I feel more opinionated after going through the Science of Happiness. We have learned ways to help each other, and identified things that cause hurt. I am more certain of the types of people I want to surround myself with. Lessons in mindfulness and forgiveness came to me at a good time. I feel better prepared now to cope with life’s issues and inspire happiness in others.
I found that I got less sleep than the CDC recommendation. Most nights I’ll get a solid eight hours in though. When tests or deadlines upcoming it can be beneficial to lose sleep and put in work. Today’s math test was much harder than anticipated, so I’m glad I took the extra time to prepare. As long as I get five good nights of sleep per week, my performance is only marginally worse, if not the same. I definitely don’t feel well when I’m sleep deprived, but it means a better grade in the end.
The readings and class discussion have been relevant to my life as a leader. While I have been at odds with a particular member of my organization, I realize that putting myself “in the box” is a great way to destroy morale and trust. Setting a company norm for forgiveness is the only way to turn this negative into something positive.
My plan is to follow Dr. Worthington’s teachings. Though I found his workbook grueling, I feel closer now to emotional forgiveness. Because the organization is important to me, I will not perpetuate the cycle.
Going forward, I want to continue along my chosen path and improve my skills along the way. I know that mindfulness will make a difference in my life. This sentiment is shared by my group members, and mindfulness has become the focus of our presentation. Without mindfulness, it is too easy to become lost in past regrets or future anxiety. Those absent in the present moment have a hard time empathizing with others and truly enjoying the moment.
Prior to this week’s lectures, I would have considered myself a pupil exclusive to Strategic Thinking leadership themes. I have always excelled with tactics and big picture thinking, but I assumed I would never be able to directly benefit a team member like relationship oriented thinkers can. I am enlightened to know we all possess each of the 34 Gallup strengths in varying degrees. I intend to focus my efforts on developing the one strength in my Top 5 that does not deal with strategy: the Maximizer. This skill helps us bring out the strengths of others. To be a competent Maximizer, I must expand my knowledge of character strengths so I can identify them when they arise. I will practice by identifying talents portrayed by actors on TV, like the exercise in class today. My goal is to be able to maximize strengths in people I hardly know. This will make me a more effective leader, particularly in new groups. As I improve my awareness of other’s abilities, I will be able to better place them in successful situations.
To me the biggest indicator of a positive relationship is encouragement. Positive people will highlight your strengths and help you to grow. In contrast negative people will say and do things to belittle you, hoping to bring you down to their level of insecurity. Surround yourself with positive people!
Active listening is an essential skill for high quality connections. The empathy involved demands someone’s full and present attention. Despite the best intentions, a person who does not feel heard will have a negative interaction. To help someone grow, you have to understand where they are, and what they want to accomplish.
Competence in romantic relationships entails knowing who you are and what you want. Date someone who is incompetent in this way and I promise you will end up hurt. There is a saying “beware the naked man who offers you a shirt.” You cannot truly love someone without first learning to love yourself. The older a romantic interest, the greater chance they’ll have this figured out. The chances for college-age relationships seem dismal. It seems like everyone cheats, and I can’t think of any who have been dating longer than a year. Success would depend on trust, honesty, and a few common interests.
Depression and anxiety are evolutionary reactions that have helped us survive historically. When we anticipate a great challenge ahead of us, anxiety activates our sympathetic nervous system to ensure we are fully alert in response to a threat. Depression has a way of reminding us the importance of something lost. It is hard to appreciate true happiness without feeling the very opposite. Anxiety and depression can become overwhelming, so our ability to limit them with mindfulness is important. As we recognize depression as fixation of the past and anxiety as fixation of the future, we can keep ourselves in the present moment and use these emotions to our advantage. Emotions are energy, and with the right perspective we can harness them as motivation. Many artists will tell you some of their best work was produce while they were at their lowest.
I was not surprised by the results of the survey; I know myself pretty well. I score low on impulsivity and sensation seeking, and a bit higher on anxiety and negative thinking. Though I constantly challenge these feelings, the combination leads me to be more antisocial than most. For the most part I make good decisions, but since I have a hard time making friends these actions often go unnoticed. While an abundance of impulsivity might promote poor decision making, a moderate amount can allow one to accept necessary risks and connect with others.
My desire to gain life perspective will gravitate me toward the military post-graduation. I anticipate the challenges, feelings, and rewards I encounter there will be tremendous. Positive perspective is not gained through shielding one’s self from harm, but from enduring obstacles and setbacks while keeping the resolve to look ahead.
There is little more important in life than your own well-being. This requires an understanding of one’s self and a healthy allocation of stress. People should pursue introspective opportunities to find out what makes them happy and what they want out of life. Regardless of who you are, we all encounter stress that can hamper our emotional and even physical well-being. Left unoccupied, the mind tends to mull over relationships which is not always healthy. Hobbies are great constructive stress relievers that everyone should have. When my own wellness is threatened, I turn to the outlet of painting.