Sleep Journal

Sleep Journal

 

Saturday I went to a concert then went out so I went to bed super late at like 2:30. My sleep was super easy and uninterrupted. I slept until 10:30 and laid in bed until 11:00, so I got in 8 hours but didn’t really feel well rested since I had been out the night before.

Sunday we had a cookout and were outside playing with puppies for most of the day so I was looking forward to sleeping! My boyfriend prefers to fall asleep while watching Netflix, but sometimes that’s a barrier for me and I have to turn it off. I fell asleep around midnight and slept until 9:30/10:00. I’ve always gotten more sleep than most people so 8-10 hours a night is pretty standard for me. I’m also coming out of some mental health problems so I think that may have something to do with it.

Monday I was finally back in Richmond and I finished my homework around 10:30, made a snack and went to bed. I am really bad about eating before bed, but I hadn’t had time to eat during the day much so it was necessary! I watched a few Netflix episodes and fell asleep around 12:00. I woke up at 8:00 and decided to sleep in until 10:00 because I felt exhausted from the weekend. I woke up refreshed, which is always nice! I felt lasting energy throughout the day as well.

Tuesday I was energized all day doing schoolwork and eventually going to the VCU baseball game. I felt super productive and did laundry, cleaned the apartment, and finished my goals for the day. That night I easily fell asleep around midnight and woke up at 9:30 am feeling refreshed.

I find that I definitely feel more well rested when I immediately wake up and don’t lay in bed for a while. I’m pretty lazy though and looove my bed so sometimes that’s a struggle.  If I get up and make breakfast or do yoga then I’m kickstarting my mood and mindset for the day. I find that light is a sleep disturbance. I tend to toss and turn in the morning when the light comes through. One way to improve my sleep would to stop eating before bed.

Sleep Journal

The Box

Before reading this  book I had never seriously thought about my triggers, hot words, or even the notion of having a box to hide in, but now I see  a pattern in my own life, as well as all around me. Dr. Wupong talked about how she felt when a colleague didn’t treat her the way she had hoped and it ended up influencing her to act differently than normal. This corresponds with my life as a college student living with roommates. It’s very easy to be annoyed and look for an outlet to speak to and complain to! The problem is the chain reaction that follows. I know that I try to sympathize with people when they are complaining about someone in their lives, but at what cost? We’re all human and make mistakes, and no one perfectly aligns. It’s important to take life with a grain of salt and treat others as you want to be treated.

Dr. Wupong’s assignment packet really helped me think of new ways of coping with negative emotions, and keep me from going in the box. It’s important to know what ticks you off, but it’s even more important to know how to find your equilibrium again. I enjoyed the reading and found Dr. Wupong’s lectures to be both insightful and meaningful. This week was definitely a week of material that I will use in the future.

Kindness

Kindness

 

Small acts of kindness are so undervalued, don’t you think? You don’t have to spend money or do something over the top, though these gestures are kind too! To me, a smile from a passerby is a random act of kindness, and I try to commit it just about everyday. This week, however, I wanted to go a little further. We’re finally coming out of winter and the end of seasonal depression can make a lot of us feel rejuvenated! I feel like I’m back in my own skin and I want to take full advantage of it! This blog post is perfect for my current state of mind. I planned my second act of kindness, but not my first…

I work in a jewelry store that has locations both in Richmond and in Fairfax, where my mom lives. Over spring break my mom had come in to look around and use my discount (like mothers do). She eyed a necklace that I wasn’t a fan of and since we are very close I expressed my opinion and she later put it back. When I walked into work on Monday I saw it on a mannequin and immediately felt guilty. I decided to buy it for her along with a card expressing my gratitude for all that she does for me. I just sent it in the mail today and I’m so excited for her to get it because I know it will mean so much. I’m normally a penny pincher and spending money literally makes me ache, but spending less than $20 on the woman who is easily my greatest influence in life wasn’t even a question. It made me feel so accomplished to give back to her something SO SMALL and insignificant because it will mean so much to her.

For my second act of kindness I went very simple. I decided to compliment three people a day. I FEEL LIKE I MADE SO MANY FRIENDS!! Seriously just telling someone you like their shirt or hair, or their energy can make such an impact. Every person I talked to lit up and said things like, “Me?? Wow thank you!” or “You just made my day.” Like wuuuut? I just made a person’s day by offering a genuine compliment? That’s so awesome. I want to continue this act of kindness because it is so unbelievably easy and it makes ME feel good. Positive psychology, y’all!

Find Your Mission

This week’s classes were so fulfilling to me and I feel like I’ve learned even more about myself. Putting all the brainstorming together and finding my mission statement made me feel more prepared personally, academically, as well as professionally. My mission statement is to instill compassion, a sense of wonder, and mindfulness in others. This is important to me because through these three aspects I feel like I have found myself. I recently re-found my sense of wonder and it has given me such a greater zest for life, and that’s something I wish for everyone. Mindfulness, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, has changed my life as well as my actions. I think in such a different way now and find peace in alone time when I once felt discomfort. My mission statement extends into my career because I want to teach Preschool or Kindergarten and, to me, the most important thing to teach children at that age is compassion, and allowing them to be curious and learn on their own through experience. I have so many fond memories of being outside and learning just through sticking my head up in the branches of a tree and seeing a bird’s nest with robin eggs inside.

We are all still growing everyday. (Literally our frontal lobe’s are still figuring themselves out) I have set personal goals to greater exude my mission statement to the world. First, I’d like to improve my mental wellbeing by being more mindful, acknowledging the strengths that I have, and finding happiness in small things. I’d also like to improve my relationships and surround myself with positivity. By using my strengths I will be able to reach these goals. I am driven, mindful, outgoing, insightful, and compassionate. These are strengths that took me a long time to realize and I’m so thankful to have looked inside to really appreciate them, and all other aspects of myself.

To finish my post I’d like to share a quote from the Tao Te Ching. This book has been a favorite of mine since my freshman year of high school. I highly recommend it for anyone who meditates or enjoys yoga- it’s the source of many of my daily mantras.

Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child’s?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from your own mind
and thus understand all things?

Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.

Stay Mindful

Stay Mindful

This week we talked all about mindfulness with Dr.  Reina and Dr. Warren-Brown. This topic was super exciting for me because mindfulness is something that I’ve been trying to practice more. Dr. Warren-Brown discussed the practice of meditation and mindfulness as “pulling up a chair and watching your mind as if it were a movie.” Dr. Reina on the other hand discussed mindfulness in leadership, as he is from our business school. He talked about being mind full vs mindful. When your mind is full and you’re stressing about being late or what’s next or whatever it may be, you’re sabotaging your present. The past is memories and the future is fantasy. All we really have is here and now.

Our behaviors affect our peers and that’s why it’s so important to stay aware of your emotions and stay mindful of where your head’s at. I believe spending time with positive people leaves a positive impression on you and lifts your mood. I know that sometimes when I’m around a person who’s complaining and unhappy about everything it can start to rub off on me. Taking a mindful moment to sit back and notice what emotions you’re feeling, what sensations your body is feeling, and allowing yourself to explore your mind can bring so much peace and comfort that often negative feelings float away and seem less important. Doing this will improve social relationships. For example, I have a bad habit of taking out my frustration on people closest to me who had nothing to do with why I’m frustrated. Now I make sure to give myself time to feel what I’m feeling, set those emotions aside as they are the best, and move forward into a new situation with a new person. This ensures that I don’t further the negative cycle and hurt someone else.

As Dr. Reina said, “Mindfulness closes the gap between your behaviors and your values.” Everyone has an ideal self in their minds of who they ultimately want to be or want to be perceived as. Practicing mindfulness allows you build up for pre frontal cortex so you will use it more instead of immediately going into fight or flight mode. In turn, you will act more purposefully and feel more in control.

It’s all about the now, people!!

I feel very fortunate to have a very outgoing personality. I’ve never been afraid to talk to new people and I make fast friendships. I believe this is derived from my mother, who is an extremely social person. When I approach a person with the hope of making a high quality connection, I think one of my skills is making the person feel comfortable and at ease. I suppose I go into the situation with high hopes of a connection, however, I do not always expect one. The most important thing to me is to be kind, and an active listener so the other person feels valued. This week really made me rethink how I may come off when interacting with people, and though I feel like my social intelligence is fairly high, there is always room for improvement. Sometimes I fear I may be formulating what I want to say next in my head leading me to be a poor listener in the present. It’s all about the n o w, people!

Our reading expressed the key features of a HQC to be: a sense of vitality, a sense of positive regard, and a feeling of mutuality. I feel like I exude those very easily, especially a sense of positive regard and a feeling of mutuality. I think we’re all kind of searching for a certain mutuality in life, so I have always tried to foster that emotion in my interactions. Of course body language is extremely important as well. During our in-class exercise I found that eye contact, smiles, nods, and undivided attention made me feel like my voice was being not only heard, but understood. I think that body language should be included in the key features of a HQC.

A HQC doesn’t necessarily lead to a high quality friendship. Lasting relationships require care and upkeep. A lot of times I feel like our generation is always seeking romantic relationships and along the way forgets to nurture our friends who have been with us for the long haul. I can be guilty of it sometimes! Relationships, romantic or not, require care and consistent HQC! I have a bad habit of not reaching out to friends, especially if they live on the other side of campus. However, this week made me realize how important some of those friends who I’ve been less-than-perfect with are my energizers who make me feel good and happy!! The walk is worth it.

In the readings, they discussed the health and psychological benefits of HQCs along with the feeling of gratitude.

There is also evidence that gratitude has both immediate and enduring effects for both members of a dyad. When one person experiences gratitude, both members of a dyad experience greater connection over time.”

Gratitude should be my word of the year so far. It is the most powerful feeling I have experienced because I’m the one who has to hone in on that feeling. Nothing makes me feel better than thanking the people who’ve impacted my life, or sitting on a bench feeling gracious to see birds in the trees and smiles on my peers’ faces. Just as Dr. Armstrong mentioned oxytocin being emitted after a 6 second hug with someone you know, I feel like oxytocin is released when I tune into my surroundings and express gratitude to them or to loved ones.

Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety generally have a negative  connotation, however, at certain times they can have beneficial attributes. Personally when I experience anxiety it motivates me to get up and finish whatever responsibility I have that is causing me the anxiety in the first place. I’ve found that anxiety can be manipulated into a source of motivation until it reaches the point of a panic attack. Truthfully, it’s only beneficial at times when it comes to schoolwork. Additionally, depression can make you look really deep within yourself and you may discover things you hadn’t known before. Therapy, a treatment for anxiety and depression, can also have a positive impact on your life. However, depression can severely affect your mood, motivation, sleep cycle, and relationships, so I feel that it’s negative in more times than not.

I interviewed a friend for the exercise of the week. She expressed that schoolwork was a huge stressor, as well as maintaining friendships. When asked about depression, she talked about feeling depressed thinking about death and the deaths of people close to her. She also discussed feeling depressed when thinking about missed opportunities, or “feeling like you wasted your time.” I really resonated with a lot of what she mentioned. I asked another friend how they dealt with depression and anxiety, and he found taking baths, talking to a loved one, focusing on his breath, and remembering that “no matter what, everything will end up okay.”

 

 

Personality

The survey proved to be fairly true to my personality in the four categories that were covered. I’m not a huge risk taker so my sensation seeking area was low as well as my impulsivity. I’ve also always been a pretty anxious person, planning conversations out in my head with multiple ways they could go in real life, etc. Naturally, my anxiety sensitivity score was pretty high because of this. I scored fairly low on hopelessness because I am hopeful of my future and know that I am cared for even on my worst days. However, I feel that the survey didn’t give well rounded results on my personality; ie I wouldn’t want people to base my personality traits solely off of that. I’m an outgoing, quirky, creative, (sometimes) funny, happy girl! Yes, I have anxieties and am not very impulsive, but I still go on adventures and try new things. Going off of that, I use my gut instincts when making decisions. I can tell that a lot of my traits come straight from my mother, as we are extremely alike in both looks and personality. The older I get the more I realize that being a “planner” is not always a bad thing as I once thought watching my mother make list after list before doing anything. She’s always been prepared for the worst case scenario and I have come to fill those shoes.

On a different note, the substance abuse reactions that our speaker discussed were extremely interesting to me. Back home, like many areas in the country, heroin has become an epidemic in my town. Addiction can strike anyone and I had the misfortune of watching substance abuse completely change a friend’s personality. Someone who used to be a caring, responsible, and genuine person became a disconnected ghost who could manipulate any situation in their favor. Addicts will steal money, lie, cheat, etc to get their fix, but I think it’s important to remember that substances truly alter your brain and change you to your very core. It’s hard to see the person you once knew when the traits you used to love are nowhere to be found. All in all I found this week to be extremely enlightening and I really enjoying thinking deeper about personalities and addiction.

Positive Psychology

I think the process of loving yourself and seeing the good in both yourself, AND your surroundings is something you have to take day by day. Sometimes my purpose, strength, and flow are so blatantly obvious to me, while other times I feel totally disconnected and lost. As a young adult I think that’s a really common feeling as we’re finding ourselves and dealing with day by day stressors. It feels good to talk about it in the classroom because it’s something that’s rarely talked about in a university setting. Having the lecture today boosted my confidence in continuing to find my flow and do things that light a spark in me, or make me feel at ease. As far as obstacles school is obviously a huge one, between classes and homework. My job is another. There are also obstacles with friendships and family members; I’m a huge people pleaser, I want everyone to be happy! Now I realize that sometimes you need to step back and give yourself a little “me time” to reflect on how YOU’RE feeling in that moment instead of everyone else. Of course it’s a little scary when I realized that I don’t always appreciate my life and the world around me as much as I should, but I know that practicing mindfulness will take me back to that feeling of gratitude. I really enjoyed the gratitude challenge that Professor Armstrong mentioned. That’s something I tried to start at the end of last semester and it was an awesome reminder to stay grateful. Now when I have those off days I feel like a have a few tricks up my sleeve to cheer myself  up with positive psychology.

 

Well-Being

This year particularly I have come to realize the importance of taking care of yourself, both mentally and physically. I suffer from anxiety and depression, and I used to think that how I felt was normal and I just needed to suck it up, but now I know that it’s a real problem. I take care of myself by doing things that make me feel confident: journalling, yoga, painting, and sometimes sitting drinking tea and taking a moment to practice mindfulness. I wish I took care of my physical health more than I do now, and it’s something I plan to work on this semester. I think the only way to have happy, healthy relationships with friends, family, significant others, is to be happy with yourself. I’m lucky to be in a relationship. Last semester I was in a deep depression, but this semester I’m feeling much better and I can attribute that to understanding the importance of putting myself first and ensuring my health and happiness. Well being to me means doing things that provide you happiness; things like exercise, music, friends, family, nature, and healthy eating.