reflection

reflection

While Science of Happiness ended up being different than what I expected, I still enjoyed the class and learned a lot of new information.

I’m not sure if I see any changes in myself right now but there are definitely some things from this class that I want to incorporate into my life. As I have mentioned in many of my posts I was most inspired by what we learned during our week of mindfulness. I am still so amazed by the positive benefits and effects that living mindful can have on your overall health and mind. Before our lesson on mindfulness I thought the only way type of meditation was the kind where you sit down, close you eyes, and try to tune out the rest of the world. But when I learned about walk meditation and realized it was something I practiced almost daily I started to hold that time more importantly and really tried to concentrate on being in the moment and focus on my surroundings as I walk. Walking is definitely a form of meditation for me and a time for me to forget about all the crazy things happening in my life and instead clear my mind and focus. I am hoping that walking will be my gateway into mediation and will help me in working towards achieving a mindful life.

My scores didn’t really change that much from the pre-class survey to the post-class survey.  The scores for my overall well-being stayed the same, which is something I am ok with because I know from the other well-being survey we had to take for Wu-Pong I have a thriving well-being. My satisfaction with life scale went up by 4 points which is definitely a good thing and reflects the good semester I’ve had and my excitement to graduate next week. My positive affect also went up, while my negative affect went down. While I am not exactly clear on what those things mean I can only image going up in positivity and down in negativity are good things as well.

Again, I am happy I was part of the test run for Science of Happiness, and hope it stays around in future semesters and that other students get to learn the valuable information that I did.

we did it!

sleep

sleep

I got assigned to track my sleep this week. And this week is probably the worst example of sleep I have gotten all semester. This is the week that the most of my final assignments/tests were due for my classes, and the heavy demand definitely showed through my sleep.

To track my sleep I used an app called “Sleep Cycle”. Basically, you set a wake up alarm on the app, can put in notes about your day, and then you place your phone face down on the top corner your bed and go to sleep. Then while you sleep the app tracks your movements. Then when you wake up you have data of how you slept that night. It shows you when you are awake, asleep, and in deep sleep; the time of night/duration of when you are in that state, and then gives you a percentage of your sleep quality. It was a cool app and interesting to see a tracking of my nightly sleep, but I didn’t like using it. I didn’t like having something show me how I was sleeping or what my quality of sleep each night was each night, I felt like it kind effected how I perceived my sleep and altered how tired I actually was.

Over the last couple of days I got an average of about 6 hours of sleep and according the Sleep Cycle an average of 61% on my quality of sleep. I had a busy and stressful week, so I’m not surprised by the low amount of time asleep or the low quality but I surprisingly didn’t feel my lack of sleep reflected in how tired  I felt everyday. I don’t know if college has just prepared me to be able to juggle work, school, and personal life on little sleep or if it just takes a lot for me to be really effected by lack of sleep. If there is anything I would like to change about my sleeping habits it would be to not use my phone right before going to bed/ right after I wake up. I’ve always known that the light from your phone is bad for you before sleep and I don’t like the idea that the first thing I do every morning is check my phone and social, I would like to slowly start working towards not using electronics 20 minutes before/ after i go to bed.

I think what we learned this week in class, and the Ted Talk we were assinged were all very interesting and brought up a lot of viable points. I was so amazed by different cultures that were discussed in the Ted Talk and find their simple life principles so motivating. I also thought all the topics we touched on Wednesday were all relevant to life. I definitely agree that when I eat well, exercise, and get enough good sleep (all things I try to do everyday) I feel better than when I eat a big greasy meal and sit around all day. Wednesday’s class was also really interesting because what we discussed are all such easy, simple everyday tasks, but if we regulate and maintain them they can serious positive benefits to our bodies and overall health. I definitely plan on incorporating what we learned this week into my lifestyle.

in the box

in the box

I think the message of the reading is something that is very relevant to everyone, and can be applied to professional and personal life.

While I was reading the text I kept thinking yes, I definitely know people who possess these qualities and are “inside the box”. I could think of specific people I knew and people I had one time interactions with, such as customers at my work. But as I kept reading I realized that I have also displayed some of those characteristics at time. And while it’s hard to admit, I know I have had my moments when I think the world is against me and only care about my emotions and how I am being treated. But now I want to learn how to control those feelings so I can have more balanced and successful work/personal relationships.

I think what Dr. Wu-Pong said about the “in the box” feelings being heightened and spread by gossip is so true. People thrive off gossip, it’s sad but true. I totally understand how gossip can cause people to be “in the box”. If you’re not experiencing something and only hearing one side of a story you’re going to start to form very limited ideas about the topic, and essentially create a box around your thoughts without even realizing. And then as you continue to gossip these thoughts and ideas will continue to grow.

I think mindfulness is something that comes into play when living outside the box. It’s important to really understand and stay true to yourself so you never deviate from what you think is right and in turn become inside the box.

kindness

kindness

It’s a weird process to have to go through your week and pick out two specific times when you showed kindness. I would hope I am doing little acts of kindness throughout the day, such as hold the door for someone, treat all the customers at work with utmost respect and assistance, and just emit an overall happiness that positively effects others. As discussed in class/reading something as simple as smiling at a stranger can make them go from experience bad feelings to good feelings. Which makes sense as I seriously think people work off of each others energies, and if you complete an act of kindness that has direct benefits to receiver they will experience an increase in good emotions and hopefully they will continue spreading that energy to others.

The 2 big acts of kindness that stick out in my mind happened on Monday and Thursday night. Usually, my roommate and I clean our apartment on Tuesday night after we get home from a class we have together, and we have formed a Tuesday night routine around it. But on Monday I had a little extra time on my hands and decided to go ahead and clean the whole apartment after I made a mess in the kitchen. My roommate was still in class at the time but I know she was surprised and super appreciative when she got back. There is no better feeling then walking home to a fresh apartment, and it opened up some free time for both of us to enjoy after class on Tuesday. The second act of kindness was when I drove my friends to/from a concert on Thursday night. I offered to drive them earlier in the week because I knew I would be around, I know how annoying it is to find parking downtown, and wanted them to be able to enjoy a drink while they watched the show. My friends graciously accepted my offer and thanked me a bunch of times.

It’s amazing what something as simple as spending an hour cleaning or 10 minutes driving can have on your/ other’s emotions. My roommate was able to come home and relax in a clean apartment after a busy day in class and didn’t have to worry about doing it the next night, and my fiends easily/safely got to enjoy their concert. I also benefited from the acts of kindness. I opened up free time on my Tuesday night to catch up on TV shows, and got to unwind/ spend a little time with friends after work/before I started in on a night of homework, and seeing them just for the 10 minute drive seriously boosted my mood after a not so good day. Giving/recieving any act of kindness, big and small, makes everyone feel great, and makes the world a happier place.

personal mission

personal mission

Despite the activities we did leading up to/ during this week I still have no idea what my long term personal mission statement is…. whoops.

With only a little over a month to go until I graduate, the personal mission statement hit a little too close to home, and made me realize how unprepared I am for the “real world”. I already don’t know what I want to do after I graduate, and am pretty I have no interest in pursuing a career in my major. So I thought what we learned this week and the mission statement would be super helpful, but unfortunately it only left me more confused. I have a hard time talking about myself, and struggled to do the authentic purpose assignment, and came out of it feeling like all my answers seemed arbitrary and basic.

As of right now I am not really concerned with creating a life mission statement, I’d rather not stress myself out with that and instead worry about the coming year. As of right now my mission statement is to either be a mentor to inner city k-12 students through City Year, or to do environmental conservation work through the NCCC (these are two Americorps programs I applied to be a part of next year). Hopefully after my year of service my mission statement will become more clear.

I did find the readings really helpful. It was nice to learn ways to cope with feeling unmotivated by your profession. I think that no matter what type of job you have, and whether, it is one you are passionate about or not most people will feel a slump in their job at some point. I think the methods they describe make a lot of sense by rethinking/ redesigning  your work to better fit your interests. I also think these methods can be carried over into your personal life if you are ever feeling trapped/stuck.

street post with accomplishment blvd and mission st signs
get out of your thinking brain

get out of your thinking brain

Meditation is being, not doing (my favorite phrase from the readings this week!) I really enjoyed the material and lectures from this week, and I feel like I learned a lot and gained a new perspective on mindfulness.

When we talked about mindfulness earlier in the semester it really stuck out to me as an important trait to establish in my life. I have always been interested in the effects of meditation, and have done yoga a few times, but if I ever tried to do sitting, focused mediation on my own it always seemed too forced and I would give up. Little did I know, I have been practicing a different type of mediation for a really long time. Right after I got home on Monday night I looked up something Dr. Brown had mentioned in class, walking meditation, and found out that it is an activity that I do almost everyday. I love to  go for walks and have always seen them as a great way to clear to my head. When I walk I don’t think about what’s happening in my life, I experience what is happening in nature around me, the smells, the sounds, the sights, which I now know is meditation. For example, today I walked to work and in doing so experienced the beautiful weather, felt the sun on my skin, smelled the flowers that are starting to bloom, and felt energized by moving my body. By the time I got to work I was in such a happy, positive mood, I couldn’t think of a better way to start my day. By not focusing on all the homework/obligations I have to do this weekend I was able to be in the moment and started my day off positively.

Through my own personal and work relationships/interactions, and from what we learned this week I can definitely see a correlation between mindfulness and social interactions. When you are mindful you have a good understanding of yourself and your behaviors. You also act as your true self and have a smaller gap between who you are and how you behave. Being aware of yourself is really useful when interacting in social situations because you will have more control of your actions/ reactions. When your mindful you also won’t be paying too much attention to your thinking brain.  As stated in the Harvard article when we are upset or high-strung (over-thinking) it hampers our ability to think clearly and may cause us to react harshly or negatively. When you act mindfully, you are completely comfortable with yourself, and I think that openness can really have an impact with how people interact with you. If you are true to your word, and show people/ their ideas respect they will view you in a good mind, come to value time spent with you, and hopefully become more mindful themselves.

Something really important that Reina, and the reading mentioned was that we can change our behaviors. Mindfulness can be learned, and the act of living in the moment can come with training, and I think that is a really great fact and is something that will continually push me to live a more mindful and present life.

Girl walking in a park
strengths

strengths

This weeks content was not only really interesting and eye opening, but information that will be extremely useful as we go through life.

It was great to be able to learn about my own strengths, because whenever it comes to the part of a questionnaire or application asking what your top strength is I never know what to put, and end up just staring at the blank space that follows. So the information learned this week, with recognizing and building up our strengths will definitely come in handy with the job interviews I will soon be going on.

Something I think is really important that came up in the lecture this week is that we need to focus on building our talents instead of fixing our weaknesses. Hearing this really touched me because I feel like there is so much pressure to be perfect and excel at everything, when in reality that isn’t possible and instead we need to focus on the set of skills that make each of us unique. I also found it so interesting how different each of our set of strengths are, and that there is a 1 in 33.3 billion chance of meeting someone with the same order of top 5 strengths as you. That’s crazy!!!!! Embrace your strengths guys!

When it comes to the results, at first I was kind of surprised by what my strengths were, but after reading through them they all made sense. As I looked over what my strengths some of them of were things I wouldn’t ever think of as a strength, but as I read over the descriptions I realized that they are true aspects of my character that make me me. The VIA sheet we got in class was also nice because on the back it listed the opposite, absence, and excess of each strength. It gave another interesting perspective on each of the strengths, and are traits to be aware of when building skills.

When it comes to building my strengths, I am going to try and remember that if I focus on what skills I have that make me unique and incorporate them into everyday life I will improve my life satisfaction and happiness. I also want to work on helping other’s build up their strengths. While it is sometimes awkward, and uncomfortable to point out traits of others, if I try and do that for one person a day it will help both of us become out most authentic self.

relationships

relationships

I think it’s crazy that a HQC can impact of daily lives in so many ways. When I was reading the article I was amazed at all the benefits relationships and interactions can have on our well-being and health. I am so amazed that the single response of feeling known/loved that comes from a high quality connection can lead to improved individual function, which effects immune system and adaption/recovery times. But when I think about it, it makes total sense. While I know how to make myself happy and don’t mind some alone time, I much prefer to be surrounded by people. I can think of a myriad of times when my mood was instantly boosted by either interacting with friends or calling my parents on the phone.  I can also think of a lot of times when a negative interaction has gotten me down. Anyone who has worked in the food services, retail or any other hospitality job has had their day and confidence can completely ruined a rude costumer, it has happened to me multiple times. This really makes me think about how I interact with people, I would hope that people feel known and happy after talking with me and not like I just brought awful energy to their day.

I am lucky to say that I have formed some really close relationships, that I trust will last a life time. In class on Monday when we were picking our top ten values the one that stuck out as most important to me was full self-expression. That combined with openness, with yourself and the acceptance of other, is what is I credit with making, and keeping relationships. My personality is pretty weird, and out there, but it’s how I’ve always been and I don’t ever plan on changing. I am beyond grateful/ fortunate to have friends that accept me for who I am, and really let me be me. I also think this goes along well with openness, because I feel that I can completely be myself when I am with my friends, and share anything with them. While I think it is important to be open about yourself  I think a crucial part of a relationship is to be open to who the other person is, and the qualities that make them.

Going off my important values of openness and self-expression, I had no problem with the high quality connection activity we had to do in class. I don’t know if I am alone in this but I genuinely enjoy getting to know people. I love learning new things, hearing stories, and I just really love to talk. I really had no problem asking a question and keeping the conversation going. The minute seemed to go by so fast and I was kind of sad that our conversations got cut off right in the middle. As someone mentioned in class this exercise was really interesting because we sit next to these people everyday in class and never talk, but once we do interact we learn that we have a lot in common.

Relationships (Blog #5)

Relationships (Blog #5)

I think a successful relationship is always changing and evolving. As Dr. Salvatore mentioned in class, we are never truly ready for relationships and what life throws at us, but that is what development and growth are about. I think at the core of it competence in a young relationship and a mature relationship have the same underlying elements, and it’s what’s influencing / shaping our lives as we go from stage to stage that changes. An important part of this competence is being able to accept changes/challenges as a couple/ unit. Obviously, there are a lot of factors that go into producing and maintaining an efficient relationship, but I think some of the most important factors are being open/trusting, being supportive, being comfortable about every aspect of life with your significant other, and straight up loving your partner for who they are.  Like Vanier said, we have to see people as important for being who they are, not for what they give or do. Vanier’s video and message are so moving, I couldn’t help but smile when I listened to him talk. The simplicity of what he is preaching really made me think about the Ted Talk video from last week. We are so concerned with outside factors of our life that we continue to push away crucial aspects of our health, such as happiness and strong relationships. I recently read Aziz Ansari’s novel “Modern Romance”, it is all about dating in the technology age and how it has evolved over the last century. Ansari uses a lot of data and various types of interviews to understand what people are looking for in a relationship today, and how they go about obtaining one. The endless means of communication we have today, and the way technology has made the world so accessible has made us obsessed with the idea of finding “the one” or “our soulmate”, this idea is present in a lot of the interviews Ansari mentions in the book (It’s a really interesting read, I definitely recommend it). But I honestly think we need to take Vanier’s advice and become one with ourselves, stop trying so hard, and just accept people for who they are. The strongest, most pure relationship I know of is my parents. They have been married for 31 years, and I am so happy that I have their marriage as a role model for myself. My parents have a beautiful bond, and have accomplished so much during their time together. They graduated college together, have watched each other successful pursue their careers, traveled the world, and the greatest of all raised 4 children and produced a family that has a very close, and strong connection. I think one thing that really makes my parent’s relationship work is the way they balance each other out. While my parent’s have a lot of things in common, certain parts of their personalities are very different, for instance my dad is pretty uptight while my mom is easy going. I think my favorite thing about my parent’s relationship is how easy it is. I remember not too long ago my sister asked my mom how she knew my dad was the right one,  and my mom responded with “I didn’t”. She went on to tell us that they really didn’t think about, and pretty much just went for. There is something so beautiful about that to me, it seems so simple and pure. And that’s exactly how I think a relationship should be.   This one of my favorite pictures of my parents when they are young, I think it really shows how much they care about each other.  

stop.breathe.be (post #4)

Wow, today (Wednesday) was my favorite class so far. I walked into class not in the best mood and wasn’t looking forward to sitting through a lecture, but once Hancock started speaking and her energy came across I immediately perked up and was intrigued to hear what she had say (positive psychology??). I enjoyed how easy it was to listen/ understand what Hancock had to say, and love that she introduced us to the calming app (I seriously plan on using it). I am also super happy that I now know that I can get 50 aspirin for $2, thats so cheap!

Coming out of today’s class, I definitely think that anxiety and depression can be useful/helpful. As Sood said, “anxiety makes your body talk”. This really resinated with me, and I think it is something that everyone can understand, and learn from. The times that I feel the most anxious and nervous are whenever I am giving a presentation, and have all eyes fixated on me. I turn red, freeze, and my mind and body seem to separate. I am currently trying to learn how to cope with this problem, and not let it keep growing out of control with the hip hop class I am enrolled in this semester. Every class we form a hip hop circle and everyone has to take a turn in the middle dancing to the music. Despite the fact that I love dancing, and  have no problem doing the choreography with the class, whenever it’s my turn in the circle I completely freeze. I can never think of how to do even the simplest dance moves, and I awkwardly walk out of the circle embarrassed and disheartened. Even though I completely dread forming the circle each class, I am really hoping that by the end of the semester I work up the courage to do a successful dance, and to do it with confidence. While feeling anxious is uncomfortable and scary, and can become extremely overwhelming for some people, I think it presents us with an opportunity to face our fears, and hopefully conquer them.

I talked to a friend about her anxiety. She said it mostly relates to stress, which is caused by her extremely busy, and over booked schedule. She also said that anxiety arises when she has an overwhelming feeling that she is not “enough”. I thought this was interesting in comparison to the happiness Ted Talk. Achor mentions that our brain is too busy concentrating on competition, school, and “success”, that we are not being positive in the present. I’ll have to mention the 21 day plan to my friend, I think it will help her become more optimistic and positive about things again.

After listening to the lectures, doing the readings, watching the Ted Talk, and talking to my friends about their mental health it has become clear to me that everyone has feelings of anxiety, and extreme sadness or depression at some part in their life. While it is reassuring to know that you are not alone, they are feelings that are difficult to come to terms with. The article “Does This Mean I’m Crazy” made it very clear that most people suffering from depression and anxiety are reluctant to accept help, and medicine. The patients are nervous that they will become dependent on their medicine, begin to view it as a drug/clutch, and not behave as they’re used to. I think most of this is do to stigmas surrounding depression/ anxiety, and think a lot of that can be solved if we take into account what Shawn Achor says about happiness. If we stop obsessing over being successful and reaching the next level, and instead focus on the now I think we will all live happier and more accepting lives. Putting our health and sanity first seems so obvious, but is something I think few people actually do. If the rest of us started doing that I think we would all see positive results, and in turn feel less anxiety and sad thoughts.

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Photo: Dancing makes me happy, but when I’m in class it gives me anxiety, so hopefully by the end of the semester I can make it something that brings me joy again.

Post #3

It’s always hard for me to pick out my traits when asked to describe myself, so learning about personality this week was really interesting.

When reflecting back on my results from the surveys it is really crazy how accurate some of the outcomes were. For the personality traits I would say mine were pretty spot on. I scored an 8 on impulse, which is below the class average. I tend to overthink everything, and I like to go into things with a game plan. I scored a 17 on sensation seeking, which is above class average. I am not the type of person who can just sit around and binge watch Netflix all day, as I tend to get antsy and would rather be doing something active and hands on. I love to experience new things and don’t have a problem with being put out of my comfort zone. I got middle and below class average for anxiety and hopelessness. I can see how these two describe me as well because I tend to get really nervous/ anxious when it comes to giving presentations but never feel trapped by it. I also think normally I would score low on hopelessness because I enjoy being happy and laughing, but lately I have been freaked out about post grad life and probably effected my answers.

When it comes to the neurology impulse result I am honestly confused by it, and really don’t know what the number means. I do know that I am above class average for it, and I find that very surprising compared to the other survey and to how I perceive myself. I even asked my room/best friend who knows everything about me if she thinks I am impulsive and her immediate response was “no”. I think maybe I didn’t understand the survey when I was taking it, or again I am scared about post grad life and those things effected my choices/ results.

Overall, these results are pretty accurate. I do find it interesting that some of traits can conflict each other. For example, I am definitely a thrill seeker, but not impulsive. These are just 2 things that I feel shouldn’t be opposing traits, but I guess somehow it all balances itself out.

I’m not a psych or sociology major so a lot of this information is new to me. While the results that were produce were interesting and truthful, I think that there is a lot more that goes into figuring out a person’s personality than answering a few questions. There a lot of outside forces that influence a person’s character, and the same thing can have different effects on everyone. I am interested to see where we go from here and what else we learn about human behavior.

Blog #2

    I definitely haven’t figured out my purpose in life yet, I am seriously waiting for that “ah-ha” moment to happen but I know I need to learn a lot more about myself before I come to that realization.This doesn’t mean I don’t have a positive outlook for myself. I tend to think of myself as a positive and happy person (and would hope others do too). There’s plenty of things that make me happy and I am generally content with my current life. I also know there are a lot of things that are still to come in my future and i am super excited about that.
    The biggest obstacle that is facing me right now, and is definitely effecting my mentality and emotions is post grad life. While I can’t wait to be done with school, celebrate my accomplishments, and begin a life that is no longer dependent on my parents, I can’t help but view the time after graduation as a black hole. I came to the realization shortly after senior year started that I don’t want to pursue the degree I have been vigorously studying and working towards. But I have no idea what it is I want to do. The feeling of uncertainty and thought of being lost has definitely been hard for me to cope with, especially since some of my friends already have jobs lined up, and  the “what are you doing after graduation” questions don’t help either.
    I know these feelings are normal and common, but since it’s the first time I am dealing with them it has been difficult. I am trying to keep a positive outlook on all of this by remembering that there are thousands of different career paths that I can take, and that I am more than qualified to do a lot of things. Hopefully by the end of this class my perspective on the black hole will change and I’ll come to see it as a “land of opportunity”.

Well-Being

   To me well-being is something that is experienced, and has specific standards for each individual. Well-being is a state that is extremely personal and differs between each person, both in physical and emotional aspects. I also think well-being is an emotion that can be experienced in both highs and lows.
   I think well-being is just a way to describe emotions, and how you’re feeling. I think there is a standard point of well-being for each person where they feel content. So for me waking up, getting ready, going to work/ class, completing assignments, eating, going to bed, and feeling in god health are all daily aspects that let me know my well-being is in a place that allows me to function. But there are things that happen over the course of the day that can improve or worsen your well-being. Things that boost my emotions are jamming out to my favorite music, feeling really positive and good about how I look, being with my friends, and taking a good walk. But there are days when I wake up and I’m tired and have no motivation to do things, I feel extremely stressed, I feel sick and not in good health, or I think too much about the unknown abyss that is post-grad life and freak out a little. All these things negatively affect my emotions and bring down my well-being.
   All in all I think well-being is something that fluctuates everyday. Somedays you feel great, and somedays you feel not so great. I don’t think it’s a bad thing when your well-being is below your content line. Everybody has bad days, and it’s good to have not so great days because you come out of them a stronger person. I do think it is important to understand ways, and know things that improve your emotions and make you happy so when you are stuck in a rut you can try to improve your well-being.