Blog 2

Blog 2

The Science of Happiness class has been a genuinely positive influence on my life and daily habits. Having a lot of experience with mental illness in my family and personal experiences makes this class incredibly important to me. Much of what we learned in the past 5 weeks has been about personal emotional growth and relationships with others. Dr. Salvatore talked about building healthy relationships with other people means working on yourself as well. It’s too often that people think the other individual is the problem instead of looking for ways to change yourself for the better. Accomplishing healthy relationships means having a strong support system, which is a key component to being happy. Her lecture relates to Zoe Neale’s lecture on positive identity and positive relationships when she taught us about emotional intelligence and how to stabilize our feelings into positive outcomes. These also relate to the personality trait lecture with Dr. Vassileva. Recognizing our own personality traits as well as others’ personality traits can help us determine who is compatible with us to form healthy relationships. This can also help us if we believe ourselves to be susceptible to any disorder as well as our friends. We also learned about the science of yoga and practicing mindfulness, which relates to the correlation between physical and mental wellbeing. Exercising, eating healthy, and sleeping, all contribute to a healthy mind and body.

The exercises we do each week also have a positive impact. My favorite one was when we had to ask our friends or family for a few things they appreciate about us. I felt a little weird asking for compliments at first, but the responses I got almost brought me to tears. I was really happy that they noticed how much I care about them and it made me feel appreciated. I also liked writing about the happiest and least happy couples I know. It was a little humorous, but also useful to bring attention to the positive and negative aspects of a relationship from the outside. When you’re in a relationship, sometimes you can be blind to the negative things.

The weekly readings are incredibly educational and applicable as well. I especially liked the one on substance abuse because college students are very likely to abuse substances because of the stress of work load or to alleviate mental illnesses. I also liked the one on sleep habits among first year college students. Being a college student, the information was helpful.

After learning so much about what contributes to happiness, I had to make some changes in my habits. I’ve been trying to remind my friends and family how much I appreciate them more often, so they know that everything they do for me doesn’t go unnoticed. I’ve also been working on my listening skills, so they know I care. I’ve been eating healthier and trying to go to the gym more often. I haven’t been practicing mindfulness as much as I would want to, but it’s a goal I’m going to work toward. 

Blog Post 1

In the Science of Happiness, we learned about the Keyes’ Model of Complete Mental Health, genetic influences on behavior, depression, anxiety and mood states, and positive psychology. All of these contribute to the awareness of mental conditions as a medical condition that can be compared to someone with a broken arm. The awareness of how mental disorders work help eliminate stigma toward people who suffer from them. As someone who has a lot of experience with dealing with mental illness, I think people need to be more aware of the negative effects stigmatizing those who are suffering has on everyone involved.

The Keyes’ Model suggests that just because someone does not have a mental illness doesn’t mean that they are happy. In other words, the lack of a disorder does not mean happiness is present. The model presents the terms “flourishing” and “languishing.” Flourishing is the functioning happily in a person’s life and languishing means the absence of a mental illness, but not content. This is important because studies have shown that people who are flourishing in life do better at work, are physically healthier, and are more mentally healthy.

Human behavior is caused by both nature and nurture. Both genetics and environmental factors have an influence on behavior, including whether someone develops a mental illness. I thought the diathesis-stress model is interesting because it says that people are genetically predisposed and environmental factors can trigger or not trigger the onset of a disorder.

In class, we talked about the statistics, causes, and ways to help mood disorders. Mood disorders often start at a young age, but treatment isn’t usually started until much later on. Early intervention is the best way to help someone. Medicine can be prescribed along with psychotherapy. Something that I find helpful that was introduced to me in this class was the idea of mindfulness. Being present in the moment always helps me put my life into perspective.

Positive psychology is an upcoming stem from psychology that aims to not only eliminate peoples’ mental disorders, but go farther to help them reach fulfillment in their lives. I love the idea of positive psychology because it aims to make people happy, not just lift their mental illness. Many people think that if you aren’t suffering from a mental illness, it means you’re happy with your life. Positive psychology and the Keyes Model both suggest that there is more to it.

The awareness of all these factors of mental illness can help educate and raise awareness of the stigma behind it. People with mental illness often are afraid to come forward because of the reputation having a mental disorder has. People are unaware of how they work and think because they can’t be physically seen, they don’t exist.