There is no time like the present to change your life for the better! I have learned many things during my time in this Science of Happiness class. One of the major lessons was that not everything that happens to you is determined by your genetics but not everything is entirely your fault either. For example, you can be genetically predisposed to become addicted to drugs or alcohol, but the choice ultimately comes down to your decision to consume the drugs or alcohol. Your personality traits can also play a part in your decision making; more impulsive people are more prone to drug or alcohol abuse. It just seems that sometimes the cards are stacked against you and your fight for independence from substances. The same goes for addiction of other types; games, social media, cellphones, and anything else that you instinctively run to to avoid reality. I had a subconscious dependence on my phone when it came to social interactions. I would instinctively jump on it whenever I was put in uncomfortable situations. I know many people that are the same in that regard. I want to use what I have learned here to help myself and others that suffer from depression. I am tired of always being sad and feeling sorry for myself.
I will apply the material that I have learned in this class in my daily life by starting to practice mindfulness and positive psychology. I have already started practicing positive psychology through random acts of kindness because everyone needs to feel appreciated now and again. I will also try to implement more no-screen time before bed in order to help my sleep cycle and insomnia.
I do not have an active social media presence, but I will attempt to spread the knowledge that I have learned in this class to my friends and relatives. I have multiple family members that would benefit from the knowledge about depression the most.
It is not just related to drugs and alcohol, but to games and social media as well. Excessive smartphone use has been linked to sleep quality, depression and anxiety according to Dr. Schroder. For that week’s exercise we had to put our phones away while in class and record how we felt and what we actually missed when we were away from our phones. Now I am not one that is really effected by my need to be on social media, but I do use my phone to escape from social situations. The following week was with Dr. Vasslieva on how personality traits complemented our need and urges to be attached to something like social media, drugs and alcohol. There has been research about predicting how a child will progress and be at risk for addiction by analyzing their personality. It is surprisingly accurate. I have a very high level of negative thinking for my personality which puts me most at risk for overuse of opiates and alcohol. I have never used opiates, but alcohol I could definitely see myself abusing (if I wasn’t so poor). The latest topic was with Dr. Ross and she discussed SEL or Social and Emotional Learning. SEL is is important to be sucessful in the long run! Traits like empathy, decision making, and conflict resolution skill are necessary for the workplace and to have meaningful relationships. According to a meta-analysis by Joseph Durlak, only 29-45% of surveyed students had these social competencies. They then implemented a SEL program and saw an increase of 11% in academic performance (Durlak, 2011). Now if only all schools could implement some sort of strategy like that!
I have learned in the first couple weeks in SOH that so often teens are depressed, 1 out of 4! That is an incredible number! It would not be as common if we, as a nation, put more stake into “Positive Psychology”. I had never heard of the concept until this class, but it makes sense! Why not bolster someone’s self worth? Why wait till its too late to help someone? I have been depressed for as long as I can remember. I wish someone had used this method instead of just telling me to “get over it” and “what’s wrong with you?”.
I was not at all surprised to get my result from the Keyes’ scale, which categorized me as ‘languishing’. Not at all surprised. I do not want to feel like this. I was pleasantly surprised to learn of my top strengths, which are honesty and perseverance. I knew they would be up there but not necessarily the top two. I have been brought up to ALWAYS tell the truth, even if it gets me in trouble. My honesty is a bit brutal at times; I am working on better ways to approach people.
I will keep learning as much as I can from the wonderful speakers in this class and I hope I can change my outlook on life.