with it. What I think about the world, people or humanity as a whole has not changed. I’ve always been very interested in  having control in my life. When I was in high school this is what kept me from experimenting with drugs and alcohol. I saw people I loved, friends and family go from a loving caring person to a monster. All I could see is a loss of control and their drug of choice was to blame. I wanted nothing to do with this whatsoever. As I grew older and learned that control isn’t so black and white, I learned that sometimes people want to lose control. This is when I became okay with it. I thought if I wanted to lose it then that was within my control and it was okay.

My personality and cognitive style do not match. I find my personality to be fun, fluid, and go-with-the-flow. My cognitive style is extremely rigid yet messy. I think it would be interesting to an outside person to see the world as I see it. Especially after knowing me. I come off (according to friends and family) as very “Type A” and organized. In my mind and how I see things is the very opposite.

While I wasn’t really surprised at my results, they were still very interesting to see. I am glad my hopelessness levels are low, I’m not surprised my anxiety sensitivity was high along with sensation seeking and I’ve always known myself to not be impulsive.

I think it is very interesting that our readings talk a lot about control and decision making. They pair well with the idea that you can control a lot of your life but not all of it. This also ties in with the common nature vs. nurture discussion or our recent discussion on nature and nurture. I would never take back my childhood or wish to change it because it made me into the person I am today. While I do not claim to be perfect nor do I strive to be I know I always try my best and work hard for myself and others. I think a major part of the reason I am this way is my upbringing. Even though I did grow up with sickness around me there was always a very healthy outlook on life. This shaped me to be careful of my surroundings while still maintaining a positive outlook on life.

The last and maybe the most important point I’d like to touch on is how poverty impedes cognitive function. While I haven’t had the easiest life I have never been hungry. When I came to VCU I started mentoring at a local Elementary school. It just so happened that this school has 98% on the Free or Reduced Lunch Program. I took a class on the inner-city public school system and learned a lot about the school to prison pipeline. I found a scary statistic that was going on right down the street from my cozy (very expensive) on campus dorm room. Most of the children at the Elementary school only ate Monday – Friday. I also found out that when over 60% of a classroom is below the poverty level it will not function productively. This goes hand in hand with our reading about cognitive function and poverty. It makes perfect sense that if someone is hungry, upset, doesn’t have a bed or home to call their own they are not going to get what other students get out of class. Our society tends to victim blame and push out the problem. This is so heavily rooted in the city and these children’s out of school lives.

Pulling all of this together is all dependent on the surroundings. I believe it is so important to stay true to yourself while understanding you may have some tough things to get through.

When I can’t focus and I can feel things getting to me I like to think back to being 7 in ballet class.

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Me 7 Years Old – Stafford Ballet Academy

19 Days

D A Y 3

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The parking meter didn’t work & when I called the support line the phone operator and I had a great conversation.

When I go to Starbucks in the library one of my favorite baristas greeted me with a big smile and yelled, “Hey Miss Georgia!”

I went on a 20 minute walk this morning before my classes started.

Creating & Building

P R O C E S S

______________________________________________

Mindfulness and being intentional about what I do in my life is very important to me. I enjoy asking myself questions throughout the day about the smallest actions and encounters. For example, if something prompted me to smile at a person passing by that I have never met or seen I question what made me, why I followed through with it and how it made me feel. While smiling at  a stranger usually ignites a positive feeling it can sometimes evoke a feeling of sadness if they don’t smile back or even frown. In this case I still continue with my questioning and ask myself why I care if a stranger smiled back at me and maybe start to give possible reasons. Long story short I tend to think through most things in my life very thoroughly. People have often said I “over-think” things but I think that is a misguided label. I think it is important to think about things as long as you need to think about them and pushing them away, in my opinion is negative. I do believe this is all circumstantial. If I were to every moment of the day think about strangers and why they did or didn’t smile at me it would most likely lead to a negative life. That being said, something I would like to work on is my constant worry about what other people are thinking and feeling. In many ways I enjoy it, I feel like I am self aware and also very aware of my surroundings. This has helped me in many ways but is also very draining.

My most favorite tool to forget about my surroundings and focus on the now is yoga. I took a Stress and its Management class here at VCU and I learned some of the most useful information I have ever been told. We were doing a meditative exercise and my professor had us close our eyes and listen to the sounds of a river. Here we are in one of VCU’s largest lecture halls and this woman is asking us to meditate in a room of at least 100 people. When she asked us to do this (it was still add/drop period) and I am not kidding you at least 10 people walked out. She then told us to close our eyes and just listen to the river. Then she explained to us a technique that I find to be so helpful when trying to clear your mind. (I mentioned before I don’t like the idea of pushing thoughts out of my head) We were told to take each thought and imagine them as leaves. Each time a thought pops into your head you are to put it in the river and imagine it going down the stream. You are not killing your thoughts but just gently letting them travel down the stream. To some, probably many this did not work but for some reason it works for me and I’ve continued to use it since that day.

This “process” has started off to a wonderful start. If you’ve read my previous blog posts I have started the 21 Day Gratitude Challenge where you post 3  positive things a day for 21 days. I’ve also started to really think about my purpose and where I find flow in my life. In our last class we were asked where we found flow and I could not think of an answer. This was really upsetting to me. After thinking about it I did come up with some answers but I was still upset. None of my answers are as frequent in my life as I would like them to be

  • Walking/ Hiking
  • Going to the Gym
  • Yoga and Flowga (yoga without holding positions for a long time)
  • Meditating

My goal is to become much more in tune with these activities and to always make time for them.

I have confidence that I can become more confident with myself and build upon my already positive lens of my life. I think if I am aware of my efforts and accomplishments, acknowledge when I am trying my best and when I am not and always remember to treat myself with respect I will be a healthier, happier human being. My plan is to spread that around and help others.

 

20 Days

D A Y 2

________________________________________________________________

I colored and drew pictures for the children’s book artist Eric Carle with the kids I nanny.

I walked to work.

I ate the most delicious croissant at my new favorite Coffee Shop, Whisk on Main Street.

21 Days

I was asked to list 3 things a day for 21 days that made me feel happy or excited.

________________________________________

D A Y   1

I woke up at 6am to go to Ballet class this morning.

I talked to my mom 3 times already and it’s not even 4 yet.

I ate a really yummy red lentil burger at Harrison St. Cafe for lunch.

well – being

on W E L L – B E I N G

___________________________________________________________________________

As a Psychology major I have done a lot of research and studying on well-being and what it means for different people. The most important lesson I learned  was that well-being doesn’t look, act, or feel the same for everyone. At a time in my life when I am so busy, anxious, scared and excited it is sometimes hard to even think about my own well-being. My Aunt is a Child Psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and often has talks with me about health mental and emotional. She explained to me that well-being is a feeling and if a person is stable they usually know what steps they need to take in order to maintain their well-being. That being said, everyone, including myself, can always improve their mind and body.

For me, well-being is a balance of all the things I consider important in my life. Someone else may have entirely different list of important “things” and find themselves completely at peace. This is why, it is hard to define well-being. In my opinion there is not a hard and fast definition but it is more of a personal feeling. I do believe that perfect does not exist but there are red flags that indicate someone is not doing well. Self harm comes in may forms and if that line is crossed the person may need to seek help in order to be well.

For my own personal well-being and from what I can see around me many things have positive impacts. A physical component is very important to me. When I am actively working out, playing on a team or doing yoga my mind is more clear and I do not feel like I get stressed out as easily. When I eat healthy snacks and meals while not completely cutting out my favorite treats I feel my body thanking me. When I do not have negative forces or people in my life pushing me down all the time I feel less anxious and angry. Another big factor that plays into my well-being is when I am honest with myself and others around me. I do not like to have enemies or hold grudges. These are a few factors that contribute to my well being and there are many more.

I consider myself lucky. I am easily excited and happy. I know some people, including family members do not have as easy as a time. I try to be humble about this and try to help others while learning and growing myself. This is the biggest contributor to my well-being and I’m excited to explore more into this!

“Free your mind and the rest will follow.” -En Vogue

H E L L O

H E L L O

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My name is Georgia Cipriani and I am a senior at VCU. I am a Science of Happiness student and look forward to learning more about myself and others throughout the semester.