Eat Journal

I think it was funny that I got the “eat” journal because my weight and eating habits have been an issue for me ever since I had scoliosis surgery the summer before my junior year in high school. Before my back surgery, I loved my body and I always had an appetite and I was a healthy weight for my height. However, after having scoliosis surgery, I lost about 20-30 pounds and never gained it back. One of the reasons is because I had to take medication every day for three months and all I would do is sleep and eat one meal a day because I was just not hungry and my body needed time to heal and recover. After the surgery I also started to develop IBS and another medical condition (do not wish to indicate) which hindered my eating as well. Throughout highschool, people always said that I look anorexic and even when I go to the doctors now, they ask if I have an eating disorder and it is really frustrating and tiresome to hear these remarks over and over because they are not true and skinny shaming is really a thing.

However, why I found it funny that I got the eating journal was because this past year I had been working on gaining weight but it just hasn’t been successful. With anxiety, the stresses of college and life itself, eating is something that I find a bother sometimes (especially with the horrible food selection on campus) and gaining weight is just hard with stress. With my food journal, I found that typically in times over lower stress, I tend to eat a lot more but when I have anxiety or I am not in a good mood, I don’t eat as much. I know that I could be eating healthier, foods with more carbs and protein, but with my college budget and limited food selections on campus, it’s hard to not just get campus food when I paid for the meal plan due to how busy I am.

I know that I need to find ways to alleviate stress so that I can gain weight but I don’t think stress ever goes away with age and although I can find ways to alleviate stress, again, with my medical conditions, its challenging to pick foods. However, I do think that my mood dictates my eating habits and I can sit here and tell you that I’m going to make improvements but the reality, is that I am starting to learn to be happy with my body. I know that I am not ever going to gain 20-30 pounds back with my health but I know that I can start eating healthier and eat things with more protein and carbs. And even though doctors will continue asking me if I have an eating disorder, it doesn’t matter because I know my happiness with my body outweighs anyone else’s opinion.

Self-Deception keeps us in the box

Self-Deception keeps us in the box

I think what really stuck out to me this week was Dr. Wu pong’s two examples, the conversation with her mom and when she showed that negativity spreads more negativity. The conversation with her mom made me reflect on my own conversation with my mom and how important it is to not only be on the phone but to actually really listen to what she is saying because often times we get so wrapped up into our own lives that our loved ones lives are important as well. The next example she gave related more closely with our readings about “being inside of the box” and how we humans like to find commonality in negativity and it just takes one to break that cycle. I think what is sad is that we still find this type of behavior in college and unfortunately it will be hard to break that negativity cycle because it’s just easier to go with the popular response. However, more specifically, it ties to our reading on Leadership and self-deception, and how both leadership skills and recognizing and understanding one’s own self-deception is pivotal in resolving conflicts. However, realizing self-deception is hard, because often times it takes true reflection and self-awareness to realize that we may be contributing to a certain problem or even prolonging an issue. However, it is also hard because of the selfishness aspect of self-decption and how we naturally are born with a high regard of ourselves where we always feel that our actions are justified or prideful of what we do and what this does is keeps us in the box. It makes the box that we are stuck in exemplify that we are a part of those inner lines that frame the box. We are contributing to the constricting box and to get out of it is to rethink and reassess our surroundings and current situations and see what our own action is doing to contribute to the situation.

I think this is relevant to my life because I have been working on forgiving my boyfriend for something and I think that I am not helping myself feel better by constantly remind him of what he did. I think there has to be a point where you have to see that, although you may be expressing your feelings, your feelings shouldn’t necessarily guide your actions. I think based on our discussion and readings, I will continue to always reflect on what I am doing in a situation. I think when we begin to do this, we are able to be out of the box.

Kindness is powerful

Kindness is powerful

This week was interesting because we focused on positive emotions and forgiveness, which were things that I struggled with this week. I was upset at my family for something and it’s taking me a while to forgive them because it usually takes me a little while to calm down before I can process forgiveness. I also was experiencing negative emotions this week due to my lovely girly time. I think it is really hard for me to think positive or feel positive during this time which made this week even harder.

However, with our discussion in class with talking about the movie “The mission” and our activity as well as the reading by Barbara Fredrickson, it highlighted a lot about the relationship between positive emotion and psychology. More specifically, in Fredrickson’s writing, she discusses how powerful it is for humans to have positive emotions and that it ultimately flourishes humans. Fredrickson also discusses how positive emotion can bring upon psychological resiliency which is key because if we stay positive we can be resilient in making bad choices based on negative emotions such as self-harming or hurting someone else emotionally.

However, although I was dealing with my own family issues as well as my monthly time, I did find myself doing two acts of kindness. I was pretty upset at my sister this week however, she really needed help and wanted to talk on the phone, so I decided to put aside our differences to help her and make her feel better even though she had hurt me earlier in the week. After the phone call I did feel a lot more calm about the situation that happened earlier and I am slowly letting go of it. This is just one example that can show how strong kindness has on not only others but you. Another act of kindness I did was that I bought my friend lunch today. I really made her day and I overall had a better day due to the fact that she was so appreciative of not only me buying food for her but the friendship itself. Again, even with having a difficult week, these acts of kindness did help my mood a lot and did create a lot of positive thoughts.

Blended personal and professional mission statement

This week we focused a lot on this concept of a personal mission statement. A statement that includes ones goals, values, ambitions, and overall personal and professional plans for one’s life. The mission statement is not so much a hardcore map that one has to exactly follow, but it gives a better understanding of what you want to do or be in life and how you can contribute to the world.

Going forward, I do not think I would make any changes now or in the distant future because I am happy and content with myself and I am reaching the goals that I set out for myself. However, I think it is always important to reflect on oneself and try to improve upon certain personality characteristic or new ways to achieve goals in our personal and professional development plans. One of the personal yet professional improvements that I am trying to do each day is to take some time out and try to be inspired or look at something creative everyday. This not only gives me a break from the design aesthetics of my major but gives me a new and fresh perspective that gives me new ideas on product innovation or design. Another improvement is that I want to come into situations without any judgment of bias. The reason for this is because I have been accepted into one of the hardest Master’s Degree Programs for Advertising at the VCU Brandcenter, I have heard a lot of stories and things that people say it is a lot of work and you might pull all-nighters sometimes. To be honest, this intimidates me a little bit and makes me wonder if I will be a success at the school. However, I always have to remind myself that other people’s experiences don’t dictate my future and that as long as I never give up and I work hard I will be a success. This is a motto that fits perfectly into my personal mission statement of creatively giving back to others. I think Dr. Wu-pong thought my personal mission statement sounded too professional, but I think it’s more so that my professional life and personal life has blended so much because my professional life is something that I am passionate about. Again, working on my attitude towards my future of graduate school and finding time for myself to be inspired or just take a mental break will definitely help me creatively help other people by making me stronger and more creative so that I can help create products and apps to make everyone’s life a little easier.

Mindfulness and Emotion

Emotions are contagious, one person’s mood can affect another person, one person could even lift the entire emotions of a group, and a smiling at someone can bring forth a happy reaction. However, unpopular opinion, I actually dislike it when people smile at me by assuming I’m upset or not happy because in a way, I feel that it suppresses my emotions. My natural face is intimidating to others to the point where people feel the need to smile to me as a way to “reaffirm” that I am not upset. However, if I am actually upset, I don’t like it when people smile at me because I don’t like the attention of them knowing I am upset and them being uncomfortable with my face to the point that they need me to smile. However, do not get me wrong, I don’t think smiling at people is a bad thing, I do think it can bring a lot of positivity and could potentially change someone’s mood. However, with my personal experience, I dislike it when people assume I am upset and smile at me just because they think I am upset. However, I do believe in the notion of how one’s behavior can affect other people. For example, when my boyfriend is in a bad mood, sometimes it puts me in a bad mood however, sometimes my positive mood can be stronger than his bad mood and it makes his bad mood go away.

I think this is the core of how important mindfulness is. In class, Mr. Warren Brown discussed the notion of seeing emotion and thoughts as fleeting senses and how positivity can bring upon positive social relationships. However, in Jon Kabit-Zinn’s, Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, he discusses the reality of mindfulness, a concept that is great solution to controlling emotions and irrational reactions but also a method that is not a cure all and one that is quite challenging to implement. Generally, negative reactions spawns quick negative reactions. For example, if someone hits you, it is highly unlikely to stop and think about how to approach the situation, we let our emotions control our next move. However, what integrating Mindfulness does is allows our mind to calmly think about the situation and relax our emotions for us to think clearly and even rationally.

It is the emotional balance of mindfulness that allows for elimination of overactive emotions and reduces the chance lashing out or reacting irrationally. With mindfulness, this can save some relationships and turmoil as your actions can really affect a person. Again, being self-aware of how you react to certain things and integrating mindfulness into those reactions can really save any hurt and conflict. This is how it shows that mindfulness is interconnected because if one starts to work on themselves by integrating mindfulness that can start positively effecting others around them. Those that are slow to anger and frustration are more likely to gain a positive reaction from the other person as well as feel good themselves.

Overall, I think Mindfulness is important however, I think too much mindfulness can be a little suppressing. It is always good to watch and be aware of your emotions but not at the expense of not being able to let out your emotions.

Strengths!

Strengths!

 

After taking the Clifton Strengthsfinder assessment, I got a better sense of my identity and the strengths I possess. Before taking the assessment, I thought my strengths were mostly creative and in my talents. However, as doctor Wu-Pong stated, talent is not just things such as being able to sing or dance, it can encompass qualities such as decision making to strategic thinking. In my Strengthsfinder results, my top 5 were Ideation, Futuristic, Achiever, Strategic, and Relator. Although I can see some of these strengths seem like me, I was surprised that relator and futuristic were both on the top 5.

However, during our class activities, I learned that a lot of people had strengths that perfectly fit them and a strength that they did not agree with or found surprising. It is awesome to see how the assessment clearly defined some of the strengths that we possess. However, what I also realized what that through our class discussion and activity of talking to some of my classmates, it is a good way to connect and also a great conversation started. Trying to pick up on other people’s strengths can spark interesting conversations and can help one learn about how to improve one’s own strengths.

In knowing my top 5 strengths, this really reaffirms my passion in my major of advertising, especially with my skills of strategic, ideation, and achiever. However, this also influences my goals of owning my own company one day as a combination of these three skills will be beneficial for creating a successful business. However, in terms of short term goals of getting into graduate school, these skills will help me in this journey.

In terms of building these skills, I think the first step was finding out what my skills are first and coming up with a casual plan of how to build upon these skills. This could be by integrating these skills into my passions and other talents as well as always reflecting on these skills and seeing how I can improve my weaknesses.

Traits in relationships

Traits in relationships

Over my course of high school and college, there have been very little positive relationships in terms of friendships. I think over time when you begin to learn more about yourself and notice that there are people out there that are not positive elements in your life, the friends list begins to dwindle. Reflecting as a senior who is about to graduate in May, I would say my friendship list is small but the people who I am friends with are real relationships that are positive and strong. When I think of characteristics and traits that I use when developing relationships is loyalty and open communication/being yourself. I always think being yourself is so important and not being afraid to be open and honest about things that are bothering you and overall opening up. In terms of loyalty, to be honest I hold loyalty really strongly especially when it comes to people who have hurt me in the past and my friends potentially being friends with those people. This may be an unpopular opinion, however, if someone has hurt me or treated me wrong, I typically don’t want my friends to be associated or talk to these individuals. It is not to say that if the situation is petty then they cannot be friends with them but if it was full on hurt, I expect my friends to not be friends with this person. In my mind, if someone hurts my friend, why would I want to be friends with someone who hurt my friend? Moreover, these greatly contribute to high quality connections with others as when I started to weigh these characteristics of loyalty and communication as a standard I look for in relationships, I found that my friendships have been fulfilling and close.

To reflect on an exercise that we did in class, I think that revealed a lot about my own communication skills and myself. I am not good at starting conversations or small talk in any sort because I just cannot stand it and it doesn’t interest me. That is why most of the friends I met are in my same major or programs that I am involved in because the conversations are actually meaningful and in depth. However, the exercise was good practice and a good way for me to measure how well I remember things that people say to me. What was nice was finding that my partner and I had things in common. However, it was also good practice for me in terms of approaching people and meeting new people, which is something that I don’t necessarily, sought to do. Again, the skills that we went over in the different stages of the listening process are really important and things that we sometimes forget to do that can hinder us form meeting some pretty cool people.

Competence in Relationships

Competence in Relationships

Based on what we learned from Jessica Salvatore’s lecture on Developmental perspectives on Romantic Relationships and participating in a class discussion on what makes relationships good and bad, it is quite easy to define what competence in relationships are. I think it is the ability to set a vision for your relationship set by foundations of trust, honesty, and communication. However, competence in relationships also encompasses an equal effort level and a deep understand of each other.  When I think of my own relationship with my boyfriend and what competence means is to continue working and growing from those foundational elements. With dating for a year and a half, I still think we have a lot of building and we are still learning about things about each other but also getting adjusted to things about that that don’t harm us but that we just don’t like about each other. In other words, competence in romantic relationships in college is building upon that foundation of what it means to be honest and trust one another. However, this differs in adulthood because once you reach adulthood your needs for a partner may change and usually at this stage you built a pretty strong foundation with someone and it’s more about effort, team work, and showing love in different ways. However, it is also furthering that understanding of each other. Although those foundational elements are still 100% important, competence in adulthood take on a more effort level of maintaining and keeping the relationship healthy.

 

 

Anxiety can be helpful?

On the subject on depression based from Dr. Sood’s lecture on depression as well as Michael Kahns column, “Does this mean i’m crazy? Hidden words of treatment-Naive Patients”, it is interesting to think about the relationship between depression and anxiety as well as the relationship of whether or not either of these are helpful or harmful. One thing that Dr. Sood said in the lecture on Wednesday that really captured my attention was when she said anxiety cannot kill you, it is other influences of disorders that combine with anxiety that can kill you. Why that is so interesting to me is because of the automatic assumption and linkage of someone having anxiety also has depression which is not always the case. However, as Dr. Sood’s lecture on Depression discusses, one can influence or bring upon the other, in other words, depression can bring anxiety and vice versa. In my opinion, I believe that depression is harmful but certain aspects of anxiety is actually quite helpful. I also think anxiety links with another part of the brain when it comes to “gut feelings” and “warnings/unsettling things”. However, in terms of mixing personality styles with someone who may have anxiety or depression, can really determine how someone overcomes or is challenged by anxiety or depression. Someone with a more impulsive personality who is depressed has a higher risk of suicide or self-harm. However, on the same note, someone who is impulsive who has anxiety can be helpful in that it could tone down extreme impulsivity as well as make impulsive individuals think about different outcomes/results before proceeding to what they are about to do. Again, I think that anxiety in some aspects an be helpful, in some ways I like having anxiety because it pushes me outside of my comfort zone and makes me realize that I am a lot stronger than my anxiety. For example, sometimes I get anxiety when walking somewhere on campus, not because i’m afraid of people or afraid that something will happen to me, but I just worry. However, I realize that my mind is a lot stronger than my anxiety and I sometimes have to remind myself that whatever my anxiety is brewing in my head is not true and I ultimately push myself to overcome it. Again, I agree with what Dr. Sood had stated, anxiety cannot kill you but I also think about this idea of living and how living doesn’t necessarily mean you are alive. Anxiety and depression can control you so much that there is no difference between living and being dead. Again, my personality style is a combination of being introverted, to curious, and easy going and with this combination, it makes me strong enough to have the control over my anxiety which can sometimes be pretty tough.

 

 

 

 

 

Correlation between Impulsivity and Substance Abuse?

Noting back to our class discussion about the four personality types of vulnerability: Impulsivity, sensation seeking, hopelessness, anxiety and its linkage to substance abuse; one could make the argument that there is a clear linkage between substance abuse and one of these four personality models. Each of these personality models are vulnerable to substance abuse but the only difference is there need and use of it. However, when we recall back to the readings of Natalie Castellanos-Ryan and Patricia Conrod in their, Personality and Substance Misuse: 4 Evidence for a Four Factor Model of Vulnerability, one can see that the lines are blurred  or bidirectional between the linkage of substance abuse and the four model of personalities as there are outside factors of socioeconomic status and nurture/environment that does play a big factor in someone becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. One example in Ryan and Conrod’s study that captured my attention was when they explained children of alcoholics. They found that children of alcoholics are at a higher risk of substance abuse but the interesting part is, there was no mention of one of the four personality types as an influence. To me, this is saying that regardless of your personality type, one can still be in the risk of substance abuse based on environmental and nurture factors. This then brings me to talk about the readings of Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function and why I really liked this reading is because of the unawareness between socioeconomic class and use of substance abuse. When we think of homeless people or poor people, we always seem to link these individuals with drugs and alcohol in a negative way. Although, (debatable) is negative, when you put yourself in the perspective of someone who does not have a home and is doing drugs, their use of substance abuse makes sense. Why I say that is because if I was homeless, I don’t believe I could get out of the situation I am in, I don’t have any family or friends, what would be the incentive to keep me from doing drugs or alcohol? That is why I always feel strongly towards individuals saying they don’t like to give homeless people money because they don’t want them to “buy drugs and alcohol” as if we somehow have this moral obligation to shame the poor for partaking in something that might be the only thing keeping them alive because of its a temporary escape or happiness. Furthering this reading on poverty and substance abuse, the note of “Lower levels of formal education, for example, may create misunderstandings about contract terms, and less parental attention may influence the next generation’s parenting style”, is in interesting because of how much power your environment has. I believe that your environment can be more powerful than one of the  vulnerable personality types. To reflect on my own experience, when I took the impulsivity test, my impulsivity level was on the lower level whereas my anxiety was at a higher level. However, with my home environment, there was never a time where I feel that I needed a substance to cope with my anxiety.

 

On Positive Psychology

From reading Positive Psychology by Martin Seligman and learning about this concept of positive psychology in class on Wednesday, it made me begin to think about the positive affects of having psychologists use the method of positivity. Because it digs a lot deeper than just focusing on the strengths of the individual, rather, it spawns questions of one’s well-being or how to achieve longevity for happiness. I also thought about this overarching question that captured me, “What makes life worth living”? It seems like such an easy question to answer yet so hard at the same time because the definition of “life” ranges as well as the definition of “worth” varies. But I think that with most people, this question is one we struggle with throughout our lives, even if it doesn’t relate to mental illness of depression or suicidal thoughts because it often times connects to the question of “What is my purpose in life” and I think these are some of those questions that we rarely discover until we are approaching death or are one of the luck ones that find themselves coming full circle with there identity and passions in life. One of the interesting concepts that Seligman discussed in his writing was the relationship between time and happiness. Our definition of happiness changes depending on where we are our in growth and development such as teenage years or early adulthood. I also loved when Seligman discussed the difference between momentary happiness and long-term happiness. This made me think about “happiness” within my own life and how happiness in this stage of being a senior in college relates to reaching career/job goals, thus relating to Seligman’s discussion of the relationship between time and happiness. I also wanted to note something that, as we go further and deeper into lessons and the course, I wonder about the use of positive psychology on helping individuals with depression or anxiety, because at certain stages of depression, I think that it’s hard to think  about one’s strengths or play on one’s strengths if they feel that they have no self worth. (I am sure this question will be answered for me throughout the course).