Science of Happiness has proven to be a truly important class. It’s benefits have come at a really crucial time for myself and many of my classmates: the first semester of freshman year. While the lessons are all applicable to any person at any stage of life, they have been particularly helpful and relatable at a turning point that is filled with stress, responsibilities, and decision making, many of which are at a new level and abundance for first semester freshmen.
SoH has taught me that mindfulness is not just taking ten minutes out of one’s day to meditate or attending a yoga class (although now I highly value both), it is a constant mindset and even a coping tool. It has taught me that even when grades and socialization seem to box out attention to one’s need for self care, it is important to stop and take a few seconds to appreciate the life you are living and the beauty around you. The speech: This Is Water comes to my mind often, it was both poetic and practical in the way it was eloquently presented and the way it urged the practice of everyday mindfulness. Sometimes when I am stressed or nervous or annoyed I sit and I think “ This is my life and it is a gift to be able to get up and do it everyday, this is the water I’m swimming in, and it is beautiful”
I also found the VIA strengths survey quite interesting. My biggest strength was Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence. I was befuddled by it at first, I didn’t think it was a strength worth having, but then I realized that appreciation is how I experience mindfulness. It’s how I keep my relationships strong and I how I remain optimistic. It is now a strength I feel incredibly lucky to have and a strength I am looking to expand. I want to learn to appreciate my own mind and body and I remind myself to appreciate little things each day, be it that I get to earn an education or simply that sun looks incredible on the leaves of a tree.
The mindful yoga lesson actually inspired me to sign up for a VCU yoga class that requires me to wake up two hours earlier than I would without it. Normally I hate getting out of bed but going to yoga in the mornings allows me to feel not only content in my body and mind through the day, but already accomplished by 8 in the morning.
I would like to work on mindful self discipline. I am someone that always gets things done, but I procrastinate to a ridiculous extent. I know that if I spent more time focusing and completing tasks instead of planning and worrying over the many things I have to do that I would end up more productive and I would have less to do right before a deadline.
I typically don’t give out a lot of advice on my social media, but I am planning to lead by example and optimism. I have already gotten my partner interested in yoga and helped my mom by giving her mindfulness techniques as grounding exercises. I have also recommended the class to a few of my peers at VCU who plan on taking it at some point in their academic career.
Image: I chose this image because SoH prompted me to start going on sunny runs and walks rather than going the gym in the dark because I enjoy being outside far more and I’ve learned to prioritize healthy things that I like.