I can see more.

I can see more.

When I heard in class that many people either improved, stayed the same, or declined, I thought “Oh, no. The worse one is probably me.” Lo and behold, I was right. I just think that in the beginning of the course, I was excited when school had started and was ready to go into class thinking it was going to be fun. Now that we have come to an end, I am just a bit exhausted. My studying is a little more intense than how other people study and takes up a majority of my time each day. This way of studying is super exhausting and I had to double up on this way of studying for two classes. The results of the intense studying were great, but it has taken a toll on me mentally. I’m just mentally exhausted now that the end is nearing and I think that reflected on my well-being score.

I don’t believe I’m any different in well-being overall from the beginning to now. I think I was influenced on how I felt on that day that I took the survey. Just like any other days, when I am in a bad mood, it reflects on my whole day, but the next day I’ll be just fine. My mood mainly depends on what happens during that day.

I don’t think this course has changed me much. It just introduced to me a lot of concepts and experiences. Mindfulness was an interesting topic. I got to think about myself in the present as opposed to having my mind racing elsewhere. I learned that it was important to be grounded in where I was currently and just to be mindful of what is around me and how I was feeling. Most of the time, my day flies by and I don’t recall a lot of things simply due to me being focused on other aspects.

Mindfulness has changed how I approach things now. I am more aware of my self and not so much in my head all the time. I actually see more of my day and remember more as well. That one class with Dr. Brown and the raisin experiment made me aware of how we are programmed to do and not think now. We don’t savor the way a raisin feels and tastes, we just eat it. That’s like how some of my days are. I just do what I need to do like go to class, study, and so on, but I don’t think about my walks to classes, how I feel while walking, or the little activities happening around me. We miss so much of what is right in front of our eyes.

Going back to my scores on the survey, I still believe that my mood on that day reflected on how my scores were on the notecards. I wasn’t being mindful that day and it shows. I believe my numbers would be the same as it were from the beginning of the year. If all my testing days were over by the time I took the wellbeing survey, I’m positive that the scores would be higher.

I would like 9 hours.

I would like 9 hours.


I was assigned to the sleep journal. I noticed I mainly surf the web until I feel sleepy enough to go to sleep. I don’t set a specific time for me to go to sleep unless it’s getting really late to the point where my sleep is not optimal. Just like Dr. Dick, I always put sleep before work. I try to get as much sleep as I can and it typically alternates depending on what day it is. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I have a 9 AM class which means I get less sleep the day before, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, my first class doesn’t start until 12:30, which means I get way more sleep than needed. So I alternate between 9 hours of sleep and 6. The maximum amount of hours of sleep I get is 9, if I were to go past that, I would develop a bad headache.

There are multiple factors that make my sleep better like having the fan going in my room. It provides the coolness and a white noise. I cannot sleep in total silence nor in a hot room. Studying can act as both a barrier and an inducer of sleep. I make sure I get all the studying I need for that day which means I cannot go to sleep yet. But at the same time, it’s boring enough where my mind starts to get tired.

When I’m well rested, I can function fully. During this experiment, I wasn’t deprived of sleep so I can’t say much about myself during this time. A few months ago, I went to a concert and didn’t sleep until 3 AM and I had to get up at 7AM, which meant I was deprived of just 2 hours, but those two hours made a huge difference. I was not able to focus at all. I had a headache, couldn’t retain information, and just focusing in general was not something I could do that day. The minimal of 6 hours if what helps get me through the day, but with the full 9 hours, I can function optimally. This goes perfectly with Dr. Mountcastle’s lecture. The recommended number of hours is about 7-9 hours.

Do All Things With Kindness

Do All Things With Kindness

One thing I did was write that letter of gratitude to my mother. She loved it and just seeing the joy and happiness light up her face was more than enough satisfaction. She’s my mother and it pleases me whenever I do something that makes her happy or proud. She has done so much for me over the years, that I haven’t properly thanked her for it. Seeing her ecstatic about my letter to her brought a lot of emotions such as gratuity, love, and joy. This is the best satisfaction compared to materialistic aspects. It made me want to do more, but I feel like it feels much more personal when I do it less often. Telling my mom everyday that I loved her wouldn’t have much of an effect compared to me telling her every so often. This is similar to the article by Fredrickson, The Role of Positive Emotions in Positive Psychology. It stated that the more positive experiences we get from something, the more we would want to do it. It’s a contagious feeling and I would like it to be spread to everyone since everyone deserves to feel this way.

The other act of kindness was me being able to give my stuff away to people who need it more. Just helping someone makes me happy since it’s kind of like Christmas for them. Seeing that you were the cause of someone’s happiness is more than enough of a thank you. Whenever I’m with my friends, I would try to make statements that would make them laugh or crack a smile. That’s my only intention, to bring a smile to their faces. They’re people that I care about and of course I would want to make them happy. This situation brings me back to class when Dr. Armstrong mentioned that she pays for the car’s, behind her, toll.  I don’t have much talents, but I try my best to make others smile. Do All Things With Kindness

After reading some stories of kindness, it truly makes me feel happy that other people are doing things for the happiness of others. Lately, I feel like I’ve been reading and seeing negativity in the news, at school, and other places, but reading these stories bring in a whole new kind of feeling. Faith in humanity restored!

Time to Make a Move

Time to Make a Move

Currently, my motivation towards a certain career path is aimed towards the goal of money. Through my childhood, the main thing that I have heard was that I wanted a job that would be able to support me in the future. Even though I understand that I need a career path that would put food on my table and allow me to live comfortably, I’m just not 100% happy with this choice. Recently in the past few years, I’ve seen this unsatisfied being creep up into my life.

The changes to be made in the now would be to decide on what I really want and to act upon those feelings. It doesn’t clarify what I want to do yet, but I’m sure a light would be shone upon the answer. I would need to stop with the wishing and actually put forth an action to solidify that step into the door.

The personal mission statement (PMS) that we worked on in both classes this week was a bit difficult for me. I couldn’t find my PMS. The PMS seemed to be aimed toward  us helping others, but in my view, I can’t help others before I help myself first. I would like to be able to help and guide other people, but I don’t feel that that is my number one goal. I think the main thing that I need to do right now is to experience more experiences and get a feel of what I like instead of doing the same thing that I’m doing. In the article by Sheldon and Lyubomirsky, they stated, “activity change participants experienced greater positive affect as a result of their change.” In Managing Yourself: Turn the Job You Have into the Job You Want, they also state that a person who feels stagnant, should take on more/less tasks or change how ways are done to get out of that loop. I feel like I am stuck in a loop and I need to do something to get out of that.

For the future, I would need to remember this line from Sheldon’s article, “happiness involves engagement in activities that promote one’s highest potentials.” Not only would I benefit myself, but I would benefit for the company I work for by being able to invest my passion into something to create the best product that I can. In the past, I thought I knew what I wanted, but throughout the years I’ve been at VCU, I start to realize that it is not what I want anymore. I know the first step out of this is for me to take action. I need to pursue something that is meaningful to me as stated in class and in the article On the meaning of work: A theoretical integration and review.

Are you awake?

Are you awake?

From my personal experience, if one person’s mood goes down, it drags the whole group’s down as well. If a stranger were to smile at me, it makes me feel a little good and makes me think that that person put in the effort to perform a nice gesture. On the opposite spectrum, if someone were to flip me the bird, automatically my day has gone down the drain. I have been trying to put myself in the other person’s shoes, because the way I treat people is the way I wanted to be treated back. I have been more mindful of the way that I act because I ultimately do not want to be that person that drags the mood down.

By being aware of my social interactions, I put myself in the other person’s perspective and try to be as nice and warm towards them as possible, since that’s what I want reciprocated back. In situations where I know I’m the Debbie Downer, I try to readjust myself and fix the problem. I catch myself a few times almost reaching that negative end, but I pull myself out of it before it becomes too much. Sometimes it’s not fool proof and a little negativity leaks out but I’m okay with it as long as I know that I’m trying more often than I am expressing. Another social improvement skill was mentioned by Dr. Reina and the Social intelligence and the biology of leadership article. They both mentioned the wired circuits in our brain. By changing our action, the pathway changes and strengthens when we keep using it.

Mindfulness was described by both Dr. Brown and Dr. Reina as being in the present state of mind and being aware. In Dr. Brown’s raisin experiment, he introduced to us about how we automatically know what to do with a raisin. It’s built into our minds that the habitual instinct is to eat it, but we never really think about the textures and the experience of eating one. Dr. Reina proposed to us that mindfulness stops the cognitive process for 1 minute and allows us to be more aware. In the Wherever You Go There You Are article, it had a similar definition by stating “it has everything to do with waking up and living in harmony with one self and with the world.” I agree indefinitely with this line simply because we are doing things so habitually, that we’re kind of like robots. We do things that we don’t think about as us doing it. By being mindful we “wake up” and realize our actions and are finally aware of what is happening. In Good’s article, figure 1 shows the process of how 1 pathway can cause a cascade and their effects on other parts of the being. Different parts of mindfulness would affect different parts in attention and then ultimately affecting cognition, emotion, behavior, and physiology.

By being mindful, we increase our awareness, which in hand increases our awareness of others around us. We get to see other people in a whole new perspective and how things are done mindlessly as opposed to mindfully. By being aware of my impact on other people’s emotions, I suppress as much negativity as I can and try to display the positives. I don’t ever want to be the person who brings the whole group down simply because something didn’t go my way or something of the like. I’m currently in the process of being mindful of the things I do because of how it affects others.

Not only does mindfulness pertain to the positivity towards others, but there are some benefits for yourself. In Dr. Brown’s article, he states that with meditation, you improve your psychological wellbeing as well as reducing negative mental health problems.

Disciplined/Diligence

Disciplined/Diligence

By taking the tests, I was able to delve in deeper into my personality. I already what my personality is like, but with these tests, I was able to expand my insight on what each aspect truly is. In both tests, I had a similar first strength which went along the lines of disciplined. This resonated with me since the definition of discipline in the VIA survey was that I get work done in an orderly and timely fashion. The Gallup Strengthsfinder defined it as being organized and liking routine. Even though they defined it differently, I think they’re basically the same. In my everyday life, I like to be organized and a certain way in order to function and get all my work done. Just me typing this blog post is a part of my routine. I come home after school on Wednesday nights, work on this blog post, and then study for my other classes. By getting out of that routine, I feel like I don’t know what to do and it’s a bit scary sometimes since I feel unproductive and I should be doing something for any of my classes. These surveys brought to my attention that the things I do are considered strengths. Dr. Wu-Pong stated that sometimes the strengths we exhibit so well, are overlooked and we typically don’t realize that it’s a strength ourselves until someone else brings it to our attention.

By talking with other students, I found their strengths to be very different from mine. I feel that my strength doesn’t have as much emotion as the other students’. They have a caring aspect that translates into the ability to be empathetic with others and I feel that being disciplined doesn’t really fit into that category. It made me a little more conscious about how majors and personalities correlate with each other.

Being disciplined helps with both short and long term goals. I get certain things done early and it helps with short term goals such as current grades. These short term goals carry over into long term goals such as a cumulative GPA. Building a resume is a parallel comparative. By getting short term projects done, I can add it to my resume to build my character for graduate schools to examine. By being disciplined, I was able to achieve one of my goals which was one of my proudest moments.

I would like to think that I’m using my strength to its strongest potential. In my professional life, I’m being diligent with keeping up with course materials to be ready for exams that are about to take place. I like to split information into smaller pieces and get the most I can out of that to really understand the information. For future jobs, I would be able to get stuff in and out in a timely fashion so that the place could function smoothly. In my personal life, I’d section off times that would be dedicated to working solely on that particular event. I don’t typically set an end time for anything, just a start time to make sure I am able to get started. Most of the time, I would get so into something that I’m working on that I would lose time. As discussed in class, there’s a word for it which is flow. I never heard of flow being the process of losing track of time until that class period.

Taking the surveys were a great way to get to know yourself better and bring to you your attention on what aspect of your life is your strength. Just like me, I didn’t know disciplined was a strength until it was brought to my attention. By talking with other students, it was really interesting in learning what their strengths were and what it meant. They described their strengths really well and made me want to incorporate aspects of their strengths into my life. Disciplined/Diligence

F Is For Friends

F Is For Friends

Developing relationships require a multitude of factors from both parties. As discussed in class, with emotional intelligence, you are encouraged to be aware of your emotions and understand it, not repress it. It is also understanding other people’s emotions and responding to it appropriately. Understanding emotional intelligence helps build better relationships and also leads to higher life satisfaction.

One thing that I keep in mind while building relationships is being self-aware of my emotions and how I react with it. I’m not the best at controlling my emotions and my friends would definitely recognize it. From all the times I’ve compared how I reacted to how someone else reacts with another person,  I became more aware of my emotions and tried to understand why I felt that way and stopped trying to justify reasons that my emotions are “correct.” There are certain things that people do that I might not like and controlling my emotions is a little difficult but with the help of empathy, I am able to see the other side and subside my thoughts and understand where the other party is coming from. My handle on my emotions is a work in progress and I can see that it builds a stronger relationship because I can start to understand where the other person is coming from. This emotion control isn’t about repressing, but rather understanding and accepting. The article supports this by stating one feature in high-quality connections is about “greater emotional carrying capacity.” We are still allowed to express positive and negative emotions, but not leaning more towards the negative.

Lately, I’ve been trying to express a more positive energy towards the people that I’ve built relationships with. “Energizing interations” are contagious and have a positive effect on both yourself and the other person. In my personal experience, building relationships on negativity doesn’t go anywhere. Positive relationships have a  greater effect such as energizing the other party, influencing wellbeing, and strengthening relationships. I base my positivity off my friend’s positivity; it leaks through and makes me want to be positive as well. I might not be as good, but I’m still trying. There’s a quote that has stuck by me ever since I had laid eyes on it, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

My relationships are pretty flexible and have a certain degree of resilience to overcome any negatives, which is the second part of a high-quality connection according to the article. Both sides may express any emotion, but in the end that bond is still strong and bounces back to where it was. This bond is built upon years of many factors such as trust and positivity and would take a major event to cut through that bond. These high-quality relationships are built over time and with many factors to support each aspect of a high-quality relationship.

Relationships Are Built From Young

Relationships Are Built From Young

The way I view competence are the unspoken requirements to maintaining a healthy and functional relationship. Many different factors go into creating a healthy relationship between two people and it varies between each individual group.

Relationships need the simple basics that were discussed in class such as understanding, values, mutual respect, and many more. An aspect proposed by Jean Vanier was simply the concern for others. But, as Dr. Salvatore stated in class, components such as nurturant and marital interactions from an early life feed into that development of creating a functional relationship by molding a way for a person to behave towards their partner. It is built into our beings from an early age and keeps developing as we age. Jean Vanier expressed the idea, “We are born into a relationship.” In the article by Dr. Salvatore, she stated that those who were born into a secure relationship with their parents were rated “more ego resilient” and “less anxious” as opposed to the insecure groups. Nurture has a role into the shaping of a person which would ultimately shape the way a person acts towards their partner.

Not only do relationships need certain values to be the only input into a relationship, but I agree with the article “Contextual Influences on Marriage: Implications for Policy and Intervention.” They state that certain environmental conditions produce different outcomes of these relationships. A monetary strain is certainly an aspect that would be a big factor in the outcome of the success of a relationship.

I believe that competence for romantic relationships differ from this age period vs. later in adulthood. In this age period, I believe competence is the basics of what we were taught to believe a relationship should include. We are still experimenting and just have the gist of what a relationship should be like. With the progression of time, a person is able to gain more insight to understand their partner and cultivate their relationship. Also, I believe there’s a deeper understanding rooted within older people that the younger generation has yet to come into terms with and they had time to love their partner wholly, imperfections and all. Jean states that the heart and head have to come together as one. I have always believed this in becoming one with yourself, but somehow I had never connected this with relationships. With age comes wisdom.

I’ve seen many relationships in my life that just hasn’t worked out and it’s hard to find that one person to share a life with. There was a couple who were deeply in love and had minimal fights. I believe what worked in that relationship was that they were trying to find a best friend within each other first. Then other roles could come into play later, such as values. I agree with their philosophy and would like to try to find someone who fits that best friend figure since I believe it’s a component of the glue that holds a relationship together. In my life, I would want respect, good communication, similar values and other aspects to be found in my future partner, but I firmly believe finding a best friend in that one person would take care of all of those values. My past relationships weren’t as deep as they could have been, which was why I believe they didn’t last. They were mainly surface level, but then again my relationships were pre-college and I have a better grip on what relationships should be like now!

The Depressing Topic

The Depressing Topic

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As discussed in class, anxiety could actually be helpful! With anxiety, there’s a need to get stuff done and Darwinism plays a role in this too. Anxiety helps us avoid things that are toxic to us. It is similar to a fight or flight response. Even though it has a positive side, it could take a turn for the worst by being overwhelming and this is when it becomes problematic. We typically see the negative side, but there is still a positive side with anxiety.

By looking at personality styles, we are able to see who is more at risk of being depressed. People are are aggressive tend to have a higher risk of being depressed. I believe that people who are more shy tend to not seek out help from others, which could lead to an increase in depression if they’re starting to show signs of it. People who aren’t as shy would seem to be able to go and seek out help if needed.

In the exercise, I learned that this person handles stress by taking time out of their day to reflect on the positives in life and uses a mindfulness app to calm their beings. This helps them from getting into that depression trench. Similar to the “Positive Intervention” and “Positive Psychology” articles, this person writes down 3 positive events that happened within that day to focus more on the positives rather than the negatives.

15 = HIGH?!?

15 = HIGH?!?

My initial reaction to my scores was “Oh, it’s low/average,” but this was before the key was revealed. Once the key of low, medium, or high was revealed, my eyes bulged a bit. I did not consider myself hopeless nor anxiety sensitive. Ok, maybe a little anxiety sensitive, but no way have I ever hopeless. Once the averages of the class were revealed, I started thinking, “Dude, am I depressed and I don’t know it?!” I spent a little time reflecting about the way I answered or perceived the questions and figured maybe I perceived some questions differently from what it was asking, then I started to calm down a bit (anxiety sensitivity peeking through).

Mainly from the class discussion, the repetitive factor that kept coming back was alcohol abuse and drug use. I scored high on hopelessness and anxiety sensitivity and medium on sensation seeking. Even though they weren’t in the normal range, I doubt the alcohol and drug aspect would ever come into play. I’m 22 and I’ve only had a taste of alcohol probably about 5 times (not a big fan). I think I’d be too anxious about trying drugs as well.

Other than the hopelessness, I feel the others fit me quite closely. With anxiety sensitivity, I put myself in worse cast scenarios in my head and play it out. I seek sensations sometimes, but not all the times. Impulsivity makes me think for a bit. I have moments of impulsivity but they’re not often and yet they’re not rare.

Gut feelings aren’t something I’m totally in touch with. Typically, when I make “gut feeling” decisions on exams, I’m wrong. The anxiety comes back into play here as well. “Do I go with my gut” or “Do I do eeny, meeny, miny, moe?” The pros about gut feelings are that they give you that initial push to go for it.

Anxiety sensitivity allows me to assess situations and perceive the worst case scenario, so I know what I can do when a certain situation takes place. Throughout my college career, for some reason, walking into the wrong classroom gave me a bit of anxiety. I always check my schedule to make sure I have the correct room or when I got to class and no one was in there, I would check my schedule once more to make sure, even though I already had that reassurance. I hate to be that one person who walks into class late, so I would always leave my house 40 minutes prior to class starting and to also give me a leverage incase there was traffic.

Intentional Focusing

It feels great to intentionally focus and create positive emotions to incorporate into my life. The obstacles I face while doing this is time. Time management is one of the things that I struggle with. An internal factor is that I tend to focus more on the negatives than the positives in my life. Time is not something that I can overcome, I can only work around it. For the internal factor, I would just have to make a more conscious effort in focusing on what’s good compared to what isn’t. The negatives are what are easier to point out compared to the positives, so sometimes I don’t realize what is positive until I really think about it. The positives are mainly neutral feeling, because I don’t really think it’s a positive experience until I make an effort to see it that way. The rewards I receive from focusing on the positives in life are a happier state of mind and a sense of purpose. I should increase the amount of time that I’m putting effort into creating positive emotions and essentially incorporating it into my life as a habit.

Well-Being

My views on well-being is the overall state of balance. Well being is defined as being comfortable, healthy and happy. I believe that we need a good balance of all these three and we cannot have more of one thing. For example, being happy all the time is very tiring and I believe we need those moments when we’re not happy to balance out the state of being happy. In order to stay healthy, it’s a balance of diet and a good sense of mind. It’s the combined work from a physical and mental point of view. Being healthy doesn’t work if one outweighs the other one. Being comfortable all the time is not a good thing all the time. While being comfortable all the time, we are not able to grow. In order for us to grow, we need to be able to experience change and hardships. We need to be able to push ourselves through hard times in order to see ourselves grow as a person.