Environment

Before reading this article I never really thought about how the environment around me impacts my education. Being in college wonderful but also really difficult at the same time. I am very thankful for the opportunity to get an education and degree but at times it feels very overwhelming. College students have a lot going on within their school schedules and responsibilities but also socially. Trying to balance everything can really turn into a huge balancing act. Its comforting to know that I am not the only one who feels this way about college. I know my roommates deal with some of the same struggles that I do on a daily basis. In college life feels like it never stops rolling. Despite social tragedy or social and political circumstances, life continues on and it seems like sometimes we all need to just step back and take a deep breath. I feel like VCU tries hard to provide positive care for their students and help them in hard times, but I also feel like they could do better. Some professors simply don’t care if you are dealing with family emergencies or personal issues. I definitely think that could improve our environment to make everyone feel more positive.

Do you think VCU could improve their environment by implementing techniques to encourage positivity? How do you think the students would respond to this?

Interactions

I have never thought about the impact that human interactions have on my well-being. An important piece of information that I know about myself is that I am an extrovert and love to be surrounded by people a majority of the time. I also do not get anxiety about meeting new people or about unknown social situations because I am good at adapting to my enviorment. I have realized that when I run into good friends by coincidence walking to class or at the grocery store it makes my mood so much happier and lighter, and this can last for the remainder of the day. Small interactions with people really improve my well-being.

Do you feel like interactions with people you know and love improve your well-being more so than interactions with strangers?

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is something I believe most people struggle with whether they realize it or not. I think the process of forgiveness takes a lot of time and thought in order to master it and to become conformable with it. I used to really believe the popular phrase “forgive and forget,” but as of recently have noticed that forgetting could be a dangerous thing. Forgiveness is important, but in order to grow and move on from the situation, you should not forget because that is how you can move on from the situation and its important to recognize where you’ve come from and where you’re going (hopefully in a moving forward and moving on type of way.)

What are your thoughts on the phrase “Forgive and forget”? How do you feel forgiveness could improve your mindfulness?

 

DIFFERENCES IN CHARACTER AMONG U.S. COLLEGE STUDENTS

Looking back on m freshman  year as a senior in college, I remember very distinctly the feeling of wanting to be known and loved and the desire for friendship and companionship among my peers at VCU. Social connections seem to be everything today in our society. They seem to be necessary for future job opportunities, potential relationships, and many other social related things. I think that college is a time that many people have the same priority of building and maintaining social connections.  Many people will tell you to work on your social life in college and give you advice on how to act and what to say in certain situations. I think it’s a really important time for young adults to find themselves and work on their outwardness rather than their internal feelings etc.

Substance Use Disorder

Whenever I learn or read about substance use disorder I immediately start to think about my family and the stark differences between my mom and my dad’s sides of the family. On my mom’s side, alcoholism was common among the men in earlier generations (my mom’s grandfather and his father) and on my dad’s side, drug abuse was found in a few relatives, some related and some removed. Sometimes it is scary to me that there is a pattern on both sides of my family and I often would wonder why some people are more susceptible to substance abuse than others.

It is interesting to me that scientists are able to track certain personality traits linked to substance use disorder. Neurological patterns can determine the likeliness of an individual having SUD. I certainly hope that none of my family members inherit this trait and that technology has advanced enough to catch these traits and inform individuals about SUD.

Relationships

This subject is so interesting to me for many reasons! As I get older and more into my adult years, I have had to make many changes within relationships, some of which I don’t even realize I am doing. It is almost common sense to me that if you have good relationships in your childhood you are more than likely to have good relationships in your adult years. I don’t think I have ever thought of relationships in such an organized and developmental way before. It was very interesting to see the correlation of relationships throughout the years and the different attachment types/categories.

I can’t wait to learn more about relationships this week! What do you guys think of this topic/what are you excited to learn about?

Positive Psychology

I thought this article was great! I love this topic, it’s so interesting to learn about how positive psychology can effect an individual’s life and how they process different situations. For example, new experiences can trigger positive thinking which helps slow down negative thoughts and the negative thinking process. I think this article was very informative and gave a great perspective on positive emotions and the biological and scientific reasons behind how our minds register emotions.

I am so exited to learn more about positive psychology techniques and how it plays out on a day to day basis. What about you? What are you excited to learn? Do you think positive psychology has the ability to alter an individual’s life for the better?

Health Related Variables and Academic Performance

It is no surprise to me that almost anything can be linked to how our brains and bodies perform academically and in a general state of healthiness. Sleep, healthy eating, and self care seem to be major variables in maintaining a state of “healthy.”

Moving into college is one of the biggest and hardest transitions we experience in our early adult lives. For some this is an opportunity to prove they are ready to take on the next step, but for others it can be a really hard time of adjusting and starting over new. In order for this transition to go smoothly it is important to find a supporting group of friends, solid sleep schedule, and healthy eating, among other important factors.

It can be a really hard lesson for incoming freshman to learn the hard way. I think this article would be really beneficial for all college students to read, but especially the underclassmen. What factors do you think benefit students for finding a healthy balance in college?

Depression

In my opinion, depression is something that should not be thrown around or taken lightly. Depression is extremely serious and its is upsetting to me that people throw it around and use it in the wrong connotation. I think there can be different levels of depression. I appreciate that the clinical definition of depression was included in the article because it really clarified what is considered clinical and what could be considered a “phase” for lack of better terms.

I think it is important to seek help regardless of how serious your symptoms may be. If you are experiencing  feeling of sadness for weeks or months at a time, I would seek help. But even if just a week or days at a time, that would constitute reason enough to also seek help. No one should ever feel like their feelings are not valid enough to seek help from a specialist or psychologist.

What symptoms would you consider needing help dealing with? Do you think depression is on the rise, or that more people are considering getting help for depression that is already there?

Positive Psychology

In the article Positive Psychology, written by Seligman and Csiksgentmihalyi, it is explained that there are new ways evolving in the field of Psychology that combat mental illness without the use of medicine. Positive psychology is unique in that instead of focusing purely on mishaps and negative events in life, taking life for what it is and focusing on how to pull the positive out of what is already present.

I am not a person who is 100% against medicine; I think that medicine is very valuable and helpful but I do believe that medicine is not a cure-all on its own. I believe that medicine in combination with therapy of some sort could give a better outcome rather than relying on only medication when it comes to mental health. I think Positive Psychology is a wonderful thing to focus on and bring into the field of study.

What is your view of positive psychology? Do you think it can really make a noticeable difference in the lives of individuals and in our society?

Blog #2: Genetic Influences on Adolescent Behavior

I remember when I was in elementary school I was friends with a set of identical twins. Not only did they look alike and talk alike, they also had the same manners and truly acted the same. Considering they are identical they have 100% the same genes and were raised together in the same environment by the same parents. Being the young and curious child that I was, it was always interesting to me as to why they were this way.

After reading this article it makes more sense to me now why two people with 100% the same genetic material may have the same timing on habits and influences. It was very interesting learning about why the timing of influence on twins might be different from an individual and how that can effect their life growing up.

In the article by Dr. Dick it is truly interesting to read and learn more about why these instances might occur due to environmental factors, genetic factors, and other influences. I am interested in what genes effect our habits (alcohol consumption, drug use, etc.) and how that differs from person to person?

Blog Post 1: Mental Health

Keyes has given me a new perspective on mental health and the seriousness that surrounds its presence in our culture and world through this article. I have always viewed mental health in a negative connotation, like a don’t ask-don’t tell conversation. I now realize that mental health needs to be talked about. It needs to be present among conversation and day to day life in our society in order for people to overcome and flourish!

This article has provided many shocking statistics, but the one that stood out to me the most was learning about the one- fifth of our population who is flourishing (Keyes 1-2), leaving the other four- fifths who are dealing with a mental illness or their mental health. This leads me to further believe that this is a problem in our society that should receive more attention, more education, and more awareness. This makes me wonder if we talked about mental health more in public schools and throughout different stages of life would it be more widely accepted and understood?

Looking at the graphs from MacArthur Foundation’s MIDUS Survey was very helpful while trying to understand where other factors lead into mental health or lack thereof. Factors including alcohol, anxiety, and depressive episodes all seem to have a place in distinguishing mental health and it was interesting to see where they line up and what role they play in mental health.

In closing, I am interested in seeing how mental health in the future is accepted and viewed in this society. I agree with Keyes (11) that mental health should be viewed with the same importance as physical health and that people continue to strive to better understand mental health to the same degree as physical health.