I can’t believe that we have reached the end of this semester. So much has happened in my life in just this year, let alone my last 5 years here at VCU. I am so happy to be graduating on May 12, 2018. My undergraduate journey has been long and challenging but from this course I have learned so much about myself and ways to create a better version of me. The image above best represents what I’ve learned this semester. In the midst of so much overwhelming negativity that would normally affect me immensely, I was able to overcome it and see a brighter day ahead with the help of this course. Looking too far in the future can create anxiety and dwelling on the past doesn’t help one to move forward. Taking the time to be in the moment allowed me to realize that you have to truly take one day at a time. As a soon to be graduate, I feel like I have all the tools I need to move into the next chapter of my life. The major lessons I learned this semester were definitely about forgiveness, having positive thoughts, how to manage stress and ways to improve my well-being.
The first thing that this course allowed me to realize and implement into my life was to have positive thoughts. I didn’t make the correlation between thoughts, emotions, actions and behaviors until we discussed this cycle in class. I always knew I was a positive person but upon reflection I noticed that I can complain and be pessimistic at times. My family has told me this before but I didn’t want to believe it fully. Understanding that this was an aspect of me that wasn’t the best, I became determined to work on my road rage and a better way to control and express my emotions. To this day, I can definitely say that my road rage has decreased for the better. Although I sometimes get a little anxious to get to my destination, I take a mindful moment as a way to remind myself that my road rage is hurting nobody but myself. The driver that cuts me off or is driving slowly in front of me doesn’t have to been seen as an obstacle or someone in my way. When I drive now I take my time and maneuver behind the wheel like the experienced driver I know I am instead of using my skills as a way to create dangerous and unnecessary situations. As far as controlling my emotions I have done a better job. My mom has been trying to get me to understand that I am the master of my peace as the only individual who can control my own emotions. Her wisdom mixed with our discussion on positive psychology has allowed me to take better care of my feelings. In both circumstances, once I realized that control comes from within, I began to think and act in a matter that was more beneficial to me, which started with being more positive. I have seen a major change in my life from this, I am able to better navigate through situations that life brings daily. I feel much happier in my life because of this realization and change. Everyone deserves to genuinely be happy and that comes from within.
Another topic that I learned a lot from includes our discussion on forgiveness. This concept has never been easy for me and I’ve struggled with it from such a young age. Living in a household with separated parents that later got divorced was difficult. What made it even worse was the fact that my mom was stationed to Germany and my dad was living in South Carolina. Upon choosing to move to Germany with my mom, she found interest in my now stepdad who I saw as an intruder in my family. On a daily basis I reminded him that he wasn’t my dad and made sure to let him know that I didn’t like him. As I reflect on this time in my life, I can recall the hurt I felt from being 9 hours by plane from my father. The first few months, I cried every night from this pain which didn’t allow me to accept my stepdad for a long time. After many years of hardships and time together, I have finally forgiven him in my adulthood as I am able to tell someone who I used to tell I hated, that I love him genuinely as a father figure. This allows me to know that forgiveness as well as happiness comes from within. Being able to better express my emotions, I don’t let them get the best of me and I can now fully articulate how I feel which was something that I wasn’t able to do as a child growing up. To take advice from what we discussed in class, I’m actually writing my three parents gratitude letters to thank them so much for all their support throughout my collegiate career. I know that my stepdad will be especially surprising understanding how far we have come in our relationship. This course helped me learn how to use positive emotion to cope with negative ones. The idea of using your strengths to improve your weakness has stuck with me since we talked about this concept in class. I was happy that my final project mates wanted to talk about forgiveness. I learned from our participants that family can have an effect on your interpretation which is truly evident for me. Understanding that forgiveness is for yourself and not the other person stuck with me from the responses as well. This allowed me to realize that any change is going to start with myself. As something that I am continuing to work on in my friendships and past relationship, I feel confident that I can become a more forgiving person.
Ways to manage stress and improve my well-being are topics that I learned from as well. There are a lot of circumstances that can create stress in our lives but using proper ways to deal with it is so important. I love how positive my social media looks with all the weekly posts so I intended to continue to post uplifting messages on my profile. From the responses and likes that I have received on these posts, it lets me know that I’m doing my part on a platform that creates stress from usage. I hope that this continuation will allow my followers to think twice about what they post and maybe encourage them to do the same with their posts. Being more positive is a great start but taking time to exercise your mind with positive breaks is just as vital. Doing yoga at Cary Street was such as great stress relieving exercise for me. I would have never known how peaceful it was so I’m glad I was able to experience this with my classmates. Now that finals are over, I will be making this activity one that I participate in when I’m feeling stressed. Learning about mindfulness made a major impact on my life and how I deal with stress as well. When we had a mindful moment with Dr. Reina I was in such a calm state. I wasn’t worried about what I needed to do after class, that night or by the end of the week for that matter. I was able to be present in the moment which I usually never take the time to do. Today, when I feel that my brain needs a mental break, I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths. I have even given this advice to my friends during these last few weeks of classes with assignments and finals. In order to improve my well-being, I have made myself more aware of my social networks. As a sociable person I didn’t think that my social well-being was at stake until realizing that this relates to my view of the world and the city of Richmond. When I was working as an Orientation Leader and a UTA, my social well-being was at it’s highest. I was able to see that I was making a difference in the world instead of just being in it. I realized that I have a lot to say but don’t do much to incite change which is nothing without action. Now that I have made it through my last semester as an undergraduate, I plan to volunteer more often and make changes in my community that I would typically just complain about.
Overall, this course has helped me create a better version of myself. I am so proud of my improvement and am excited to continue to grow as I move further into adulthood. Having science to back up the topics we learned made it easier to believe that what was being said can actually have an effect on one’s life. As a science major who has taken biology, environmental and social courses, I aspire to use my knowledge that I have obtained from VCU to make the world a better place.
The most important lesson that I will take away from this class is that you are your own best advocate. I am not someone who has severely suffered from mental health or substance abuse, but I have definitely had my ups and downs with both. This class has helped me to put my experience into perspective and understand the nature of these ‘situations’ (for lack of a better word). For example, it was really enlightening to come to learn that personality types are a strong baseline for substance abuse. It was very interesting to learn how the brain’s neurochemistry can get “hooked” on a substance; I think this knowledge kind of knowledge is fundamental if we hope to combat the ongoing drug epidemic. There’s a sort of positive feedback loop: the substance disinhibits your self-control and you’re more likely to continue using.
Mindfulness was another topic that I found extremely helpful. I was familiar with the concepts of mindfulness, flow, and meditation but I did not realize that there was scientific evidence to support these as a avenue to happiness. I will definitely start getting into a routine of meditating and yoga. For one of my two events outside-of-class I choose to go to another yoga session (in part because I accidentally wore jeans the first time – oops!). I used practice yoga regularly and it was really nice to get into it again because it’s largely a mental experience/escape. Exercise falls into the same category, really. One of the lecturers said that exercising was like taking an “anti-depression” medication – and that resonated with me.
Social-emotional learning was a topic I found really interesting from a sociological perspective. One lecturer stated that impulse control would be a primary concern of the 21st century. It’s frightening to think that today’s youth spend the vast majority with digital entertainment to such an extent that they lose the ability to navigate through society. Another tremendous take-away from this class is knowing when to disengage from the media. I caught myself spending an alarming amount of time scrolling though memes that were utterly meaningless (many of them are). This ties back to being your own best advocate – you have to be introspective and notice how something (ie media) is making you feel – mindfulness! Only once you identify the cause of a problem can you address how to enact change!
Insights from this class will undoubtedly stay with me for the rest of my life. The changes that I’ve already started to make are – for the most part – improvements in areas that I was already pretty OK in. For example, I was already good about not being absorbed in my phone when I’m around other people, but now I’m even more cognisant of it. I need to adopt a healthier diet; I’ve dabbled in veganism over the years, and I’m realizing that it’s something I want to work towards again. I think graduating college may be a kind of coming-of-age story for me (and likely for many of my classmates as well). There’s a saying, “it’s not alcoholism until you graduate.” I expect that post-graduation life will be a lot less stressful (I’ve taken a job that isn’t very rigorous). I look forward to having a healthier diet and overall lifestyle after graduation. Reasons for this are focused around longevity and living a healthy life.
I think I will create some sort of board or pictogram to keep track of adhering to lifestyle changes. Otherwise, I’ve found that it’s easy to slip back into old habits. Another thing that will be difficult but rewarding is to cut toxic people out of my life. After I graduate I am moving to a new [very small] town where I know no one; I think it will behoove me to be rid of some of my former associates.
I probably will not share many of my insights from this class on social media. For starters, I don’t like to share personal things online. But I also find that people are reluctant to listen. Again – you’re your own best advocate. People who aren’t ready to make changes for themselves don’t like to hear other’s raving about their positive experiences. I have changed some of the content I share – For example, I recently discovered/shared from the ‘Wholesome Memes’ facebook page.
However, I will definitely share insights from this class with my friends in-person or in private messages. Sometimes when I have told a friend about this class they are immediately intrigued, “Teach me how to be happy.” It’s really common for people to feel down at times. I’m very glad I took this class because it had armed me with a defense against misery, and I will be able to spread this among my friends and acquaintances. It was amazing to learn that you are 15% more likely to be happy if you have friends that are happy. This has profound consequences! Not only is it a reason to cut unhappy/negative people out of your life immediately. But it’s also a great reason to be happy yourself! I think one of the very best ways to share insights from this class is to practice them yourself and let others catch on.
When discussing emotional resilience in a digital age in week 7, I reflected on the time that I deleted my previous Instagram account. The concept of one’s front stage vs. back stage always comes to mind. As someone who cherishes genuine personalities, I didn’t like the way in which individuals on my Instagram network decided to present themselves on this platform. Especially since this was a time in my life where people who I thought were my friends ending up using me. In addition to the rocky relationship that I had growing up with my stepdad, these experiences with others in 2016 and 2018 makes reaching forgiveness hard for me today. From week 5’s discussion of forgiveness, I was able to obtain the skills needed to work towards being a happier individual with improved mental health. Wanting to become a more positive person, I critiqued my profile as well and looked to my own posts. I realized that I didn’t want to represent myself only through photos when I’m best dressed, I wanted a more encouraging approach to my social media experience next time around.
I also wanted to take a mental break from all the stressors that come with being a part of the social media world. Seeing the running list of daily stressors versus the stresses of social media only during the presentation made me proud of my choice to delete my old account. In light of this decision to disconnect, I reconnected in a more optimistic way when I decided to make an account for my graduation countdown as well as use this same account to spread the information we learned in class through my weekly social media posts. My followers actually like and comment on my posts so I’m happy to see the effects of spreading positivity, something that I am attempting to do in my own life currently. In week 6, when talking about mindfulness, I thought more deeply about ways to apply this practice to other aspects of my life as I focus on what’s most important in the current moment. By making a new Instagram account, I wanted to make myself aware of my academic state throughout the semester as a way to stay focused on my goal of graduating every time I went on my social media. This has truly helped me keep a clearer perspective on the progression needed to reach this milestone. I look at my profile with a smile knowing that the amount of likes that I receive doesn’t matter anymore because what I’m posting is beneficial information that I needed to share with others. If social media operated in this way, I believe that bullying and suicide rates from cyber bullying could decrease as we all work to improve each other’s knowledge and well-being. However, in today’s digital world, a lot of judging goes on in the comment boxes as well as jokes that are circulated daily to see who can come up with the best punchline. It is disappointing how far people will go for online status.
After my car accident back in February, my transition to becoming a more patient driver is evident. Although I have moments where I feel my rage coming and I may say something aloud, I ultimately come back to my calm state after a brief moment of reflection. I believe that this accident was put in my life to reinforce the idea that negative thoughts can lead to consequences. To actually think twice about my behavior by regulating my thoughts when driving has allowed me to make the improvement that I have made so far. In week 9, we talked about how personality traits can affect substance abuse. As college students, rational decision making is a big part of our academic success. The Substance Use Risk Profile scale, SURPS, was used to assess our risk factor. In comparison to the class average, my level of sensation seeking was lower. When I think about my personality traits I automatically think about my mom because we are so similar. Growing up, she always told me to be a leader and not a follower. I still live by this today which has allowed me to have enough self-control to make better choices than those who choose to otherwise. Rational decision making through one’s own choice provides a better option then the risk associated with group peer pressure to seek an experience. In reference to substance abuse, I know that the social, legal and financial risks that come with usage aren’t worth it which makes sense that my sensation seeking is low on the SURPS. I am thankful that my parents in general have instilled good values and morals in me because not everyone has such positive role models.
In these first 10 weeks I have learned a lot about how to live a more fulfilling life. In weeks 1-6 I got a better understanding of my mental health and factors that affect it. Weeks 7-10 allowed me to obtain knowledge on aspects that can affect my academic success as a student such as media, personality traits and social-emotional learning. Three areas of my life that I am improving based on class discussion is my understanding of forgiveness, having a more positive attitude and being mindful more often. I have definitely experienced the benefits positivity in my life thus far. It makes dealing with life situations easier when you see the brighter side of things instead of complaining about them. I’m still working on my understanding of forgiveness but I am glad that I am able to say out loud that I have a problem with forgiving those who have hurt me. Being more mindful has allowed me to feel less stressed and more relaxed which is great for a college student. The image that I selected represents growth in progress which is what I am truly getting out of this class. Reflection on material has given me the insight and tools to create a better version of myself and I can feel my change from within. Growth requires the help of others, as shown in the image, to provide a different perspective which each and every presenter from class has done for me. Change has allowed me to live a more fulfilling life. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that my progress is having a beneficial impact on my well-being.
I couldn’t more grateful for the experiences and life lessons this class has taught me. Lessons such as self-care and self-love, but also about becoming more aware of my surroundings, and my own mentality. I really enjoyed the person touch this class showed me, learning about topics that are relatable and gathering more knowledge on how to incorporate those lessons into my lifestyle.
I would have to narrow down my two favorite lectures to be forgiveness and self-care. I feel like students sometimes forget to put themselves first with being distracted by a heavy course load, therefore they end up neglecting the one working machine that keeps them alive everyday. Secondly, the lecture on forgiveness made a very big impact on me, and left me with a better perspective when it comes to forgiving and forgetting. It helped me understand that by letting a minuscule problem go, you end up bettering yourself, as well as decreasing the stress that is built up from being upset with someone. I really hope in the future, whether I’ll be traveling or settled into a more professionally structured atmosphere that I will remember to incorporate self-care into my daily routine. I will make time specifically during the day to mentally check in with myself emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I’ve started yoga on my own in the mornings and at night as a way to bring a feeling of peace to my hectic schedule. This is an activity I plan on keeping very consistent in my life in order to keep me on a more positive and uplifting track.
Throughout the wonderful time I’ve spent in this class, I want to do as much as I can to spread and share the concepts I’ve learned. I’ve already showed my family and cousins the “The gratitude letter” youtube video we watched in class. It never fails to bring a smile to anyones face. In order for me to hare the information I’ve learned on a more personal network, I need to remember to keep an open mind as well as a positive attitude and then my happiness might become contagious. Looking more at the social media side of networking I plan on using the app Twitter to send out daily tweets that are either motivational quotes or positive affirmations. Not only for me, but to brighten the days of others I don’t know as well on a personal level.
I have learned many different lessons throughout the duration of this course. The major lessons I learned from the content this semester is the importance of practicing mindfulness, the significant impact positive psychology has on one’s behavior and mental/emotional well-being, the importance of focusing on one’s strengths instead of dwelling on weaknesses, and even the influence one’s personality may have one them possibly possessing addictive qualities. Of the many major lessons I’ve learned in this course, the topics that were most meaningful to me was learning the importance of practicing mindfulness as well as the different ways in which one can be mindful, the advantages of focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses, and as well as tracking and managing automatic negative thoughts.
Growing up, I was often known was the sensitive friend/ loved one, who was often stressed, anxious, and sometimes negative. Although it bothered me to be perceived in such a way, I had great difficulty attempting to change it. My thoughts were often negative, which in turn influenced my behavior and interactions with others, how I viewed myself, and even my academic performance. This class forced me to focus on the good qualities that I have, and ones that others seem to admire about me. Keeping in my my god qualities makes it easier to forgive myself when making mistakes, makes it easier to bond with others due to the desire to share with others qualities that may positively influence them, etc. I have found that I am more aware of my thoughts and how much I allow them to influence me. When negative thoughts enter my mind, I’m happy to say that I quickly replace them with more optimistic, positive thoughts. Doing so has resulted in me being less anxious and stressed, and has even allowed for me to rekindle friendships that I may have severed due to the negative tendencies I used to have. I also contribute this change to the start of practicing mindfulness. Every day I take alt least 30 minutes to sit, relax, and enjoy the moment. For example, for the past few weeks I have been taking walks just to enjoy nature and all of the beauty it has to offer. I take the time to admire the sky, the birds chirping, and even the graceful movement of the lakes and ponds. I even take a moment to watch people and admire that similarities and differences we all possess whether it be the way we walk, dress, and even talk. These are the moments where I am the least stressed, anxious, and I am the most happy and grateful. Through these moments I am able to enjoy the day regardless of the negative situations that may occur.
Another aspect about this class that I enjoyed the most and learned a lot from are the opportunities it provided to attend different programs. While I genuinely enjoyed our class yoga session, I believe my favorite program that I attended during this semester was the Wellness Friday program hosted by OSMA. During this program students gave a presentation about the importance of mindfulness and even allowed the students in the audience to share their thoughts on mindfulness. To my surprise, I was able to freely express myself and share my thoughts during this session. We even had a mini yoga session.
I plan on sharing the information that I have learned through this course while having everyday conversations and even through sharing nice videos and info graphics I may see online. I also plan on sharing this information with my family by telling them about the science of happiness course. I have a little cousin that will be attending VCU this upcoming academic year, I have already started taking to her about this course and how imperative it is that she takes it, so that receives all of the resources that she needs to be be academically successful, and physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy.
I believe this image best summarizes what I learned this semester, because I have come to realize insightful it is. When a speaker first introduced this quote I didn’t quite agree with it. I felt it wasn’t that easy to be happy, simply because you wanted to. I also felt that there are many others factors that influences whether one could be happy or not. I have now come to the understanding that although there are many factors that influences one’s happiness, it is up to that individual how much they allow those factors to influence them. It is possible to be happy even in the face of adversity simply because you are fully in control with how you allow outside factors to influence you.
Some major lessons that I learned from the content this semester is how important self-care is, how it is really okay to not know exactly what you want to do once you graduate, that healthy eating and exercising is important to mental and physiological health overall, and that having people around you who love and care for you is very important to your heath overall as well. Some smaller topics that I can connect to the larger one is the idea of building and maintaining healthy relationships through PERMA to having a support system, the My Plate to healthy eating, and hedonic happiness to self-care. The topics that were most meaningful to me were the topics about exercising because that is something that I really want to start doing more of, most definitely self-care because before I never really participated in self-care for real, and also a VERY important one was forgiveness because forgiving is a hard thing to do and I’ve come to learn that forgiving is something that can not only make the other party involved feel better, but internally you feel better.
To apply these insights to my personal life, I will further my education on the PERMA model so that I can be more of a great friend, and I can help others to become great friends as well. I will also, in my professional life, try to use what I have learned about my temperament throughout the class to better be able to work with others in different environments. Some changes I have already made include taking time out for myself, I’ve started taking long walks, and I have begun to try to eat more healthy and balanced foods. I made those changes because I have realized how much better my body and mind feel after I eat a good meal and take a long satisfying walk. Changes that I still need to work on is being more social and using my lesser used strengths that I have. I basically use my top five strengths every day, but the others I would very mush so love to tackle.
After class is over, I definitely plan on continuing posting things that I learned from class on my social media. Also, I really plan on working these topics into every day conversations that I have with people I come in contact with on a daily basis. Science of Happiness is a really cool and interesting topic once you come to know what it is, what it is about, and how to achieve your own happiness.
I’m really going to miss this class!!
This is the image that I feel best summarizes what I’ve learned this semester.
Over the course of this past semester, I have learned so many every day life skills in this class as well as others. But a couple of lessons from SOH really stood out to me: mindfulness and the digital age.
The mindfulness aspect of the class was meaningful to my life because my psychiatrist has been begging me for YEARS to practice mindfulness skills everyday. Yet, the way I understood it made it seem like a lot of work that I would have to schedule into my day that was already too busy. I didn’t realize that mindfulness isn’t like that at all! Through the guided meditations in class, I realized you can practice these skills while brushing your teeth, or taking a shower, walking the dog, or even standing in line. Just take notice of the physical sensations that occur and stepping out of the constant babble of thought going through the mind 24/7. Now that I know these things, I have been and can continue to apply this to my everyday life. I’ve also started spreading this message to friends and family when they come to me feeling stressed out.
Another topic I’ve carried with me was the week we spent on the digital age. I did not feel as if I was attached to my phone because I’m not one to sit around texting or scrolling through social media, but after, I found myself spending time on my phone doing other things which I hadn’t even thought of as phone-things before learning about the time we spend on them each day. After that, I’ve been much more mindful about my electronics usage, and have tied in other aspects of the course to help with this like finding hobbies that tie into my strengths and personality that can keep me busy and focused and, of course, in my flow.
I chose this picture as a summary of our class because it is so true, happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life. And this class gave us the tools to start living it.
In the first few weeks of this course, I learned a lot about how my thoughts affect my behavior and mental capacity. Keyes’ model of complete mental health/flourishing provided me with a greater understanding of the mental health spectrum. Our society portrays mental health as either good or bad without any grey areas; you are either in a mental asylum or among the rest of the world. Understanding that I am moderately mentally healthy allows me to know that I have room for improvement in my life. With only 1/5 of the nation’s population in a state of flourishing, we all could stand to improve our mental health. What’s most interesting to me about our society is that we aspire to be mentally healthy but don’t directly promote it. This backwards thinking is what keeps us from becoming a better United States which is quite sad because we have so much potential. Instead of waiting to react as we usually do, in the form of prevention and rehabilitation, we must make sure that everyone has access to the proper resources in order to reach a state of flourishing. We may always need hospitals because people will always be sick, but if we change the face of mental health in our society, the number of individuals in the hospital can decrease as we all live better lives.
When the article went into the demographics of mental health, I was not surprised by the results. It stated that black individuals should be more likely than white individuals to have complete mental health. As a black woman, I have to constantly avoid the trap of the stereotype placed on my race which takes a lot of mental strength and stability. In black culture, this concept is a huge part of our upbringing. Understanding that as a black individual, there is no room for insanity or mental breakdown/outburst, I always maintain myself when in circumstances that push my buttons. However, I never noticed how automatic my negative thoughts are until our class discussion and weekly exercise. This truly helped me realize that my “genetic road rage” wasn’t as genetic as I believed. Growing up I would see my dad use profanity while driving and I didn’t really understand why. When I started driving, I acted in this same manner. My road rage was so extreme that I would get out of my car to fuss at others, cut people off a little too close and put myself in dangerous situations. None of these behaviors were beneficial and once realizing that it was a choice to drive and behave in such a way, I began to change my habits. It was much easier to drive more safely than to get upset by other’s inability to drive. Taking better control of my thoughts has allowed me to keep my behavior in check more consistently.
Having a positive attitude really makes a difference as well. The Well-being Theory that we discussed known as P.E.R.M.A made this clearer to me; P- Positive emotion helps alleviate issues that come with negative emotions. I do notice that when I’m in a positive mood, it seems effortless to display this feeling. But when I’m in a negative mood it takes a lot more energy to upkeep this emotion so why not be happy by thinking more positive thoughts? According to the VIA Strength Survey, creativity and perspective were my top two characteristics. I agree with these results knowing that I have lived a diverse lifestyle which has allowed me to relate to others naturally in conversation. Being socially diverse, takes a certain level of patience and understanding. This strength can help me regulate my negative thoughts by being more patient internally so that my behavior is not disrupted. Overall, these topics provided with me knowledge about ways to maximize one’s own well-being.
Discovering my character strengths helped me to get a better insight to who I am. My top strength was creativity. At first, I was not sure I agreed with that. I am not creative – I do not draw well, I am not a painter, a poet, or a musician. I possess no creative talents. Though after reflecting a bit, I realized that creativity does not mean I have to be good at creating a piece of art. I am an abstract thinker. I understand things by using analogies. I like figuring out how to solve problems. One example of that is when I moved into my apartment this past August. My bedroom was the size of a walk-in closet. I’ve accumulated so much stuff from these past two years living in Richmond that when my brother helped me move here, it took five trips from my old place to his new place. He was driving my Jeep Liberty. Well when I moved in here, I seriously doubted there would be a way to fit everything into my bedroom. Somehow, I made it work. It was just like playing a giant game of Tetris. It was a frustrating situation, but I enjoyed the satisfaction of solving what seemed to be a near impossible task. Though I may not be artistically creative, I think creatively. I am also an over-thinker. I can over-think and over-analyze just about every aspect of my life. The downside to that is that it causes me to lose sight of what I am doing in the present moment. The benefit of it is that I’ve come to learn that every problem has a solution.
I also enjoyed learning about mindfulness, social emotional learning, and emotional resilience. Being mindful is helpful in putting aside my “mental clutter” and focusing on what I am doing in the present moment. Short meditations before stressful situations, like taking an exam, is a great way to calm down and stop freaking out over what I do and don’t know and what my exam grade will be. That anxiety right before taking a test is not beneficial. If I prepared for a test and studied, then I will be fine. If I didn’t prepare, then it is likely that I will not do so well. My opinions or feelings about what the end result will be are irrelevant right before taking a test. If I know it then I know it. If I don’t then I don’t. Although many times I can make situations out to be more complicated than they actually are. It is a character defect of mine. The things I have learned in class, such as mindfulness, paying attention to what I’m good at, recognizing that actions or outcomes are not definitive of my character, and being kind to myself, will help me grow. Often times, it is difficult to notice when I’ve improved and how much I have changed. I can only see myself from my perspective – I cannot see myself from an outsider’s point of view. My friends in my recovery network remind me that I have improved a tremendous amount from the time they met me almost two years ago until now. It feels uncomfortable being praised. That probably stems from how much I mentally beat myself up but that is an issue I will not go into detail about. My point is that through being made aware of myself, I am able to pay much more attention to the choices I make. Making positive life choices for myself will help guide me in the right direction and will ensure that things will turn out, maybe not the way I want them to, but ways in which are best suited for myself and overall well-being.
The picture I chose to represent how I felt about this semester is one that my mom emailed to me a couple of weeks ago when I was having a really bad day. In that picture, I am either 3 or 4 years old. I’m doing a karate kick while wearing my ballerina outfit. I think that picture of me is a funny, but realistic representation about how I approach life. I may be experiencing one thing, but I am able to quickly adapt when the situation calls for it. I have experienced a multitude of emotions, problems, and challenges this semester but I made it through in one piece. Somehow, I found ways to redirect myself or adjust to my varying array of challenges.
As my last semester as a college student at VCU, I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to take this class. One of the major lessons I learned this semester was how genetics and environment both shape who we are. I connected information from Dr. Dick’s lesson about twin studies to environment in that there is not one gene for ‘X issue’. Many times we think that because our family has a history (a gene) for a problem means that we are going to inherit that problem and have it come about in life. This is not necessarily true. Dr. Dick made a great point that genes are “disposition not destiny.” We can be disposed toward something, but can also change the likelihood that it actually will happen through environmental changes. Twin studies helped to determine that genetics is only 50% of what makes up our happiness (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon & Schkade, 2005). This was meaningful to me because it opened my eyes to more of the science behind happiness, as well as information on twin studies.
Another lesson I learned from class was that there are so many parts of our lives that we might not think of in regards to well-being. For example, career well-being – before listening to Ms. Sims’ lecture, I thought about what would make me happy if I took this certain job, but not really any other aspects (besides pay). Happiness and pay is important, but also understanding values is important as well to balance one’s well-being in the workplace. I connected Ms. Sims’ lecture to Dr. Walsh’s lecture on finding our strengths. In order to pursue well-being in a work aspect, knowing our strengths is vital to making sure we succeed. This connection was meaningful to me because it helped me choose what job I wanted to take after graduation!
In regards to Dr. Dick’s lecture, I want to commit to reminding myself that there are multiple aspects that make up someone’s happiness. In the immediate future, I want to continue to reflect on this idea. Down the road, I think that going back to notes I’ve taken on Dr. Dick’s lecture will be helpful in reviewing information. Well-being as a whole has been something that I have tried to be more cognizant of recently. Continuing to practice mindfulness will help me to pursue well-being in all aspects of my life (work, personal life, etc.). I think one change that I need to make in general in regards to well-being and sleep is putting away screens earlier. Often times looking at my phone right before I go to bed makes me not sleep as well.
I first want to start off by informing my personal network on lessons I have learned, and then spread information from there. Having conversations about the class with friends and family is one way that I have started to spread information I have learned. I want to continue posting on Facebook, and incorporate Instagram as well, into posting about mindfulness and “the science of happiness.”
There is no time like the present to change your life for the better! I have learned many things during my time in this Science of Happiness class. One of the major lessons was that not everything that happens to you is determined by your genetics but not everything is entirely your fault either. For example, you can be genetically predisposed to become addicted to drugs or alcohol, but the choice ultimately comes down to your decision to consume the drugs or alcohol. Your personality traits can also play a part in your decision making; more impulsive people are more prone to drug or alcohol abuse. It just seems that sometimes the cards are stacked against you and your fight for independence from substances. The same goes for addiction of other types; games, social media, cellphones, and anything else that you instinctively run to to avoid reality. I had a subconscious dependence on my phone when it came to social interactions. I would instinctively jump on it whenever I was put in uncomfortable situations. I know many people that are the same in that regard. I want to use what I have learned here to help myself and others that suffer from depression. I am tired of always being sad and feeling sorry for myself.
I will apply the material that I have learned in this class in my daily life by starting to practice mindfulness and positive psychology. I have already started practicing positive psychology through random acts of kindness because everyone needs to feel appreciated now and again. I will also try to implement more no-screen time before bed in order to help my sleep cycle and insomnia.
I do not have an active social media presence, but I will attempt to spread the knowledge that I have learned in this class to my friends and relatives. I have multiple family members that would benefit from the knowledge about depression the most.
Since I enrolled in SOH, every single lecture has been valuable and important, and that hopefully that is going to help my personal relationships as well as my professional career. Some of the topics were interesting, whereas some of them were new and taught me that we need to take care of ourselves mentally and physically. All of the topics that we learned were interconnected to each other. In Keyes’ model, we learned that absence of mental health, which is also called “languishing in life’ is as bad as major depressive episode. When I completed the Keyes flourishing scale, I found out that my categorical result was flourishing. Flourishing means a person has positive affect, avowed quality of life, self-acceptance, personal growth, and positive relation with others (Week 1). The most meaningful topic was by Ms. Nina Schroder, when we did the Disconnecting for 50 minutes’ exercise. After completing that exercise, I have found out that if I hide my phone away during class, I tend to focus more on the lecture. The major overall lesson that I learned this semester was about Forgiveness by Worthington (Week 5), which taught me that we should forgive people in our life so that we can move on and do better things.
I have already started to apply the insights from this class to my everyday life. For example, I have deleted and moved social media apps from my phone as recommended by Nina Schroder (Week 7). I also hope to forgive my friends and family that I have had altercation with, as well as being forgiven by people that I have hurt. My favorite lecture was by Worthington (Week 5) because I learned that holding a grudge against something or someone is going to hurt myself. When I went to the Rams in Recovery Speaker Series this semester, I found out that parents are the most forgiving person in this world. Most of the stories that I heard involved their parents forgiving after the child’s mistakes. Also, during the COBE town hall, I found out that substance use and mental illness is associated with a number of adverse consequences, to both the individual and the entire community. The Rams in Recovery event was very emotional and it had a positive influence on me. After taking the VIA strength survey I found out that my top strength was kindness and my top weakness was communication. Therefore, going forward I will work on my communication skills with my friends and family.
Most of the time whenever I learn something new in this class, I always used to share with my roommates and try to have a positive influence on them. Even for the Final Project, I shared all the data with them so that they could be a positive and negative feedback. My biggest influence on my roommates was when I shared my Disconnecting for 50 minutes’ exercise, even they found out that using smartphone a lot affects our sleep quality, depression, and anxiety. They deleted Facebook from their phone because they were wasting a lot of time in it. In this class, I have learned a lot about positive psychology and negative effects of social media uses, however, I still used to post my weekly media posts on twitter and have a positive influence on my friends and family. I got a lot of comments and likes regarding to posts and some of my friends told me that they might enroll in SOH class next semester. I will continue to posts regarding positive psychology so that I can learn new studies about it, as well as keep up with the VCU COBE weekly news.
I included a picture about positive psychology because in my opinion, the main goal of this class was to teach positive psychology. Also in other words, science of happiness does mean positive psychology. Positive Psychology includes strengths, mindfulness, emotional being, forgiveness, and positive emotions etc. Positive Psychology interventions promotes positive relationship as well as fosters one’s mental and physical well-being.
I loved your blog post pictures and I love how you talk about screen time use also been taking the advice from about how sometimes you just to put your phone and spend more time with family
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savannahrae wrote a new post, Full Circle, on the site Savannah Rae The over-arching theme of this semester seems to be that happiness stems from an interwoven connection between social, emotional, physical, and […]
This semester I have had the fortunate opportunity of learning a great deal in many areas of study. Each of my courses have had constant themes of growth and inquiry, and I view the knowledge that I have gained in each area as success (regardless of the grade). I feel that I have grown more confident in this way of measuring success and contentment from the topics covered in this class (SOH). From the outset, we challenged perceptions of happiness (which I now know related to feelings of success, contentment, etc.) and worked to getting to the deeper meaning of what it is to be happy. I have also learned to value group discussions and interactions with those in the class with me. My previous attitude towards group discussions was unpleasant, but I have found through this class experience that valuable insights and connections can be made when we students share our perspectives and experiences. This has translated well to my other courses, and I hope it will carry over into my interactions outside of the academic environment (family, work, etc.).
In regards to the content of the course, I have perceived the majority of the content to be getting us (the class) acquainted with the factors which either hinder or promote happiness. One topic that especially sticks out to me is substance use and abuse (particularly because my group chose it for our final project). I appreciate the info in the topic itself, but appreciated more the way other topics were included as either factors or ways to treat it. For example, the SUPRS and personality traits lecture was particularly insightful and interesting to me, personally. I could link that information to other topics other than substance use such as alcoholism, depression, etc. I also linked the section of Dr. Vassileva’s information “personality-specific thinking errors” to the negative thoughts exercise that we did earlier in the semester, which I thought was cool. I was able to identify traits of anxiety sensitivity (thinking the worst) and negative thinking (internalization) in myself, and attempted to identify the different traits in others around me.
The last few weeks have been especially insightful to me, as I feel that they focused more on the practice of what we have been taught. I have noticed that I am more engaged when I am presented with ways of acting out what we have learned. A lecture that I found especially interesting was Dr. Tyndall’s on academic wellbeing. I have been told numerous times the dangers of overvaluing one’s GPA, and how students see that as the ultimate manifestation of hard work and intelligence, as well as the best measurement for success. As mentioned before, I have become more comfortable with measuring my personal academic success with what I have learned, and not what I have earned (grades). By considering the different definitions of success from my classmates, I have begun to practice valuing what I can take away from a course, not what I can leave on my transcript. There have been positive effects of this, as by focusing on learning and conceptualizing material (versus memorizing it) I have improved my reasoning skills. I must also add that, in doing this, my grades have not fallen at all, and the learning experience itself is not as stressful as if I had been attempting to memorize the information for a temporary amount of time! This could also be in part due to my family support network, as well (Trockel, Barnes, and Egget found that “Outside social support from friends and family members, but not from peers, moderated the negative effects of text anxiety on students’ examination performance, according to Orpen.”)
I have also remained committed to the mindfulness practices that I began earlier this semester as a result of the information presented in this class. I continue to take time to acknowledge my breath, and notice when I am taking shorter breaths or not breathing at all (which is usually a cue that I am stressed or anxious). I have also begun to integrate these practices into my work life, as just yesterday I was reminding myself of the importance of breathing in stressful or uncomfortable situations. I also put certain interactions in perspective and made a conscious decision to look at the long-term value of those interactions. I found that after doing so my calmness and pleasantness increased, although I may not have been totally relieved. It is my goal to continue to integrate these and other mindfulness practices into my life. An idea that I have came from a Mindful Monday session that I attended, which was a guided meditation session. I really enjoyed how relaxed, in tune, and peaceful I felt after as compared with before the session, and I hope to be able to do this with my crew at work. My plan is to do a short version of this during the meeting I hold in the mornings, so that my crew and I can focus on our breathing and heart rates before we begin our busy day; as well as build camaraderie and promote a healthy work environment where I can. I also plan to stay connected with VCU Cobe on social media and continue weekly postings related with happiness like I did during the semester for the course.
I chose this image because I felt that it best described my experience in this course. The material given to us is the cliff, and while we consider the vast areas of inquiry, we begin to appreciate the beauty of our world. Imperfect as they may be, our experiences and education teach us what to look for to find peace and happiness.
I think the major lesson I learned through this class is that one’s happiness is not determined by just one or even just a few factors. Happiness is attained based on every single angle of your life. Factors such as genetics (which I was not aware of before this class), for example if mental health diseases run in your family, that could affect your happiness, which is a lesson we talked about with Danielle Dick in class. I think learning about the genetics of happiness was very interesting. A lot of people think its nurture not nature that makes up happiness. But it turns out that happiness is an affect of nature AND nurture. Positive psychology is also a interesting stake in ones happiness. In our positive psychology lecture, we learned about the concept of PERMA, which is a way of leading someone towards a happier life. PERMA stands for positive emotion (P), engagement (E), relationships (R), meaning (M), and accomplishment (A). Positive emotion is the idea that instead of choosing to look at the negative, you stay on the path of positivity. Engagement means to stay enthralled in every thing you do on a day to day basis. There is a thing called your flow, which is the idea that sense of time and effort are lost when working on activities that are at the optimal level of challenge and skill. This boosts academic performance and having a sense of accomplishment in yourself. Relationships are important because they are strongly correlated with high self esteem; If someone values you and your relationship, you will then in return also feel a sense of value in yourself. Meaning is the concept that your life needs to have meaning, you need to have a reason to wake up in the morning– this definitley will give you a sense of purpose and ignite your “flow”. Accomplishments are also important and kind of similar to meaning, because if you feel accomplished, you feel like your life’s meaning or purpose is being worked on and will give you a high self esteem. I thought this acronym really encapsulated the essence of what steps to take to be happy.
Another interesting factor of happiness we learned about was technology and its relation to happiness. In our lectures we learned that most people who use less technology seem to be happier people and more mindful and present in their day to day lives.
This leads me to the final concept I enjoyed learning about. Being a yogi myself, I found the mindfulness meditation and yoga lessons to be my favorite. I liked that these classes were interactive and we even got to do yoga one day. I meditate everyday so I know what the benefits of being mindful really are from personal experience. It was nice to have that reiterated in class.
I will commit to applying these insights to my life by continuing to meditate and do yoga and to try to be mindful in everything that I do. Being mindful really is such a helpful tool in maintaining happiness.
Some things I have already changed are making sure I show gratitude every day to the people I love. I remember watching that Soul Pancake video in class of where people text or call someone they love to tell them they appreciate them, and it literally made me tear up. So I try to do that to at least one person a day now.
Some changes I still need to work on are probably self forgiveness and self love. I tend to be really critical of myself and I know that is something that I need to work on still and if I do change that, I know I will be much happier.
I think I plan to share what I have learned through this class in the most simple way possible and that is to just show through action and being nice to people. I think that’s the best way to explain happiness. I think when you try to show someone something by advertising it or sharing it on Facebook, it becomes in-genuine, so I think just telling my loved ones I appreciate them, helping my friends when they need it and showing compassion to all is the best way that I can personally show what I have learned in this class.
I chose this picture because I think the phrase is simple, to the point, but packs a big punch. The sentence is short, but the meaning is so important!
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babenatural93 wrote a new post, Blog Post #3- SOH, on the site Babe Natural
As this class comes to an end, I can honestly say that I have seen growth with myself. My first day in the Science to Happiness […]
The image above is a prime example of how far my knowledge goes on wellbeing and how to maintain it. The meme is basically saying “Look I know how to find the obvious things, but I don’t know much about the rest.” Wellbeing was that for me. Wellbeing was not something I thought about. All I knew was that I should eat well, sleep enough and exercise. This class was useful in helping my explore this topic because it keeps coming up! Another topic that comes with it is “how can we achieve it?” From reading both the Trockel et al and the Dweck article, I think they were on a similar path in that they were using a population of people to answer the questions “What is wellbeing?” and “What actions/behaviors or personalities lead one person to have a greater sense of wellbeing than another?” From these questions I would go further to ask how these practices all play into overall happiness. In class, many speakers presented on different facets of wellbeing. The one lecture I really got into was the Career Wellbeing lecture given by Sims. She gave us this little stack of strips of paper with job characteristics on them and asked us to organize them into three categories: ones we needed at our job, ones that were nice to have, but were not necessary, and characteristics that were not necessary. After I did the activity, I noticed that I had clear expectations for my dream job and it also showed me why in the past, some jobs were more enjoyable than others. While reflecting on the reading and lecture activities, I realized that if I wanted to be happy, one of the things I needed to check were my career goals and make sure that when I graduate and interview for jobs, that I’m taking all the things I need into account and not just go for any job. In past job experiences, that is exactly what I did.
Social Wellbeing is another topic that is really meaningful to explore because not only does it tie into my career choice, it is also affected by my support group. For example, I’m fairly introverted so I should not become a sales rep because I do not like talking to strangers, nor do I enjoy engaging in large social situations AT ALL. Everyone in my support group knows that, but there have been people in my life that were more extroverted and preferred social gatherings, like parties. Eventually, we fell out and I had to learn to pay attention to my social wellbeing or I am not going to be happy AND EVERYONE IN MY SUPPORT NETWORK WILL NOTICE. As far as sharing what I have learned this semester with others, I think of it like this: if I have my life straight, I can provide support and solicited advice to others. So not only am I doing myself a service, I can use my experience as a resource.
I really think the course should be called The Science of Wellbeing because everything I have learned and applied to my daily life has increased my wellbeing and in turn, my overall happiness.
As this class comes to an end, I can honestly say that I have seen growth with myself. My first day in the Science to Happiness course, I walked in with little “expectations”. The expectation I did have, I was hoping to learn the fundamentals behind happiness. Fortunately, I received more than just fundamentals behind happiness, but also how to receive it, keep it and pass it on. In the course, there were many major lessons (fundamentals) on happiness. The major lessons that were taught were forgiveness, substance abuse, well-being, positive identity, regulating emotions, acts of kindness, mindfulness, awareness, relationships, nutrition & dieting, and sleeping improvements. Out of these major lesson, there were smaller topics that grew out of them.
Smaller topics such as social, career and academic (wellbeing) are to name a few. I choose theses smaller topics to discuss because I was unware that they existed. Social well-being describes an individual’s ability to integrate acceptance, contribute actualization and coherence. Social well-being, to me, means that I can recognize what type and how much energy I give to people or certain activities in my life. Career well-being is being able to find joy and passion in your future profession. Career well-being, to me, mean whatever profession you chose to pursuit, make sure that it is something that you love to do for the rest of your time on earth. Academic well-being is the achievement and success that is received during your academic path. Academic well-being, to me, means that I have developed positive success through my academic ability.
Out of all the major lesson and small topics, there are two that were the most meaningful to me. Those topics are forgiveness and relationships. The term forgiveness is one of my most meaningful topics because I have struggled with forgiving those that have mistreated me in the past. When our speaker spoke about forgiveness, he brought up a horrible event that included his mother being murdered by a man in their home. He spoke on how me and his siblings had a tough time forgiving a man for taking their mother way. He also spoke on his recovery to forgive the man. He informed us that he did not forgive the man to make the man feel better, but to allow himself to heal from the hurt. I thought that was amazing because I do not think I would be strong enough to forgive someone in that type of situation.
Another forgiveness aspect I learned was when I volunteered at an event called Fear 2 Freedom. This event was created to bookbags filled with needed supplies for individuals who have gone through or experienced sexual abuse (violence), domestic (relationship) violence and child abuse (sexual and violence). Though I learned so much from this event, I was very inspired that many victims, who received support, where able to forgive the person that took their joy and happiness from them. Learning that, it motivates my heart to find encouragement to forgive. Forgiveness is to allow yourself to heal properly so you can find that happiness and joy you once had before.
The term relationship takes many forms for me. I found relationships the second most meaningful topics because I notorious for allowing my negative experiences in past relationships (mostly partner relationships) to define my future relationships. The Well conducted a class called Relationship Skills Class. In this class, we were taught strategies on how to build a relationship (no matter what kind) that has structure and commitment from both parties. Out of all the strategies, I found that having and establishing expectations and boundaries within a relationship very interesting. I found these interesting because many of my past relationships consisted of miscommunication and disrespect from me and my partner. Expectation and boundaries, to me go hand in hand. For both, I learned that for a relationship to be healthy, each person needs to discuss what are the do’s and don’ts. Building these expectations and boundaries can allow each person to avoid crossing a line that are a “no, no”. This way, if miscommunication is presented, it will be easier to solve then to give up the relationship.
Since I have received positive knowledge from the topics taught, I do plan on incorporating some in to my life. The topics I do plan on incorporating are practicing mindfulness, improving my sleeping pattern and nutrients, practicing acts of kindness and self-awareness. I have, however, made changes mid-way of the semester. The changes I have made so far is implementing sufficient ways of communication in relationships, looking a negative situation in a positive way and practicing forgiving. I made these changes because I felt that my life needed improvement in those areas. It only made sense to start the process early, while class was still in session. During this process, I noticed that I still need to work in forgiveness and communication . . . only time will tell. I plan on spreading the knowledge of what I learn in this course by uplifting people in a time of need and becoming a listener and not a speaker in a situation.
The image I have chosen for this blog represents the feeling of finally finding your freedom in your own *use to be* negative world. This image also summarizes not only what I have learned, but also the positive impact it has made in my life. I would not be able to find motivation to improve my life and myself without this course.
Cite for Image: http://em-powernutrition.com/21-day-detox-challenge/
Initially I came into Science of Happiness with a lot anxiety and self doubt because of starting the process to apply to medical school and graduation. However, these feeling of self doubt have transformed into feelings of confidence,awareness and excitement to start the next chapter of my life. I think some of the major lessons I learned from this class are how to flourish, my own personality traits I was unaware of, how to remain emotionally resilient and how to take advantage of the opportunities VCU has to offer before I graduate. To expand on this in the earlier in the semester our first weekly assignment we filled out Keyes Flourishing Scale and my results were awakening because I was not flourishing as much as I thought I was. Ever since I entered college I have always associated flourishing with how well I was doing in school. I never considered outside factors as a part of how well I was doing overall. I think this course has taught me yes school is important but ” How can you do well in school if everything else is below average?”. I have had the opportunity to take this into deep consideration all semester and have had the opportunity to make reform within my life. For example early in the semester I had no time for myself and was overloaded with school and was not genuinely happy, I felt like I was missing out on essential relationships with others and overall just lacking a sense of community. Even though I was able to recognize all the areas I was lacking in my life this did not really hit home until Dr. Sood’s lecture were she talked about all the mental health disorders and diseases that can result from not being happy and being stressed out. In addition when she told the class how she has to make time for herself even though she is a doctor and extremely busy, I realized I can achieve the same.
I think learning about my own personality during the VIA strengths and Surps survey were really beneficially because they made me aware of traits I possess. For example before we took this survey I only use to focus on my weaknesses and neglected my strengths, this survey taught me theres no such things as weaknesses and that they are just strengths I have to work a little harder on. The strengths I scored lower on were self regulation, zest, forgiveness. Throughout this semester I definitely have been working on self regulation by distributing my time more wisely and tracking everything in a planner and to make sure I am not doing anything in excess such as binge eating late night in the library like I did in the fall semester. I worked on my zest by living in the moment I realized the reason I have lacked excitement and did things halfheartedly because my mind was always somewhere else for example thinking about an assignment that is due soon and not living in the present moment. Forgiveness has definitely been the hardest strength for me to work on because traditionally I hold grudges and “cut people off” but this semester I have tried to see situations from the other person’s perspective and this has allowed me to forgive people in shorter time periods and to not be resentful.
My emotional resiliency has really blossomed because of this class. When we heard the lecture about smart phones and how addicting they are, I didn’t realize how my behavior because of my phone use was obstructing my successfulness and my personal time outside of school. When I was obsessed with my phone it would take me twice as long to start and complete an assignment or my studying would always be less effective because I would study for 30 minutes and have an hour phone break. Ms. Nina Schroder lecture has really helped me hone my ability to be resistant using my smart phone and this allowed me to be more productive and even has allowed me to enjoy quality time with friends. For example my friends and I before this semester would go out to eat and spend the whole time on our phone after hearing Ms. Schroder’s lecture I suggested to my friends that whoever touches their phone during dinner has to pay for everyone. This has allowed us to really enjoy each other’s company in these last few months of undergrad since we are all graduating.
I think the lesson I appreciated the most during this class were the ones about VCU resources. To be more specific I really enjoyed Ms. Sims lecture about the career service center because I have been stressing what to do in this gap year before medical school. Hearing all the things career services has to offer that I did not even know existed helped to relieve some of my stress. Her lecture was so encouraging for me that I even went ahead and booked multiple appointments to help develop my resume and explore possible career opportunities during my gap year.
I have already managed to implement changes to my life because of all the weekly lectures this spring. However, I think to make sure I stick with these positive changes in my life I think creating a journal to keep track of my progress will help me to keep bettering myself once I graduate. In addition I think what I have learned about breathing and mindfulness will really help me while studying for my MCAT this summer so I won’t get stressed out or discouraged.
To share all the lessons and tools I learned during this semester I think I will continue to post on my twitter and maybe even try to do things like m final project with positive intervention. Before this class I hadn’t touch my twitter in like 2 years because I thought no one used it. However since I started doing my social media posts I have gotten favorites on my post, in addition there is a new feature that allows you to view how any people you have been able to reach. To my very own surprise I have been able to reach hundreds of other users which is definitely more people than I can reach by word of mouth which lets me know my post can have a real tangible influence on others. By posting on my twitter account I
think I will be able to positively intervene in the live’s of others and possible help increase their emotional resilience and help them to self regulate their emotions as well
I chose an an image that shows a quote from Hilary Clinton during a 2006 commencement speech to SUNY Buffalo. I chose this because it to be very inspiring. In addition the background found to be very peaceful; the quote and the background remind me of an old saying “There is beauty within the struggle”. Furthermore all of us have challenges and I believe this spring semester in the course science of happiness has made me better equipped to handle whatever challenges God and life decide to present to me from this point on.
picture was retrieved from: https://www.themuse.com/advice/35-inspirational-graduation-quotes-everyone-should-hear
The over-arching theme of this semester seems to be that happiness stems from an interwoven connection between social, emotional, physical, and mental wellness. It was exemplified throughout the coursework that overall happiness is difficult to attain without finding some balance between these four factors in our lives. Physical health is probably the most obvious facet of happiness that people tend to be aware of. We know that exercise is a critical factor to our health. Exercise is great at alleviating stress and anxiety and has actually been shown to provide depression benefits in individuals (among numerous other physical health benefits as well). Erin Thornton spoke to us about the importance of a balanced diet and drew attention to the common phenomenon of mindless, distracted eating which can cause feelings of guilt and doesn’t provide a healthy way of coping. Trockel, Barnes, & Egget, 2000. shows research that, unsurprisingly, healthy sleep habits were correlated with higher GPAs. It’s clear that our activity levels, day-to-day diets, and sleeping patterns exhibit a direct influence on our physical wellness and, maybe more importantly, our happiness.
Interestingly, our emotional wellness can have a big impact on our physical wellness. Individuals with anxiety, depression, high levels of stress, or low levels of emotional resilience are less likely to engage in behaviors that support positive physical wellness. Demirci, et al., 2015. concluded that higher incidences of smart phone usage were correlated with depression and anxiety, as well as poor sleep habits. They also found that depression and anxiety were predictors of decreased sleep quality. Nina Schroder told us that more time spent on social media is likely to decrease self-esteem and because of the transtheoretical model, we know that competency is one of the three main underlying needs that must be fulfilled to experience life satisfaction. So, do you see all the connections here? We need physical and emotional wellness to be happy…poor emotional wellness (anxiety/depression/stress) can have negative effects on our physical wellness…high levels of smart phone usage can cause depression and anxiety…depression and anxiety can cause poor sleep habits…poor sleep habits are related to low GPAs…and social media use can decrease our self-esteem due to an increased need to impress others and be affirmed, resulting in decreased perceptions of competency! Isn’t it crazy how everything is connected?
Another underlying need of the transtheoretical model is relatedness, which implies the importance social wellness has on our overall happiness. Social wellness is multifaceted, including academic, career, and social well-being. Hayley Sims talked about the importance of “ikigai”, basically meaning that finding our purpose is crucial to our happiness and longevity. Our cultivated purpose should ideally translate into our academic careers, as well as the workplace, and be a positive influence on our social wellness. Social well-being is more complex. It includes social integration, acceptance, contribution, actualization, and coherence. Professor Walsh emphasized that the quality of our relationships has a strong influence on our mental health and can also be linked to physical health, as well as sickness and mortality. According to Holt-Lunstad, Smith, & Layton, 2010., individuals with strong social relationships have a 50% greater likelihood of survival, showing us that poor social relationships increase our risk for death. It’s amazing that the quality of our relationships not only effects our happiness, but even influences how long we will survive!
Finally, we must consider mental wellness’s influence on happiness. We learned in class that positive psychology interventions have huge impacts on well-being. Proyer, et al., 2015. showed us that focusing on our top five strengths found from the VIA Strengths Survey will exhibit happiness benefits for up to three months, as well as some depression benefits. Dr. Reina discussed awareness and attention (the components of mindfulness) and how important it is to perform these skills intentionally and without judgement. Allowing ourselves to experience our thoughts and not let them control us helps us to let go of things and improves our ability to focus. Other positive psychology interventions, like keeping a gratitude journal, practicing kindness, and meditating on optimism help increase our mindfulness and lead to greater life satisfaction, as well as depression benefits.
I think what I enjoyed learning about the most this semester was how greatly social relationships effect our well-being and the impact social media has on our happiness. Recently, I started noticing the negative impact social media was having on my own life. It wasn’t until this semester that I decided to actually start decreasing and limiting my time on it. Even though I still use it (sometimes more than I should), I definitely have noticed that the less I invest in my image online, the happier I am. Whenever I relapse and find myself mindlessly scrolling through social media for an hour I notice that I feel very out of touch with the real world. Learning all the disturbing effects social media use has on our mental health was even more motivation for me to cut back and I’ve noticed that I am more mindful now about when I use it and how much I’m using it. Learning about social well-being was interesting because I think our society has developed into this dog eat dog world where everyone is fending for themselves and climbing the ladder to success alone. I believe our hyper-competitive society has driven people far away from the community-oriented mindset and the negative effects of this are being shown in our mental health statistics. I’ve always been a community-oriented person, so I know all too well the struggle that comes with feeling like you have to do things alone (school, work, success, etc.). After joining a campus ministry and finding my community in the Kingdom of God, I feel such an overwhelming sense of peace and fullness that I never knew before. This personal experience of mine made the coursework on social well-being even more meaningful to me because I know how true the research is.
The joy that I’ve gotten from finally finding my community inspires me to work to help others find their communites as well. I aspire to foster an environment at my home, at my workplace, with my friends, and at my church where people feel like they belong there. I want to love people in such a way that when they walk into my house, my office, or my church they know they have a home there. I think all the material we’ve learned this semester about the many aspects of wellness will greatly strengthen my ability to understand, empathize, support, encourage, and provide for others in the ways that they need to flourish. As a future athletic trainer, I will have many opportunities to help others develop and improve their physical wellness. As a human being, my encounters and relationships with others provide a space for me to utilize the information I’ve learned, observe where they may be struggling, and give useful, research-based advice and support. Personally, I would like to get better about being more intentional with the people in my life. As a college student, it can be difficult to invest in many relationships while trying to keep your own life together. Since I’m graduating I think I’ll have a greater opportunity to really invest in the people around me more and try to be a bigger help in their lives. I also want to continue to work on my social media use and maybe even get to a point where I feel completely comfortable with deleting most of my social media platforms. Since I’m trying to use social media less, I will focus more on sharing the information I’ve learned in class through personal conversation with friends, family, and whoever else may need or want to talk about it.
I chose this picture because I think every time we love someone we plant seeds in their hearts that make it grow. There’s a never-ending question people ask about what the meaning of life is. I believe we are here to build each other up in love.
Intrinsic motivation is really important for your academic wellbeing. Now that I know the meaning of intrinsic motivation, I know more about the person I am. I don’t expect any rewards for the work that I do, b […]
I learned that sometimes when people get addicted to drugs, it is also called substance use and addiction. I also learned that there are other forms of addictions including phone usage as well. People normally get […]
So far, I’ve come to the conclusion that this course structured to educating about improving one’s overall mental and emotional health. The first few weeks of this course catered to educating about depression and anxiety, mindfulness, genetic and happiness , and focusing on strengths. The last few weeks of this course catered to emotional resilience particularly in the digital age,getting to know yourself via personality traits and substance use risk profile, and social emotional learning.
The emotional resilience lecture provided research proving that their is a positive correlation between the amount of technology usage and mental health trends. heavy social media usage has been proven to result in increased risk of depression, anxiety, stress, and even suicide. Next, Doctor Vassileva explained the Five factor Model during the “Getting to know yourself'” lecture. The Five Factor Model identifies five basic traits, such as neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientious, that are fundamental for determining one’s personality. She also explained the use of the substance use risk profile scale,SURPs, which is a questionnaire that measures one’s susceptibility to substance misuse and what substances they are more susceptible to misusing, based on 4 personality traits. These traits include impulsivity, sensation seeking, anxiety sensitivity, and negative thinking/ hopelessness. Third and final, the social and emotional learning lecture emphasized the importance recognizing one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how to properly express and cope with them. SEL programs are gradually being created to help improve such skills in school aged kids and beyond.
All content provided in the past 10 weeks has helped me to really learn more about myself both emotional, mentally, and socially. I am now a lot more cognizant of how often I engage in social media, as well as my emotions and how I allow them to impact my behavior. Instead of constantly being on social media, I have found a novel series that is just as entertaining. Also, throughout the day, I take time to acknowledge my emotions and process them in a way that will be more beneficial and productive to myself as well as the relationships I have with others.
I chose this image, because I believe it is very true to life. The key to your happiness, building healthy relationships, and even having a healthy work life is all through knowing yourself. Knowing what makes you happy or sad, how to process your emotions, knowing your strengths and areas of improvements, etc, are all essential in living a beautiful life filled with peace, love, and wisdom. <3
Emotional resilience in the digital age, social emotional learning, and getting to know yourself all sort of goes hand-in-hand. All of these topics fall under the category of personal development and traits. Our ties to technology that come along with heightened anxiety, depression, and hampered sleep closely relates to our personal qualities and personalities. Our response to the digital age reflects our personality traits. As for social emotional learning, the focus was on earlier developmental years, like elementary school. Tapping into those earlier stages of life to help kids develop vital skills before reaching adulthood further shapes how they will act in a digital world. Reflecting back on the earlier weeks in the course, children would also be developing strengths, like mindfulness, for the working world and possibly even reducing their likelihood or severity of anxiety and depression later in life.
These past 10 weeks I’ve gained insight on many subjects. For starters, I was able to learn how to practice mindfulness skills. I’ve been able to incorporate these skills into my everyday life and I can’t imagine going back. Another subject was on addiction. Since I’m planning a career around drug rehabilitation and mental health counseling, it was really interesting to see how some personality traits of those who struggle with addiction are correlated with specific substances; I plan to carry this knowledge forward, as well. I look forward to what the weeks ahead have in store!
Living in a digital age can have big advantages, but it also comes with some nasty consequences. As we learned in the past few weeks, depression and anxiety are at an all time high. Overuse of entertainment technology and social media can lead to increased incidences of loneliness, low self-esteem, social concern, and decreased communication skills. Demirci, et al. reports that higher smartphone usage positively correlates to depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. We also know from Conrad, et al. that children with certain risk factors are more likely to be negatively impacted by substance abuse during adolescence, leading to increased likelihood of addiction in the future. Finally, the SEL meta-analysis tells us that students participating in SEL programs had positive changes in their attitudes and social-emotional skills regarding themselves, school, and others. Putting all this together simply, it seems like the increased use of technology and decreased focus on social-emotional skill learning we see in our society and schools today is having a grand negative impact on our children’s development and mental health.
In the first weeks of class, we talked about genetic influence on personality traits. Conrad, et al. classifies four distinct personality traits that serve as risk factors for potential substance abuse and addiction: impulsivity, sensation seeking, anxiety sensitivity, and hopelessness. These personality traits are likely very genetically influenced, but that doesn’t mean prevention steps can’t be taken to reduce the impact of these traits on decision making and emotional health. Promoting SEL programs in school is a fantastic way to counteract these social-emotional disturbances and help teach and establish healthy emotional and behavioral patterns in kids at a young age. We know that SEL helps improve emotional recognition, stress-management, and decision making skills. Implementing these programs within our current academic education could serve as prevention of not only addiction and substance abuse, but also anxiety and depression. Helping students develop empathy, a strong sense of self, and healthy, rational behavior patterns could serve as a good mechanism to counteract the negative effects of our technologically advancing world.
The past few weeks have caused me to be a bit more mindful about technology and the importance of real-life people skills versus standard academic achievement. Personally, I’ve been spending a significantly less amount of time on social media/screens. I had already realized that social media had a negative impact on my mental health, however after hearing the lecture by Nina Schroder I really felt inspired to make screen time a less important and prioritized part of my life. In doing so, I feel more content and connected with my peers, loved ones, and the world around me. I feel more focused and I don’t feel such a heavy weight of pressure to be or look a certain way. The SEL lecture was really interesting to me because it made me think a lot about the way in which I will raise my kids one day. It seems like common sense, but seeing the data and research proving that we need to be teaching our children how to be good human beings more so than how to be good students really inspired me. I definitely will keep everything I learned with me moving forward because I know it will help me one day when I start my own family.
I chose a picture of someone enjoying the outdoors because I think it represents freedom from technology. When we put our phones down, we’re able to look up and enjoy the incredible world around us.
Since the start of week 7 in SOH class, we have learned about Emotional Resilience, Personality traits, and Social Emotional Learning. In my opinion, they are interconnected to each other because they focus on human behaviors and emotional developments. These lectures has educated me that I have a lot to learn about myself. For example, I should track my sleep patterns, and time spent on social media because lack of sleep and more amount of social media uses can affect my personality and mood. According to American Psychological Association, personality is defined as individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. In the Week 7 reading assignment, we learned that there is correlation between the relationship of smartphone use severity with sleep quality, depression, and anxiety in university. The results in that article concluded that smartphone overuse may lead to depression and/or anxiety, which can in turn result in sleep problems. Personally, I don’t that much of a difference between these lectures; however the fact that they focus on different perspective of emotional, cognition, and personality traits. Overall the outcome of these lectures are they focus on a personal well-being and positive psychology, which relates us back to earlier content.
Since I have enrolled in SOH class, I have learned a lot about positive psychology and negative effects of social media uses. As a college student, I am stressed about my classes and grades so in order to take a break from studies I use social media. But after emotional resilience lecture, I have found out that social media impacts us negatively. Therefore, I have deleted and moved social media apps from my phone as recommended by Nina Schroder (Week 7). After completing Disconnecting for 50 minutes exercise, I have found out that if I hide my phone away during class, I tend to focus more on the lecture. Therefore, phone has been a distraction to my studies since my freshmen year. I wish I had learned it before that not using my phone for one hour is not going to affect my life at all. I have already made changes to one my daily habits – phone overuse. Before, I used to spend almost five hours and it used to distract me and affect my sleep pattern. But nowadays, I think I only use social media one hour in total, which is thirty minutes before lunch and fifteen minutes around evening, and fifteen minutes before going to sleep.
I chose the picture that is above because it represents that our young generation has social media in our mind rather than being interactive socially. We should limit our social media use, and should not post our personal life problems in social media because that makes us vulnerable to be attacked by strangers.
It is with great happiness that I am able to attest that, since the first blog post several weeks ago, the trend of gaining valuable insights to happiness continues (and with great success) into the final weeks of the course. In these last few weeks since first checking in with the first blog post, the topics covered in class have been focused more on the scientific matter of more pleasant emotions and awareness (“happiness”). Topics such as emotional resiliency and social and emotional learning were covered, which I found to be relatable to each other in the way that, if we are not taught to relate to each other emotionally at a young age, we will really need to hone our skills to become emotionally resilient later on in life. I am aware that children are not taught the emotional skills necessary to be empathetic towards each other and built upon into lifelong habits (my mother is a middle school teacher). Many, myself included, resort to letting the technological advancements we have take the place of social interactions (Demirci et al, 2015, highlighted the dangers of cell phone use, especially, and linked it to depression and anxiety in college aged people), especially by turning to our phones when in a situation that we do not feel most comfortable in. I was also able to relate the personality traits that Dr. Vassileva introduced to the class (week 9) to character strengths (week 4) and reinforce the validity of my top strength of judgement with the fact that, according to the SURPS survey, I was along the low end of the scale in the “impulsivity” category.
The larger lessons gathered from the past 10 weeks or so include the fact that there is quite an extensive body of research not into the science of happiness, but into the factors that work together to produce what has been accepted as standards for happiness and contentment. However, at the same time certain areas of study (SEL and such), although they have enough research to be considered a valuable component to the science of happiness, are fresh and require more results and research time. Perhaps the most valuable personal insight is mindfulness and the positive effects that even the slightest bit of effort can produce if one works to build it into everyday habits.
As a result, I have begun to practice mindfulness throughout the day. Motivated by examples (such as from the T.A. and other classmates) and the importance of breathing that was reiterated in this class, I have begun a habit of taking a deep breath every time I lock the doors of my car after getting in. This makes for a consistent “mini” quiet reflective time, as I commute to campus each day and also find myself doing most of the driving in my household. I was inspired to do so from both this class and previous classes which stressed the importance of breath and being mindful of how you use it. After consistently doing this for several weeks now, I find myself more conscious of my breath and noticing when I am either holding my breath or taking shallow breaths, as well as the effects this has on my heart rate. When I hold my breath or breathe shallowly, my heart rate goes up, increasing feelings of stress or anxiety, and sometimes this is how I find out that I am stressing or getting anxious. I hope to go further with this “mindful time” and extend it to more moments and a longer duration.
The image that I chose is to represent the effects of the changes that I have made in my life because of this class. These changes have been positive, and I feel that they will bring a greater sense of peace to my life. To me, peace is represented visually by sunlight and natural things, and each person has their own vision based on their own experiences.
I think since I’ve learned about emotional resilience in the age of technology, SURPS and social and emotional learning it has changed my outlook on life. All the topics were intertwined and connected in various ways. Emotional resilence and the SURPS score we discussed in class were connected because our emotional resilience to technology can be related to our impulsivity score and our risk of substance abuse. Everyday most people including myself are impulsively checking our phone when there is no notification or need to; often time feeling the need to excite our life to compete with followers we may/ may not know on our social media platforms . If we actually act on these urges it may increase the negative effects we experience in our life. Negative effects such as decreased mental acuity, increase risky behaviors such as sex and drinking. However after hearing Dr. Ross’ lecture I think these can be overcame by implementing social and emotional learning at the college level. College is a time of high stress many changes so in order to alleviate some of this stress VCU and other universities could offer more workshops for incoming freshman and other students throughout their college career. I think throughout my college career I definitely had to figure out how to be resilient on my own and learning to prioritize between academics and social life. The beginning of my college career I definitely struggled with spending too much time socializing with people who weren’t goal oriented and distracted me from my own goals. Luckily I was able to get back on track but this isn’t the situation for many college students who will end up spending six years in colleges instead of four or dropping out all together. Since learning about all these different topics I’ve definitely have tried to cut down on the amount of time I spend on my phone and computer if it is not school related and have noticed that the amount of time I need to study has decreased since I’m more focused. The reason I chose the Tupac meme because I feel many times people think they deserve the best in life without putting in the work.
the meme was retrieved from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/303218987382989757/
Topics covered in weeks 7-10 are similar because the concepts discussed are ones that enable people to live better lives. Week 10, “Social Emotional Learning” we discussed learning that typically occurs early in life whereas “Getting to Know Yourself” was about understanding yourself later in life when habits have been established. The topics tended to be about emotional aspects of self.
The main ways in which earlier content informed new content are by providing a conceptualization of what happiness is and how character traits are studied. An especially important topic was depression, and understanding that feeling sad isn’t the same as major depression. I believe this is was an important topic because it fosters the understanding that affect is, in part, a physiological phenomenon. Also, affluenza (learned about in week 3) plays a role in social media addiction.
An overarching insight from the first 10 weeks of class is that awareness is paramount. Being able to tap into your thoughts and emotions is critical for self-betterment and happiness.
This class has been very useful in helping me identify habits that I can/should change in order to live a more productive and fulfilled life. Besides reducing social media use, I have not enacted any changes to my daily routine. I intend to do so after college once life’s pace has slowed. I plan to start being more physically active again and cut down on alcohol consumption. This decision was informed by the speaker who explained that substance use can further impulsive tendencies.
“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”
– George Bernard Shaw
The photo I choose is meant to represent awareness. I like the image because it has crops in the background and I think a healthy diet is a key to happiness. Also I think it’s symbolic that the person is holding something near their chest as if it’s important to them.
The topics of emotional resilience, getting to know yourself through your personality traits, and social and emotional learning are connected in a way. Once you are able to get to know yourself, you can build your emotional resilience by using the skills learned from social and emotional learning. Thinking back to when we took the VIA Strengths survey, we learned about our strengths, and that can also help with emotional resilience as well. For example, one of my top 5 strengths was Love of Learning. If someone was to say something mean like “oh you’re such a nerd, it irritates me,” my emotional resilience would help me cope with that and not feel bad about loving to learn. My social and emotional skills will prevent me from saying mean things back.
Larger insights that I’v learned from the class more so have to do with what I’ve learned about myself. I never realized that I was a high sensation seeker until I took the SURPS because I honestly thought I was just a borderline adrenaline junkie. I love getting on roller coasters and I want to bungee jump and zip line one day, and I just like to laugh a lot and have fun. Ever since I found out that I was flourishing even though I felt like I was languishing, I feel like I’ve been a lot happier lately.
Changes that I am working on making are my automatic negative thoughts pattern, and trying to find ways to use my other strengths from the VIA survey that I learned about. One of the readings talked about how positive thoughts and positive psychology work together, so the negative thoughts need to be tamed. Also, I am starting to write down daily reasons about what made me happy, and I try to find the good in the bad that happens. I still have A LOT of work to do, but I’ll get to where I want to be soon, hopefully.
This photo has to do with the resilience part of my post. Resilience can protect a person against stress, anxiety, depression, etc., and promotes life satisfaction. Build your emotional resilience, and live a happy life!
Emotional resilience, getting to know myself, and social emotional learning feed into one another. I think that we get to know ourselves by how we interact with others and how they interact with us. In learning to be aware of how others feel, we learn how to be aware of what we feel. Emotions can be tough to deal with at times. Through what we learn from our peers and from past experiences, we learn how to be resilient and survive, adapt to, and work through our feelings. We may see how someone we know deals with their anxiety. That person may cope with anxiety in certain ways that help them overcome it. When we feel anxious, we may remember what that person did to get through what they felt and then we implement those same techniques in getting through emotional difficulties. In the past ten weeks, I learned some things about myself. The best way I can explain what I’ve discovered about myself is to use an analogy. In the past, if someone figuratively says, “don’t touch the stove because you will get burned,” I would respond with “well then I’ll make a fire-resistant glove. Then I’ll be able to touch the stove, not get burned, and then you’ll look stupid.” These past few months, I have learned from my friends, what we’ve learned in class, and through self-awareness, that I don’t need to try to prove others wrong all the time. I’ve recognized my tendencies to think that I always need to be right. Now I can work on changing those self-defeating perspectives. Emotions are valid. They’re a fact of life and no one has ever died solely because they felt an emotion. When thoughts of wanting to be argumentative or to act out on impulse, I stop and ask myself, “how has that worked out for me in the past?”
The picture I chose to include is one that I took myself and posted on my Instagram account 6 years ago. I think that it represents that even though things may be brought to light, there still may be something that prevents us from realizing everything.
It is not just related to drugs and alcohol, but to games and social media as well. Excessive smartphone use has been linked to sleep quality, depression and anxiety according to Dr. Schroder. For that week’s exercise we had to put our phones away while in class and record how we felt and what we actually missed when we were away from our phones. Now I am not one that is really effected by my need to be on social media, but I do use my phone to escape from social situations. The following week was with Dr. Vasslieva on how personality traits complemented our need and urges to be attached to something like social media, drugs and alcohol. There has been research about predicting how a child will progress and be at risk for addiction by analyzing their personality. It is surprisingly accurate. I have a very high level of negative thinking for my personality which puts me most at risk for overuse of opiates and alcohol. I have never used opiates, but alcohol I could definitely see myself abusing (if I wasn’t so poor). The latest topic was with Dr. Ross and she discussed SEL or Social and Emotional Learning. SEL is is important to be sucessful in the long run! Traits like empathy, decision making, and conflict resolution skill are necessary for the workplace and to have meaningful relationships. According to a meta-analysis by Joseph Durlak, only 29-45% of surveyed students had these social competencies. They then implemented a SEL program and saw an increase of 11% in academic performance (Durlak, 2011). Now if only all schools could implement some sort of strategy like that!
I signed up for Science of Happiness expecting to learn the true meaning behind happiness. Fortunately, I was able and still is able to learn much more. So far, we have learned things from personality traits to understanding your own personal strengthens. From week 7 to 10, we have learned about emotional resilience, “getting to know yourself” and social emotional learning. These topics showed similarities and differences. In emotional resilience, we are taught how social media in very influenced in people’s lives. Some people are more attached to their phones than most and must stay up to date on celebrities or events. Being on social media could also hurt someone’s ability to not make friends or even comparing their lives to someone’s life in a negative manner.
They maybe afraid to speak their mind and focus heavily on what others think or feel about them. In “getting to know yourself”, we were taught exactly what the title says. We took surveys for our personality traits and were able to identify what personality trait we favored the most. Most of the traits reflected on how we respond and react to certain things or events in our lives. The topic also discussed how people make decisions in situations. In social emotional learning (SEL), we were taught that there are certain social skills, like working well with others, are preferred over the other in our everyday lives. We were also taught having these skills will determine how your success in life.
For similarities, all three topics focused on why and how individuals respond to certain situations while others don’t. For example, if a teenager is having a hard time making friends in school, their “get away” maybe to surf the web or to join a popular website. On these website, they may interact or follow people they envy. This could cause them to compare themselves to others or putting themselves down. For differences, one topics goes in depth on comparing being addicted to your phone to being addicted to drugs. Topics from week 1 to 6 also showed similarities from week 7 to 10. The topics from 1 to 6 consisted of mindfulness, positive psychology, “focusing on strengths”, depression and mood states and genetic and happiness. These topics tied in because they still explain why and how people act or feel about certain things in their lives. Using the previous example, the teenager may show signs of depression (feeling useless) which could affect their mindset (no peacefulness) and direct their focus on weakness rather than their strengths.
Though I have been in this class for a few months, I have found myself trying to make corrections in my life. From these topics, I have gained a larger lesson that I have a lot of growing up to do. I needed to understand why and how I react and response to situations and people. I plan on changing how I handle negative situation, incorporate mindfulness in to my everyday life and to develop the skills to forgive people genuinely. The image I have decide to use represents knowledge and growth. The image is showing young children who are graduating into the next level in their lives. I personally feel that I am preparing myself more knowledge and growth towards my graduation into my new my life. I already have plenty of resources to help get me started . . . I might as well give it a try.
Nina Schroeder covered week seven, teaching the class about emotional resilience in the digital age. I really enjoyed her topic because it is prevalent, and many people do not realize how social media, phones, or technology in general may be affecting them. Dr. Vassileva covered week nine, and talked about “getting to know yourself” regarding personality traits. I liked that she was able to provide the class with a lot of studies regarding personality traits, and how certain personality traits were related to substance use/other problems. Week ten was taught by Dr. Ross, and covered social and emotional learning. It was interesting to look at research she had done personally regarding social/emotional learning in the classroom. Overall, these topics heavily overlapped with each other.
I think Dr. Vassileva’s lectures should have come before Ms. Schroeder’s because they provided a good basis of information for her lectures as well as Dr. Ross’ lectures. I was able to relate the information regarding personality traits to emotional resilience easily. One of the biggest overlaps that I saw was that the sensation-seeking trait related a lot to people seeking out “comfort” in social media. Those who have a high sensation-seeking trait have a boredom susceptibility, which relates to picking up a phone for no specific reason and aimlessly looking through social media. The trait also encompasses a need for stimulation. I related this to when we talked about how some people are so engulfed in social media because they are always looking for that next “like” on Facebook or Instagram. When someone sees a “like”, their dopamine levels rise and their brains have been stimulated.
I related personality traits to SEL in that SEL was able to show outcomes far down the road regarding fewer conduct problems and drug use. People have certain personality traits that may make them more susceptible to using drugs, but I believe that social and emotional learning at an early age could be able to deter one from using. If SEL were to be incorporated everywhere, I think we would see a huge decline in drug use/conduct problems overall.
Content from weeks one through six was helpful in understanding these past few weeks because I had a basic understanding of mindfulness, genetics, mood states, etc. that served as a good background for information that was based off of a lot of research. I found myself being able to connect content from the first few weeks to weeks seven through ten.
Overall, the biggest take away for me from these past ten weeks is just that there is so much that one can do to increase mindfulness and happiness. For example, focus on strengths instead of weaknesses. I really enjoyed taking the strengths survey during week four because it allowed me to focus more on what I am “good” at rather than my weaknesses. Another example would be Dr. Ross’ lectures on social and emotional learning. There are so many ways for schools to incorporate SEL into curriculum so that students have tools to focus on mindfulness and express their emotions.
One change that I have been actively trying to do is to put my phone away at least an hour before bedtime. I did not realize how much of an impact looking at a screen before bedtime effected healthy sleep. My inspiration for this was the statistic that 30% of college students consider sleep issues a major stressor (Schroeder). It helped me to see that there’s a decent amount of other students out there that also have trouble sleeping at night like I do. It is a lot harder than I thought to put my phone away, but when I have been able to do it, I have noticed that I fall asleep easier.
The image that I included relates to Ms. Schroeder’s lectures on emotional resilience. I chose this image particularly because she had covered how looking at a screen can effect sleep. It relates to my blog post because I talked about how I have been actively trying to put my phone away an hour before bedtime to help me sleep better.
The image had the words from the song “Juicy” by Notorious BIG. When I listen to this song, I think about when I was in a place that is below rock bottom, and eventually getting so tired of being there that I clawed and fought my way out. In the song Biggie describes what his life was like before he was famous, what he had to do to get out of that situation and into a better one. Every tool I have learned in this class has helped me learn more about myself, how I see the world and given me some tools to better myself.
Three topics we discussed in class these past few weeks were: Emotional resilience in the digital age, Substance use risk profile (SURPs), and The Social and Emotional Learning Program (SEL). Emotional resilience in the digital age explored research studies that concluded that increased use of technology increases anxiety, decreases self-efficacy and self confidence. The Substance Use Risk Profile (SURPs) is a questionnaire that measures impulsivity, sensation-seeking behavior, and anxiety sensitivity in order to map out one’s proclivity for substance abuse and the type of substances one would gravitate towards. For example, I scored low in impulsivity, and medium in all the other categories. I was surprised that my impulsivity score was so low, but I was also excited to see progress. The third topic we covered, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), was a program done in grades K-12 all over the world. I noticed the focus of their program was to help kids get in touch with their emotions and express these emotions in a healthy way. Each program is different in their pathways to attaining those goals. For example, some programs have the kids do mindfulness practices, work on their communication skills, or do a daily emotional check-in.
Some of the common ties I noticed across these topics was the focus on the proclivity for risky behavior, instability, anxiety, decreased emotional resilience (like self-efficacy), and identifying how mood influences one’s outlook on life.
The topics covered from blog #1 were: Mindfulness, VIA, Depression & Anxiety (mood states), Genetics & Happiness, and the Flourishing Scale. From these topics, I learned ways to check in, notice when I’m struggling, and how the environment, my genetics and my outlook on life affect my wellbeing. I also gained tools to do something about it (e.g. meditation, stop and think before I act, and work on my strengths). Blog #1 topics were the foundation for what I learned these past few weeks because I can draw a common thread…and by “common” I mean complex af. I have learned how much the complexity of the environment and genetics can lend a boot to how I deal with my life and acquire happiness. The larger lesson I have learned so far are tools to check in (e.g. flourishing scale) when I notice I’m annoyed.
One change I have made is checking in with myself more often. I also noticed I was using my phone to look busy during uncomfortable situations or when I always felt uncomfortable when I didn’t have my phone in my hand. So I decreased my phone usage and put it somewhere where I didn’t see it when I wasn’t using it.
With weeks 7-10 underway, I feel like I have a better understanding on the realm surrounding positive psychology. I believe the information that we’ve gathered in the past couple of weeks has really taught me about myself, and showed me my strengths and weaknesses, and how to apply these skills in a professional working environment. In the first couple weeks of this class we learned about the basic information regarding Mindfulness and certain ways we can work towards keeping ourselves happy. Now as we are ending the course we are digging deeper and understanding how our emotions and impulsive choices can affect us in the long run. We started off weeks 7-10 by discussing romantic relationships as well as getting to know your inner self. We can use the different acts of Mindfulness to accept our inner selves and set improvement where it might be needed. This class has taught me that its extremely important to live in the moment, and that its never to late to make a change in trying to improve your well being. I tend to live in the past, overthinking & over analyzing my decisions and choices. I’m planning on working towards letting silly decisions go in order to lessen my anxiety and bettering my own mental state. The photo for this blog is expressing how I want to work towards letting go of my familiar way of negative thinking, and gain a more positive outlook.
Link for photo: https://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1366&bih=637&ei=pOOyWtOIHZKB5wLSo6HABw&q=letting+go+of+negative+thinking&oq=letting+go+of+negative+thinking&gs_l=img.3..0i24k1.671.4017.0.418.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.877.12j2.14.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..2.30.885.0..0j35i39k1.0.4efR-itLVEU#imgrc=UazcrdYGSpwQmM:
I have found that emotional resilience, knowing yourself, substance abuse traits, and social emotional learning are all deeply rooted in one another. Social emotional learning is important in knowing yourself. Knowing yourself and is crucial in knowing substance abuse traits. And emotional resilience is important in overcoming substance abuse. I would say an overarching theme that ties these threads together is awareness. I think a lot of people overlook the importance of just simply being aware . Being aware of yourself, how likely you are to become addicted to something, and being aware of how you react to all of these things is vital in leading a healthy, functional life. Some can also say that being aware is the same thing or similar to being mindful. We have learned about the power of mindfulness a lot in the past few weeks, I think it is the strongest things that can change a person and affect their behaviour.
Another similarity is between emotional resilience in the digital age and substance abuse. In many articles, and even in the lecture Nina Schroder gave us a few weeks ago, there is a strong closeness between being addicted to drugs and alcohol and being addicted to your cell phone and/or technology. Technology and social media releases endorphins just like drugs and alcohol do. They release positive waves in your brain, so they make you want to continue using technology. That same thing happens with drugs and alcohol. It’s interesting because in our group discussions we were also comparing the idea of “big pharma” and apple/google/big digital companies. Both corporations benefit from our endorphins being released because that means we will be coming back for more, more antidepressants, more opioids, more apps, more cell phone data. The more we come back the more money they make. I also think that is one reason America is such an unhappy country. America, nicknamed “Prozac nation” is centered completely around making money off of its members. I think antidepressants and unnecessary drugs can lead to addiction and too much technology is bad for you. I think it’s an interesting topic that I would love to learn more about, but as for now those are all the comparisons I can make.
In class these past 10 weeks, I really didn’t realize how much using social media can affect people’s moods and happiness. The statistics and data shown were shocking and kind of sad. I also learned the scientific effects of meditation on the brain, which was very interesting because I meditate myself, I just never knew the science behind it.
A change I have actively tried to make since taking this class was to not be on my phone so much, even when I want to. I have been trying really hard and although I slip up sometimes, I enjoy being the one observing my friends on their phones instead of sitting there with them enthralled with what is on that tiny screen. I make sure to treat having a conversation with someone the same as using the “first date rule” (to not have your phone out at dinner). Through this I have learned to be in the moment and to really listen to what the other person had to say. My ears have heard things in a different way, if you know what I mean.
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I have learned in the first couple weeks in SOH that so often teens are depressed, 1 out of 4! That is an incredible number! It would not be as common if we, as a nation, put more stake into “Positive Psychology”. I had never heard of the concept until this class, but it makes sense! Why not bolster someone’s self worth? Why wait till its too late to help someone? I have been depressed for as long as I can remember. I wish someone had used this method instead of just telling me to “get over it” and “what’s wrong with you?”.
I was not at all surprised to get my result from the Keyes’ scale, which categorized me as ‘languishing’. Not at all surprised. I do not want to feel like this. I was pleasantly surprised to learn of my top strengths, which are honesty and perseverance. I knew they would be up there but not necessarily the top two. I have been brought up to ALWAYS tell the truth, even if it gets me in trouble. My honesty is a bit brutal at times; I am working on better ways to approach people.
I will keep learning as much as I can from the wonderful speakers in this class and I hope I can change my outlook on life.
So far, we’ve discussed many topics: Keyes’ Model (the continuum model of the relationship between mental illness and mental health), genetic influences on behavior (like which behavioral traits are hereditary), depression and anxiety and mood states (for example, we discussed the high co-morbidity between depression and anxiety), positive psychology (including the PERMA theory), and our personal strengths (like love, zest, gratitude, etc.).
I think the last of these was the most surprising to me because we took a test to determine our personal strengths. I did not expect my results to be what they were, yet, it was a fascinating insight.
And so far, these topics have started to become integrated into my everyday life. One thing that has caused this overlap are the topics discussed in my psychology courses. For example, this past week in a psychology course, we had to read some writings by Descartes. For those who are unfamiliar with this name, René Descartes is a French philosopher who is best known for his view of body and soul called Cartesian Dualism. While reading excerpts from The Passions of the Soul, I came across this quote in article 156,
“Those who are Generous in this way are naturally inclined to do great things, and yet to undertake nothing they do not feel themselves capable of.”
This particular quote stood out to me because I have always thought that self-awareness as well as self-regulation are critical to a healthy mindset. Along with this, just a few days earlier, we had discussed our personal strengths and how these strengths can become exhausted. When we take on challenges that we are not fit to accomplish, in the end we are ultimately just harming ourselves—sort of like the expression, “spreading yourself too thin,” because when someone overworks themselves, performance plummets.
An example I used to explain this concept for my other class involved the strength of love. When someone is extremely caring, they may open their heart to numerous people and attempt to help carry these people’s burdens. But when said person signs up for more than they are able to carry and become too invested in others’ problems, this loving heart, which was once an admirable strength, becomes a characteristic that is handicapping and restricts them from achieving his/her full potential.
In a nutshell, when you find a healthy balance in the virtues we are plentiful in while knowing how much we are capable of tackling, we are able to do attain grand accomplishments.
Mental health is something I deeply value. After fighting my way through my own various mental health problems (low self-esteem, depression, anxiety), it is a topic I find very important to talk about and also really rewarding! I love that it’s becoming more and more socially acceptable to speak openly about mental health and I pray our society will continue to learn how to value vulnerability and transparency as a strength, not a weakness.
In the past few weeks, we’ve discussed many topics I’m already familiar with. I’ve taken multiple psychology classes and am also involved in various organizations that seek to promote and cultivate positive mental health, so many of these concepts were not new to me. However, some of the models we’ve discussed have helped me string all of the previous information I’ve learned together and solidify it all into one over-arching idea. The Keyes’ model of complete mental health and flourishing, in my opinion, makes a lot more sense than any mental health model/common thought I’ve encountered before. I have ADHD, and up until two weeks ago before Jesus healed me, I had anxiety. Despite what the DSM might classify as mental health issues, I scored flourishing on the Keyes’ scale. I didn’t expect to score anything less because I know that my mental health is great; I love my life, take whatever comes my way in stride, and am completely content and at peace with myself and my circumstances. From the psychology I’ve been taught before, I think it would be assumed that because I have ADHD and previously had anxiety, I would have poor mental health, which certainly isn’t true. I really like the Keyes’ model because it acknowledges that genetic influence on mental health is only 5o% and intentional activity accounts for nearly the same amount at 40%. While books like the DSM might be great for diagnosing disorders, I don’t think the general thought within the psychology community should be that individuals with diagnosed problems are more likely to have bad mental health or less capable of living a life with positive mental health.
I enjoyed learning about positive psychology because it was never discussed in my previous psychology classes. While the concept seems like common sense (focusing on the good and not the bad makes us feel better? Duh!), it isn’t something I’ve seen taught extensively. The Wellbeing Theory (PERMA) features factors that can contribute to components of the Self-Determination Theory (autonomy, competency & relatedness) that is commonly accepted as the three main necessities an individual needs to be motivated. Focusing on our strengths, which we learned from taking the VIA Strengths Survey, can facilitate aspects of the PERMA model. Identifying our strengths will lead to positive emotion, can help us feel a sense of accomplishment, and may aid us in becoming better at engaging with others and maintaining meaningful relationships.
I’m a huge supporter of the practice of promoting our individual strengths instead of focusing our attention on what’s “wrong” with us. While I do think self-reflection is very important and I deeply appreciate acknowledging our weaknesses and consciously and intentionally working to get better and grow, I don’t think this necessary growth can be stimulated by drawing attention to the negatives first and approaching our weaknesses as problems that are hindering our well-being and mental health (because depending on the individual that may or may not be the case!)
The reason I scored flourishing on the Keyes’ scale is because of the intentional activity I’ve done to get there. For years, I’ve been working on my own mental health to make it as good as it can be. Learning about the different things we’ve covered in SOH has only affirmed my commitment to my own mental health and has given me tools to help others in cultivating their own.
I feel the lectures from the various professors throughout this course so far have had an invaluable impact on me. From the first week where we assessed our own mental health and my results came back much lower than expected so when I was reading the Keye’s lecture I evaluated how my results compared with the dimensions that reflect a person with flourishing mental health. I think one of my weaker strengths that influenced my score is that I have yet to reach environmental mastery and also developing positive relations. I think I have a harder time with environmental mastery because I have a hard time controlling my emotions when I am in certain social situations. In addition I think I have a problem with positive relationships because, I feel like many times in our live’s we have people that may be family who are capable of invoking extremely negative emotions within us and it’s harder to cope because we can’t just “cut” people like this out of our lives. However, since we’ve learned about being mindful, and how we can implement breathing techniques into our daily lives to control our first instincts including emotions of rage, sadness and annoyance.
What I also found interesting from our class lecturer’s is that there is no gene for mental health or illness; in addition how much of our happiness is dependent on intentional acts. Which means that everyday there is a new opportunity to increase your own happiness exponentially by deliberately doing acts that make you happy whether its going to the gym, talking to your best friend on the phone for an hour everyday which I usually do to keep myself sane. I think by doing at least one thing to keep ourselves happy everyday we can avoid episodes of depression. Most importantly I think to increase our overall happiness we need to not overthink and just be comfortable with who we are especially our weaknesses or strengths that are harder for us to express naturally.
citation for meme: https://memegenerator.net/contact date accessed: 2/11/2018
These first few weeks of class have been eye opening. I really enjoy how the content builds upon itself, and relates to previous lectures. Being able to personally relate to the content has also been rewarding. The Keyes’ Model of Complete Mental Health set a basis for a lot of the following information we learned in class. I never had thought about categorizing mental health into “languishing” and “flourishing.” Putting mental health on a continuum rather than characterizing it as dualistic allows for a better understanding that there can be both the absence of mental illness and the presence of “flourishing” as well. This first lecture set the stage for the introduction of genetic influences on behavior. We learned that genetics play a large role in mental health/illness. One slide outlined this well by showing the percentage to which how heritable different psychiatric disorders are. For example, schizophrenia is seventy to eighty percent heritable. The Keyes’ scale was more of the big picture, while the lecture on genetic influences and genes can be seen as what makes up the Keyes’ scale.
Dr. Sood touched upon depression in teens, and how loneliness, lack of social support, family history, and early childhood trauma or abuse are just some of the factors that can lead to depression. An interesting point was that anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same “biological vulnerability.” The two often go hand in hand, and also can make the other worse. I found this topic to relate to the background of positive psychology. Post WWII, curing mental illness was such a huge focus. After the war, people were constantly dealing with anxiety and depression. In 2000, positive psychology re-focused and returned to its original three-part mission.
I think that the topic on cultivating our strengths was a good last lecture to include in this series of topics. After learning about the genetics behind a lot of things, such as anxiety, depression, and behavior, realizing that we each have our own strengths is kind of empowering. Yes, some of us are predisposed to negative “things,” but regardless, we each have character strengths.
The information that was most surprising to me was that love of learning was a lot of college student’s lowest strength. I just assumed that a majority of people in school would want to learn, and would enjoy learning. Attending college is the time for people to grow and learn so that when they graduate, they are able to succeed in a field they like. One thing I thought about is that the character strengths survey maybe could have worded questions differently to really tailor to what “love of learning” might encompass. A lot of the questions that I could see relating to love of learning were specific. I liked this activity a lot because it made me realize that characteristics don’t all necessarily need to be characterized into positive or negatives. It was a meaningful exercise because it was positive, and allowed me to look at how my strengths were ranked without characterizing anything as a weakness.
The topics of the first four weeks relate to each other in their common purpose to achieve course learning objectives. Readings and lecture material complimented one another in order to instill fundamental working knowledge of the factors related to behavioral and emotional heath and how they contribute to overall wellbeing and mental health.
I found it disappointing (yet not all-together surprising) that “positive psychology” is not a more prominent pillar of psychology research. Before transferring VCU I had all the requirements for a minor in psychology from a small liberal arts school. I’ve taken classes such as “cognitive psychology,” “biological basis of behavior,” “health psychology,” and “evolutionary psychology.” Yet, I had never heard of the Keyes’ model of complete mental health. I did not know, for example, that mental illness and mental health exist as separate entities. My understanding of happiness evolved when I came to realize that mental health is not merely the absence of mental illness.
The material I found most interesting was the lecture on translational science. I have perviously considered making a career of science writing (science journalism) because I think a major shortcoming of the scientific community is the failure to disseminate research findings in a meaningful way. COBE, The Well, and library services all VCU resources that strive to improve students’ performance by integrating health perspectives/knowledge. I think it’s critical that society begins to recognize that mental disorders, such as major depression, are physiological phenomenons similar to diseases.
Adolescence is the age at which many genetic predispositions most commonly emerge. I’m glad to be taking this course as a (super)senior because you can be retrospective of the undergraduate journey and reflect on my personal growth during this period. With age and counseling, I’ve become able to to better cope with/understand my mood states over the years. I’m eager to improve my well-being through the concepts we’re learning in this course..
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Since I enrolled in science of happiness class this semester, I have gained a lot of knowledge regarding mental health and mental illness, genetic influences, depression and anxiety, positive psychology, and strengths and virtues. In Keyes’ model, we learned that absence of mental health, which is also called “languishing in life’ is as bad as major depressive episode. When I completed the Keyes flourishing scale, I found out that my categorical result was flourishing. Flourishing means a person has positive affect, avowed quality of life, self-acceptance, personal growth, and positive relation with others. Genetic influences on adolescent behavior, particularly also show marked changes across this developmental period. Therefore, adolescence can be languishing, flourishing or moderately mentally healthy during the developmental period. I was particularly interested in the depression and anxiety lecture because I have been studying about it since last semester, but every time I listen to new lectures I tend to find new information regarding it. If we want to help our friends or family who have depression then, we should listen to them, show empathy or concern so that they don’t feel alone. I was surprised when I learned that positive psychology was introduced in the year 2000, which means there are ongoing research and studies about it. Positive psychology helps us identify our strengths and motivates us make the most of our life.
In these first four weeks since taking this class, my perspective regarding psychology has changed completely. I am interested to learn more about the positive psychology and how I can improve my daily routines. Our weekly assignments have been helping me a lot regarding my daily life basis and how I can be economical with my time as well as enjoy my daily activities. After taking VIA strength survey my views about myself have changed because one of my top strengths was kindness; which means I have ethical characteristics and a concern for others. I also learned about PERMA and how it increases our wellbeing and helps us live flourishingly. I was engrossed by the twin studies and found out that genetics has a vital role in our happiness that is almost 50%. But we can improve our mental health everyday by exercising, performing yoga, meditation and keeping ourselves active. I am very excited for this semester as we will be doing more group activities and learning more about positive psychology.
I signed up for SoH course this semester so I can develop a better understanding of how and why happiness in humans and animals works. So far, the course is really interesting. One of my favorite topics we have discussed so far was on anxiety and panic attacks. I was first introduced to anxiety and panic attacks when my mother began suffering from them. In 2012, my family and I were going through financial times and my mother was extremely stressed out and overwhelmed. Because of this, my mother was required to take medication in addition to her high blood pressure medication, which she had been taking before I was born. The first time I seen my mother have one of her many episodes was when she was getting her hair washed in a salon. When she was in the process of laying her head back, she began to panic and wanted to be removed from the sink. I have never seen fear in my mother’s eyes before and I could not understand why or what was scaring her. To keep her calm, I had to hold her hand and talk to her as she was getting her hair washed. She was holding my hands extremely tight and telling me to not let her go. Learning more about panic attacks and anxiety from Dr. Sood was well needed. Thought I have been able to help her through it, I enjoy finding ways to improve her health and make her stronger again.
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Just from the first couple weeks of classes I already feel as if I’m getting more out of this class than I expected. Every lecture I learn something new about positive psychology, and I’m able to apply it to various situations throughout my daily life. The topics that we’ve learned so far in class relate to one another really well because they build on top of one another. The information from the previous lecture sets a nice foundation for the new concepts. The lectures and weekly assignments offer a clearer understanding of components that correlate to our behavioral health and then show how they affect our overall mental health.
I’ve taken my fair share of psychology classes in the past, each offering valuable information and new concepts. Surprisingly, the first time I heard of The Keyes’ Model of Complete Mental Health was from this class.
I really enjoyed learning more about automatic thinking/thoughts. I wasn’t aware of all the different types of categories that automatic thoughts can be classified under ( Emotional reasoning, personalization, black & white thinking, etc.) I’ve dealt with the more negative side of automatic thinking due to previous mental issues surrounding depression and anxiety. They started to occur a lot more frequently when I was first diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at the age of nine, and they still follow me around to this day. Our automatic thoughts indicate the way we choose to think and interpret certain situations, which in turn end up having a huge impact on how we choose to feel in that very moment. I really enjoyed learning helpful tips on how I can counteract these thoughts, but I also liked hearing my classmates experiences and how they choose to deal with their thoughts.
The first four weeks of this course has been quite rewarding. After reading about the science of happiness course, I was very excited to learn about what it mean to have good mental health, as well as how to obtain and maintain it. In such a short span of time I have already become aware of many mental health related topics that I was not previously aware of and quite contrary to what I believed good mental health to be. Prior to receiving information from this course I believed that good mental health consisted of the absence of mental illness and mainly described individuals who predominantly experienced happiness. I’ve now come to the understanding that good mental health is not simply the absence of mental illness, but rather how positive one feels about themselves, their relationships, and how they deal with the difficulties that may arise in their lives. This course has also given me very useful information in regards to the detection and treatment of depression and anxiety for myself and even my love ones.
Along with helpful information, this course has provided me with resources and activities, such as the keyes’ model and VIA assessment, to allow me to further learn about myself and my mental health. It was fairly refreshing to see the long list of strengths and qualities that I possess, considering how easy it is for me to focus on weaknesses. Lastly, of the many topics and activities covered in this course thus far, my favorite would have to be the significant impact that positive psychology has on improving mental health. Throughout my life, my mother has always stressed to me how my thoughts will eventually result in my actions. Being that I am not the most optimistic person, this presented a big problem for me, even though I did not pay much attention to it. However, after watching the “happy secret to better work” TED talk by Shawn Achor, and hearing his scientific observations , I’ve come to realize how true that concept is and accurate my mother has been. Furthermore, this video has inspired me to improve my way of thinking by completing his suggested to-do-list for positive thinking, such as acts of kindness, meditating, etc.
So far I am very content with the content that is being provided through this course and I look forward to learning much more!
Thank you and I’m trying to learn how to reply back to your post
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ashauntae2019 wrote a new post, A’Shauntae Blog Post 1, on the site Blog post Determination of the character traits from the VIA Classification Survey including that the strength be morally valued in its own […]
My first few weeks of “UNIV 391: The Science of Happiness” have exceeded my expectations for the course. This is not to say that I had low expectations for the course; on the contrary, I entered this course with a great deal of optimism and curiosity. What could a course on “The Science of Happiness” really be about? Shorty after the first class meetings, I found my interest in the course reaffirmed. There have already been several topics that have both drawn new interest and helped me to make connections with other facets of my life.
Such a connection was made early in the course when we were presented with information about how much we are effected by our genetic makeup, in contrast to our environment. As an assignment we were to compose a family tree of a specific trait or characteristic and trace it back through generations. It was interesting for me to find how common, or uncommon, a specific trait was among my family; as well as to try to figure out whether it was because of genetics, environment, or other factors. This was insightful for me, as I found that there was a unique yet indistinguishable pattern running in my family, of which I am a sort of “beneficiary”. I believe that another valuable connection was made while reviewing both positive psychology and character traits. I was able to perhaps step back and, in a kind of out-of-body way, assess myself and deepen my understanding of why I may take certain actions.
I could also make connections in the presented material itself. I could see a direct relationship between the positive psychology practices (PERMA) and how they could be used to aid depression. Also valuable to me was the information on depression itself. I was surprised at the different classifications, which I then used in reflection of certain patterns in both myself and my family. During this reflection, I reminded myself of the concept of nature vs. nurture, which caused me to find slight conflict. I questioned whether the experiences of my family, which had depression-like effects, could have possibly been a result of being reared (nurtured) in a way as to depress emotions or feelings (a direct effect from the environment). Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to the rest of the semester and the developments that I will make while applying the information to myself and those around me.
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In the first six weeks of class we learned a lot of helpful things that can help us with trying to live our best lives. When I took the Keyes’ Flourishing Scale test, I found out that I was flourishing which was an eye opener for me because to be honest I felt like I was more so languishing. The model helped me see that I am doing more than just going along in life without a real purpose; I matter. This also relates to what we learned recently about ways to use our strengths and knowing that there is no such thing as weaknesses, only strengths that we do not use as much. That was new and surprising to me. Taking the VIA survey was really cool and I was shocked to see what my top 5 strengths were.
I always knew that genetics had some influences on behavior, but Dr. Dick confirmed that even more for me. It is kind of scary because alcoholism has had an impact on my family, but most of my family members have recognized that it is a problem and have become “social drinkers” which is a lot better. I stay away from alcohol because it is nasty and I prefer whine Lol. I refuse to let alcoholism become a part of who I am, or will be in the future.
By doing the weekly exercises, I have a learned more about myself than I’ve known in a while. I am starting to use the strategies that I’ve learned in this class to be a happier me! I will live my best life, that’s that Eudemonic happiness!!
Determination of the character traits from the VIA Classification Survey including that the strength be morally valued in its own right and not because of desirable outcomes it may produce. My strengths include […]
In our first few weeks of classes, we have learned a lot. With the Keyes’ Model of Mental Health, we learned that mental health and mental illness are not the same thing. We also learned that it is possible to be both mentally ill and flourishing, which I personally found interesting. I did not know there was a difference between being mentally ill and being mentally unhealthy. It turns out that being mentally ill is actually a disease and an imbalance of your brain, whereas being mentally unhealthy is just a way of being–and you can also cure being mentally unhealthy with exercises such as yoga, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc. I thought that was very interesting.
With this knowledge we then learned about the genetic influences of behavior in the next week with Danielle Dick. In this lesson, we learned the difference between the effects of nurture vs. nature and came to the conclusion that behavior was affected by both nurture AND nature. We found that happiness, depression, anxiety disorders, addiction, etc. all come from a combination of both your genes/genetic predisposition and the environment you live in. I found it interesting and realized in this class that you can be “disposed” toward something and change the likelihood that it will actually happen through environmental changes. That part makes me feel happy that there is a chance for people who have the genes for mental illness can change their outcome of their life through their environment.
That brings me to what I found the most interesting subject we’ve learned throughout these weeks, and that is the mental illness section. In today’s world, I have heard a lot about depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. I have friends and family who have it, and I have lost quite a few people I am close to due to depression and mood disorders. However, I have never experienced these mental illnesses myself, so it has always been confusing to me. I have never understood why people with depression and anxiety are crippled sometimes, and I hate to admit it, but in the past I have been one of those people that thinks “why can’t they just be happy?”. But this section has made me realize that mental illness is not always something you can snap out of. I thought it was interesting to hear about the forms of treatment there are for these illnesses and realized there’s much more than medication to treat these things, like therapy and counseling and ketamine infusion. This section definitely changed the way I think about mental illness now.
Positive psychology was a very cool topic to learn about. I thought the concept of PERMA was intriguing and a organized way to put your positive thoughts together. The P in PERMA stands for positive emotion, the E for engagement, R for relationships, M for meaning, and A for accomplishment. I think that having all of these ideals at hand and using them in your everyday life is a great way to jump start positive thinking.
The section of cultivating our strengths I found to be a great interactive way to reinforce confidence and moral in the class. I thought it was interesting in the way that Professor Walsh said she realized that social work was a “strengths-centered field”, because that;’s what I am realizing about my field (Public Relations)– I am realizing that in addition to being able to sell myself and recognizing my own strengths, I MUST realize my clients strengths and sell those as well. It was kind of a “mind-blown” moment when I realized this. I also think the activity we did on Friday’s class helped us to connect with other classmates in the room and that was super fun and a great way to get to know our classmates and find similarities with people we wouldn’t originally think we would have similarities between.
All of the topics we discussed share the same goal: to find out what impacts our happiness, how to increase our happiness while preventing/working with mental illness. The Keyes’ model of flourishing differs from the other topics because it surveys how mental health and mental illness can affect whether or not we are living life to the fullest (flourishing), bobbing along (experiencing flow) or experiencing little/no happiness (languishing). Lyubomirsky’s model shows how genetics only affects 50% of our happiness and rest is impacted by our intentions and life circumstances. Lyubomirsky’s model is different because it adds the piece about what we can do to aid in the pursuit of our happiness, which is very subjective. Depression, anxiety and mood states can be taken into account when looking at both models. They can serve as perfect examples of how genetics plays a role in how our body responds to them and how each individual reacts or deals with having these illnesses and how their happiness is affected as a result. Positive psychology relates to these topics because it moves past “person is burdened by illness, therefore give them treatment” and instead focuses on how to identify the strengths of the individual, then use those strengths to help the person thrive, regardless of any preexisting conditions. The next step is to use those strengths in everyday life to maximize happiness in the short term and the long term to ultimately create a meaningful life.
On the scale of “not surprised” to “WHOA!”, I would say very close to not surprised by any of these topics. All I could think was why all this research had the background of mental illness like PTSD, anxiety and depression, yet NO WHERE did these scientists and psychologists talk about how race impacts the prevalence of illness and happiness. Granted, people of color are still disenfranchised today, yet all of these studies are fairly recent. Keyes model is from 2002, Seligman has been publishing on positive psychology since the 90s, and Lyubomirsky’s model was presented in the 2000s. I find this disappointing and to put it mildly –lacking, so instead of blogging about the absence of this pertinent information, I decided to explore studies that looked at race as a factor. A book I found compiled several studies that explored different races and measured different characteristics that encouraged happiness and a meaningful life. One article I read looked at Hispanic and Latino communities. The characteristic that stood out to me was family-oriented values how it related to religiosity/spirituality. Family relations are paramount and there is a collectivist mindset that teaches that the needs of the family as a whole precede the individual’s needs and they found that these family oriented values were positively associated with higher self-esteem, well-being, life purpose, life satisfaction and happiness.Religiosity is an example of a culture specific strength. “Religiosity” is universal in that those who participate have a belief in a higher power. Pargament found that compared to non-hispanic whites, African Americans and Hispanics that said religion was integrated into their life on a regular basis tended to have lower rates of psychological distress. Jeglic et. al pointed out that even if there is a universal set of positive characteristics that exists across cultures, these characteristics can and do manifest themselves differently and mean different things depending on the culture and the context.
The new information I learned is more helpful because it looked at how happiness is defined and measured within different cultures. It provided more context and shared more than just the dominant white, middle to upper class person’s perspective, their community values, and family structure. There is nothing universal about how happiness in defined cross-culturally. Overall, the topics covered have also been useful as a reminder for me to check in with myself. For example, if I cannot focus, I take a second to figure out why. Am I hungry, angry, lonely or tired? Based off of my answer, I can come up with solutions. So if I’m hungry, I will go eat. The last thing I want to do is get hangry and take it out on an innocent bystander!
Chang, Edward C. (Ed); Downey, Christina A. (Ed); Hirsch, Jameson K. (Ed); Lin, Natalie J. (Ed). (2016). Positive psychology in racial and ethnic groups: Theory, research, and practice. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. xiii 339 pp., http://dx.doi.org.proxy.library.vcu.edu/10.1037/14799-000
The last few weeks of this course were spent mostly focused on our final projects, which were supposed to challenge us and force us to reflect back on all the topics we’ve covered in this class. I’ll admit, when this project was first introduced I was not too fond of it; a group project where the instructions were basically “do anything that relates to this class”. However, my opinion of the projects drastically changed when groups began presenting and explaining theirs. It was inspiring to see all the creativity and innovation that had gone into what some groups did. It also got me feeling a little sentimental about the end of this course as groups mentioned past lectures and why they chose the topic that they did. While the topics ranged from mindfulness to substance abuse the projects themselves were similar because they all tried to spread a little bit of this class out across campus and Richmond.
Watching the presentations gave me a chance to reflect back on the class and everything I’m taking away from it. I know I am a more self-aware and positive person because of this course. Everything around us contributes to our overall wellbeing and then in turn our behaviors and attitudes effects the wellbeing of those we interact with. Just one small act of kindness or one compliment causes a ripple effect that can spread across a campus, city, and even the world. It’s this attitude that Science of Happiness has taught me and I am so grateful for it.
Throughout the entire semester in this class we have learned the Science of Happiness , and all of it’s benefits and how happiness is the best medicine for many if not most of the problems we face. From defining the science of happiness to academic well being we have learned how to be happy and many ways to promote and foster happiness to those around us. Each lecture , reading and assignment were thought out in a way that allowed each of them to be placed a top each other like building blocks , for example the we learned about our strengths and virtues , depression and mood states then anxiety disorders. Each of those topics reinforced the other , which was the trend throughout the entire class. Learning our strengths and virtues allowed to be able to combat the horrors that come with depression and anxiety disorders.
The major lessons that I learned from this class was mindfulness and how to present in the current moment , and to not stress about the problems that we may ensue down the road. Taking mindfulness and practicing it daily has helped me out personally , because I suffered with anxiety and all of it’s symptoms and it was hard for me to not worry or stress about the problems in the future until I began to implement mindfulness into my routine daily. With each mindfulness exercise we did in class I gained more and more happiness , to me it was something very tiny and simple but , It gave me something gave me something so grand and that my happiness and I am to live with it daily.
Each topic discussed in class was a tremendous help to and even those whom I shared it with. Every topic was vital and applicable to ones everyday life. The two that I gravitated towards the most were positive psychology and mindfulness. With my deeper knowledge and understanding of both of them I have reaped so many of the benefits , and apply the skills needed to use them to my daily life. In school and in work I practice positive psychology and no matter what I may be facing I try to remain positive. With the stressors that ensue with work and school mindfulness exercises and positive thinking really help me stay grounded and also keep my happiness.
I brought each of these important factors into my life that promote and foster happiness , by simply adjusting my attitude and way of thinking which could and sometimes still can be very pessimistic. With the change from pessimism to more positivity I have seen the change for the better in my mood and over all well being. I plan to share this with others , so they to can experience more happiness. That will also help this whole way of thinking grow among other people. Though I have been practicing this for a while it has still been I problem for me to stop stressing , and it is something I must work on and find something combat the best. Simply because it hinders me from my happiness and my success.
All of friends , family and followers have enjoyed every social media post that I have posted and they have personally seen the change in me. Knowing that the break is coming they are excited for me to share the knowledge that I know about the science of happiness with them , so they can implement the things they have read about via my social media in action in their own lives. I have also passed many of the things have learned on to my friends and they to have shared the skill and techniques. Soon all will that happiness is the best medicine.
This semester of science of happiness has definitely shown me a lot and taught me more about myself. The topics we covered this semester were: Genetics and Happiness, Positive Psychology, Strengths, depression and mood states, Romantic Relationships, mindfulness, Getting to know yourself, positive emotions and positive interventions, Social and Emotional Learning, Academic and Career Wellbeing, Physical well-being, and Positive Identity. The major ones that stick out to me the most, were romantic relationships and Social and Emotional learning. I could relate to these from a personal aspect which made for a better understanding of the material to me. I will commit to practicing keeping a healthy relationship with my family members and my significant other. I will commit to my social and emotional learning by controlling my stress level and emotional levels. I plan to share this information across my social media page, talk about it to my family, and practice mindful games to help control my emotions. While this post is very short, I feel I covered my thoughts a most meaningful subjects well.I enjoyed getting to experience a different type of class this semester and learning about different topics.
This semester was my first as a college student, its been a very rough time and I’ve had a lot of learning to do and I’ve had a lot to adjust to as well. I’ve never lived away from my parents, and I’ve never had to share a room until now. Taking the Science of Happiness course here at VCU I think has actually really helped the adjustment and has made it a smoother transition for me. Learning about ways to deal with stress and incorporating that into my strengths has been an invaluable tool for me so far.
I’ve had to deal with some very difficult personal matters this semester such as my dog dying and my sister’s lifelong friend dying of an overdose. Those situations hit me really hard and seemingly made everything difficult for me to keep going but Mrs Walsh and the rest of the staff were really able to help me out and gave me a lot of advice to help get over these obstacles.
Being able to go out in the community that raised me was also something special, through this class I was able to go to Binford Middle School to present to a class there with my group which was very cool to me. I feel like we were really able to pass on a good amount of the knowledge that we learned in this course to a classroom of much younger individuals which should only benefit their understanding of that material for the future as well as our own because teaching is one of the best ways of learning something.
To conclude I would just like to say thank you to everyone involved with this class. From the staff, all the way to my fellow peers taking this class. For many of us our college journey is just beginning and I believe that this class has put us on a strong start to it. Good with finals everyone.
This whole semester of Science of Happiness has taught me a lot of how to take care of myself mentally and one of the first lessons I learned was that the absence of mental illness does not mean you have good mental health. The way you treat you mind should be respected in the same manner as one does with their body. I also enjoyed the presentation of finding our strengths through the VIA strength test and turning it into a way to help reach goals and helping others. I actually think this presentation will stay with me for a long time as when this information was being presented, what stuck in my head was a study of three groups and how the group that focused on working on their weakness found to be happier than those working on their strengths.These strengths can also be connected with social emotional learning. The readings and presentations of social emotional learning made me aware of how the education system is lacking classes that can help us tap into our strengths and also develop skills for the the workplace. The exercise we did in class on what you look for in a job also made me prioritize on what I want in job in the future. I also liked learning that science that comes with clinical depression and how scientist are figuring out what in the brain is making people develop this mental disease. In the weekly reading covering depression, psychologist Oliver James leans towards culture on being a factor for the rise of depression over the past thirty years. I became aware of how affluenza and our incapacity to reach our materialistic desires could lead us to believe that we are incapable of being happy without having everything we want.This could affect working and middle class who work all day and do not have the time to treat themselves and practice mental self care. Many believe relaxation and meditation can’t be part of their busy schedule. What this class has taught me is that it only takes five minutes of concentrated breathing in order to be in the moment and not to focus on the past and future. A topic that was most meaningful to me was the presentation on grit. I felt like it was relatable for me and how I view most things. I like to have long term goals and being able to achieve them. I have been taught perseverance and commitment from my family and I have always been one to love challenges. This presentation helped me see how other students use their grit to their advantage and how it all involves positive and realistic thinking.
I plan to use the knowledge I gained from Science of Happiness into my professional life by working on my job skills in order to maintain a happy working environment and spreading mindfulness to other co workers. This also includes taking five or ten minute breaks every two to three hours to either meditate or walk around. In my personal life, I am trying to incorporate yoga into my schedule in order to take away some stress of tests and homework to be in the present. I have already started to color and take small naps in order to free my head. I am also starting to do more random acts of kindness in order to make someone’s day. I think I need more help with forgiveness and that will probably be a long process. I can continue to share more information of positive psychology by continuing to share articles on Facebook and spreading the word about events happening in VCU about Science of Happiness and COBE through Snapchat.
I chose this picture because it shows how easy it is to change your life from a negative aspect to a positive point of view.It all starts with your mind and how you view things.
It is a cloudless night at the Netherwood Quarry and I am situated on a smooth rock facing the James river. It is 41 degrees Fahrenheit. My observations are feeding off the light from the highway and faintest moonlight. All around me there is an infinite amount of lifeless trees. The brown crispy leaves are barely hanging on to the trees but I find great beauty in that. As I am looking out toward the water I observe that it is gently flowing East and it sounds like trickling water from a house pipe. I notice that the rocks are in a distinct pattern spread out across the river. Most of them have a smooth round top, while a few of them have a rigid flat top. If you got far enough in the middle of the river you could hop from rock to rock. Meanwhile I can hear crickets chirping from afar. I admire the secretive serenity this place has offered me.
Exploring the Netherwood Quarry
Date visited: December 2nd,2017
I could smell the fresh winter air unlike the smell of the city. On this exploration I am focused on the journey to the Netherwood Quarry. I parked in the designated parking area and walked toward the spiraling stairs to my left. It reminded me of the metro parking garage stairs from back home. As I was walking down the longest flight of steps I ran into three families, all asking me to take photos of them. It was a great spot because the scenery in the background had numerous types of trees and the train track right below. After descending the stairs I followed the train track for a few minutes. I came across an old memorial rock and saw a trail that I hopped on. I could hear trickling water getting closer and closer. I climbed up unstable stairs and saw a mini creek. The water flowed in the east direction and I hopped over a few rocks to pass. I could hear three different birds chirping: a low chirp, high pitched short chirp, and one with a long monotoned chirp. I kept along the narrow trail for about six more minutes and finally found the quarry. Looking out toward the water, I could hear the horns of car traffic to my left and the city to my right. It was still quiet and peaceful.
Science of Happiness was a class that was defiantly unexpected. I did not realize the amount of knowledge I would learn would somehow benefit to my mind in ways to help me deal with relationships, family, stress and much more. Each lecture taught in class all somehow connected to mindfulness, which is being aware of the present. It helped teach us how to just take time to breathe and think about the positive in each situation. Whether it was about learning that forgiving someone can help with positive psychology or that working in an environment you love can keep you happy and keep your mind flourishing. Practicing mindfulness in class taught us that by being overwhelmed over a situation will not benefit us but keep us in another state and away from the actual. This can defiantly be applied to students as right now, everyone is preparing for finals and can begin feeling overwhelmed. By practicing mindfulness and taking a couple minutes of your day to do something to bring your mind to the present can change your whole mood completely. This class showed us that not only is practicing mindfulness for our selves can keeps us positive but that by doing kind things for others can keep us positive as well. One thing I defiantly will take away from this class is practicing random acts of kindness. To do something kind for somebody and not expecting anything back and seeing their reaction has to be one of the most fulfilling things one receives. It can be by encouraging someone who looks sad or even by posting something cheerful on my own social media that will hopefully make someone smile. I hope that after this class I will continue in practicing mindfulness when I feel overwhelmed and to always make sure that others might be in the same position as me and it would be beneficial to just reach out to them and let them know it’s not the end of the world. I strongly believe this will keep my mind stable and not just jumbled up. I’ll also make sure to let them know some of the things that this class has taught me and let them know that it actually is useful, you just have to give it a chance.
The image I chose that best summarizes everything I have learned is a smiley face because everything we have come across has provided us with insight on how to be in the present and then being able to change our mood to a more positive one.
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.
This image has summed up my thoughts about the whole year because of the vibrant colors and peaceful meaning. The flowers have flourished which creates a beautiful scenery for the whole photo. This is a symbol to people flourishing in life, when we all maintain our well being it creates a positive and peaceful atmosphere for everyone.
Some of the major lessons i learned throughout this year is how to flourish in life. Regulating emotions, using your strengths, having goals, practicing mindfulness, eating right and exercising are just a few topics that can help you flourish. The most meaningful topic for me was the importance of emotions. I felt like I’ve been more sensitive compared to the people I’ve been around. This was a major obstacle that i thought could be fixed by not having emotions. The presenter stated that “you cant stop your feelings but you can manage your thoughts and behaviors”; which stuck with me because i realized that my feelings weren’t the problem it was my thoughts in response to those feelings.
Some things i’m going to change in order to flourish in life is exercising more. The presenter spoke about the stages of change which was what i was in the process of doing when it came to working out. During my senior year of high school i set a goal to exercise two times a week. Having homework, being too tired, and not having a gym membership were just a few limitations to reaching goal. At VCU, my limitations weren’t a problem anymore, i had a free gym membership as a student, I had a lot of free time and a lower amount of homework. I Keeping track of when i went to the gym helped me accomplish my goal. i had a consistent workout schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but as of right now i’m on the relapse stage because i recently sprained my ankle. Hopefully in a few weeks I will be back on my schedule of going to the gym twice a week. I need to work on regulating my emotions so that it cant increase my positive experiences and help me cope with my negative ones. Eating right is another thing i need help on in order to flourish. My fast metabolism has reduced my worry in consumption because i don’t gain weight by eating. Although Science of happiness taught me the importance of keeping a food journal and how stress can cause overeating and under.
I plan on sharing this information by word of mouth. Tweeting my knowledge about the things I’ve learned in this class has helped my friends which i would love to continue doing. Many people use social media for a lot of negative purposes so it would be nice to help strangers, my friends, and my family that follow me with their daily lives. It’s benefits people who go through the same thing that you have gone through in the past. Expressing how you conquered it could help someone else who’s going through it right now.
As this class comes to an end, its bittersweet. I am sad the class is ending, but happy with all the lessons I can take with me. Through this class I have learned to stop to enjoy the moment and how to lesson my stress with work and school. We covered a lot in class about cultivating our own happiness to accomplish the perfect dream of having a healthy, successful and happy life. A couple of topics that stood out the most were social emotional learning and positive psychology interventions. All three of these topics hit home, for one I wish that more schools could implement more social emotional learning programs into their curriculum. Children are leaning more than just being creative they are learning simple lesson that will later help them in the long run. I love children and working with children I worked with many ages of children with multiple years of childhood education under my belt. But if I would have known about these programs earlier when I had the privilege to show teacher this they might have been able to fit it in their busy schedules. Second, I have used multiple of these exercises since learning more about them to help with the stress of working two jobs and applying to nursing school. These activities are helping keep me sane through this tough process.
As my career develops I am going to continue to use the meditation, acts of kindness and optimism. With these concepts in mind I will be able to make it through the rough days when a child comes into the emergency department suffering. They will help move past the events that are so traumatizing that you don’t want to remember, but you know you did all you can. I have made many changes in my life since taking this class, such as spending more time with family and cherishing the moments. Taking a few minutes everyday to gather my thought and make to do lists of what I need to do and trying to not stress over paying for school. There are still things that I need to work on like engaging myself more into a social life and try to come out of my shell. I have also focused my mind to more positive thinking so when something negative comes around I am not dweling on it I am thinking of ways that I can change it.
With all the information I have learned through this class, I am planning on showing my friends this information and activities to practice for themselves. Many of these activities I have already shared with family and friends to practice and see if it has the same effect on them as it did with me. Things happen for reason we will never know but we can do somethings. That we can take every moment we can and change it to wear we are less stressed from everyday life and make every moment a cherished one full of memories that are worth remembering. Taking the bad memories like death and changing the way we are thinking to something positive like all the happy moments our loves one gave us.
So take your life by the horns and make it more positive and meaningful!
The most important thing I have learned after sixteen weeks in this course is that I am able to live a successful life as long as I make to the effort to do so. Many of the topics we covered in class centered around cultivating our own happiness in order to achieve a healthy, happy, and successful life. One of the topics that really allowed me to become more aware of myself was when we discussed cultivating character strengths. Taking the VIA Character Strengths survey had an immense affect on my perception of strengths and weaknesses. After taking the survey, it was interesting to see that fairness was my top character strength because fairness never seemed like a strength in my eyes, but through the research done by Karris and Craighead where they had 759 college students take the VIA-IS, I was able to understand my strengths and weaknesses More importantly, taking the VIA Character Strengths survey really showed me where my strengths and weaknesses were and how I could and will continue to cultivate my strengths and improve my weaknesses.
There were definitely many more things we discussed in class, but another topic that stood out was mindfulness. Mindfulness was a common theme we, as class, always seemed to refer back to a lot during discussions and for good reason. I was never introduced to mindfulness before this class, so I was, in manner of speaking, a mindfulness virgin; however, I instantly fell in love with it. Mindfulness has really helped me become more in tune with my surroundings and myself. I have learned to try to be more in the present in everything that I do. Furthermore, many of the mindfulness meditations we did in class have really helped, especially when I had so many things going on. Overall, mindfulness has been a silent savior for my hectic life.
From here on out, I am going to try to make sure meditating becomes a part of my daily routine. I really did notice a difference with my mental state of mind when we did a few meditations in class, and I hope to incorporate it into my daily routine so that one day I will start noticing the differences in my mental and physical health. I am also going to try to live a more active lifestyle. After dancing for almost fourteen years, I haven’t been able to find the right kind of workout that fits for me just yet. Hopefully as I continue to explore, I will be able to live more actively.
Lastly, I plan to continue to spread awareness of the positive psychology through social media. I really loved the idea of the the weekly social media posts, and although I don’t think I will be posting information on positive psychology every week, I want to try and inform as many people as I can about the benefits of positive psychology on a regular basis. I will definitely make sure to share posts from VCU COBE, because they have so many fascinating events and information on their social media pages. I will also make sure to do random acts of kindness more often, because it felt good to see other people happy, even if it was as small as giving them a compliment. I will also talk to my family about how learning about positive psychology has helped me strive to become a more successful and happy individual, and how they can use what I have learned in their lives as well. Overall, I will try play a more active role on social media to inform the millions of people on the internet how directly positive psychology can affect our happiness.
The most important lesson I’ve learn after sixteen weeks in this course is that I am perfectly capable of living the successful life I want to live and achieving the things I want to achieve; however, it is up to me to take what I’ve learned and apply it when I go about the rest of my life. After taking the VIA Institute Character Strength Survey back in September and considering the research from Dr. Alexis Harris and Edward Craighead in the reading assigned that week, I now know how to recognize and emphasize my character strengths, as well as weaknesses that I can continue to try to improve on. I can choose to believe that the people in my life care about me without insecurity getting in the way of maintaining healthy relationships with people that are vital to my overall happiness and productivity as a human being. The Week 10 exercise had a profound effect on me; it was nice knowing that the people in my life actually care about me and like me for specific reasons. Learning how to properly meditate has certainly helped me improve how I cope with the stresses of school, making achieving my goals seem less daunting. The overarching principle that the type of life I would want to live is completely possible and in my hands, I just have to use the tools I have to live a happy and successful life.
From here on out, I will commit to being a more mindful person so I can not only achieve great things but feel great about myself as well. I had already made the decision to commit to living a more active lifestyle when I first started the semester because I knew I feel better physically which would, in turn, relieve some of the stress I would inevitably feel throughout the term. Earlier on in the semester I began to embrace the idea of daily meditation and I really did notice a difference in my overall mental health and level of focus; however, I took a hiatus from my meditations while I was home for a long weekend and just never did it again, so I will definitely plan to implement it back into my life next semester and beyond. I still need to work on strengthening my relationships with other people and not isolating myself.
In order to spread awareness of the benefits of positive psychology among my friends and family by giving them advice when they are stressed. I will try to tell my friends about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness when they are nervous about an upcoming test or project. I will make sure to give genuine compliments and do random acts of kindness for the people in my life so they know I value my relationships with them. I am going to try to have a more positive social media presence so hopefully peers will start to think more positively and we can reverse this negative attitude that seems to be a common theme on social media these days (no more memes about hating our lives even if we’re just joking).
Over the past weeks of this incredibly unique class, I have learned valuable, relatable life lessons such as to be aware of my self, and how to actually care for my mentality. These topics are special because they obviously relate to my real life, which was different from my other courses in which I’m learning the material but sometimes it’s just not as relatable. Smaller topics that I can relate to the bigger picture self-care are topics such as staying physically motivated and also forgiving. These were my two favorite lectures, also making them the most meaningful.
In the immediate future and my professional/student life I will apply the topic of self-care daily; in ways such as checking in with myself, regardless of how busy I get. After gaining the content material of this class, I have tried to meditate more and be more self-aware of my actions. These are definitely still things that I am working on.
Throughout the course, I would always share the content and what I had been learning with my close family and friends. I think the best way to continue sharing all of this with people near me would just to be a positive influence and share things without forcing them into anything.
The major lesson I’ve learned from this semester’s content would be to simply stay positive and have a happy life. The whole meaning of this class is for a person to learn how to cope with life being in a happy state, and without learning the content I have this semester I wouldn’t have had any ideas on being happy. The Science of Happiness classed allowed me to learn in different and more effective ways on the true definition of happiness. The topics that were most meaningful to me would be depression and mood states, and romantic relationships because those are what I focus on more in my daily life and they both have the greatest impact of my happiness. Mood states are very important to me because I do find myself going through different views a lot. Sometimes I can be so happy, and then find one little simple thing wrong and it ruins my whole mood. Also when I have relationship issues it tends to effect my mood greatly. Smaller topics that I can connect for larger insights would be positive psychology, discovering strengths and virtues, and social emotional learning because those all tied together can help create something that a person just might need to be happy in life.
I definitely will keep these insights by my side because if I ever start to feel down or stressed out, I know there are things I can do and think about to help me get myself back on track. Changes that I’ve already made were focusing more on the positive things in life and how far I can go by knowing my successes count greatly towards happiness. I believe one thing I do need to still work on is my thoughts of being able to get things done. I know I can accomplish and get my tasks done, but I sometimes become down about it because I feel I could do better, so I sometimes doubt myself.
How I plan on sharing all of this information after class is over is by telling people you’ve got this. Things happen in everyone’s lives, but allowing these topics from this class will really help others because sometimes a helping hand is needed. If I were to see someone crying about a relationship, or even if I overheard someone speak about how they’re stressed out, I could easily tell them about methods I’ve learned that could possibly help them within their situation; you could never go wrong with a little meditation as a stress reliever.
SOH Fall17, SOH-Fall17
When I was reading the article on promoting and protecting mental health as flourishing from the reading, I learned how to understand that mental health is about flourishing and being happy for yourself. And mental disorder’s is about understanding the health care related problems with our physical health’s. The lecture and our Keyes flourishing scale really inspire me because I am learning more about happiness and to spread happiness around the world.
Week 4 Introduction to positive psychology
When I was reading the article on Journal of consulting and clinical psychology I made changes in my life because I understood why we need forgiveness in our lives. We can live a heathier life if we just forgive each other and move on without anger and bitterness. What I learned from the reading I learned to not think about negative thoughts and feelings. In my mind, we should be focusing on the positive side of things and make a difference in the world to forgive people. When I took the perma survey it was very interesting to learn more about what perma stands for. When Professor Worthington visited the science of happiness class he really changed my outlook on life because his lecture taught me so many interesting facts about life.
Week 5 Focusing on strengths
I made changes in my life about the character strengths because everyone has different character strengths that they view on different perspectives on themselves. When I took the via character strengths there were lots of strengths that I didn’t know about myself so I learned more about who I am.
Week 7,6 Romantic Relationships, Depression and mood states
I made changes in my life about romantic relationships because when I was reading the article on interterdisciplinary research on close relationships the reading really changed my outlook on relationships because it points me in the right direction about how to separate fantasy relationships and love stories and love movies into reality. When I was looking at the lecture on romantic relationships the lecture changed my life about different perspectives on relationships. Dr. Reina changed my life because I really liked taking the daily survey’s because I’m learning more about myself and being who I really am. I also applied depression and mood states in my life. The reading about silver linings for patients with depression really inspired me to learn more about depression and different lifestyles of celebrities. The lecture from week 6 changed my life about different perspectives of how we view ourselves from anxiety disorders.
I made changes in my life about physical wellbeing because when I was reading the article on sleep and other behaviors the reading really inspired me to maintain a healthier life for myself. I really liked our week 13 exercise because I was assigned to move for our homework assignment on week 13. I really liked making journals on how to be healthy. In a lecture, the vcu recsports visited our class for science of happiness. They talked about their program to see if we were interested in their program. And then they advised us about creating a wellness plan and finding time to exercise in our daily life to stay more active during the day. Then the next day for science of happiness we went to the cary street gym for class because we were doing yoga to stay healthy.
I made some changes to my life I can finally commit and to teach the world and the future and beyond to live a healthier life. We should tell the world about these lessons because we can make a difference in the world. By using our voices, we can teach other people about what the science of happiness class is really about.
I need to work on how to be more myself and continuing the activities that I love to do in the community.
I plan to tell the world and everybody what I learned during the science of happiness class. The class really changed my perspective of life. I also plan to share what I learned to my own personal life and on social media too.
I chose these images to create an equation to spice things up.
This class has helped me understand where my stress is coming from and it also helped me find ways to deal with the stress. When the class first started we were taught how to calm down our minds it didn’t register to me at that point how much I would need this when the stress of school will finally get to me. This class also helped me understand that alone time is necessary. The topics positive psychology and mindfulness helped me in this class the most. Positive psychology was meaningful to me because it taught me to forgive but I don’t have to forget. Mindfulness was important to me because it showed me how to control my thoughts and slow down my mind. After the class is over I tend to share more information about mindfulness and how it can help with stress and I want to share more about positive psychology and how it will help you move on. I tend to incorporate this in my personal life in strides by starting with mindfulness to help me get through finals so I can control my thoughts and focus on one thing at a time and then I try to incorporate positive psychology after so I can learn how to stop holding grudges and move on. I’ve started to use mindfulness already when midterms passed and i’m going to continue because it helps.
Throughout the semester being in SOH, I realized how important maintaining one’s own mental health is and the different ways to do it. The biggest thing I learned was mindfulness and all the benefits that come from it. In the week 8 reading, Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review, it talked about how mindfulness contributes to the workplace and improves human function. For example, it can influence attention, cognition, emotion, behavior, and physiology. It can impact performance in the workplace, teams, leadership positions, and relationships. Week 8’s weekly exercise challenged us to write down what went bad or good that week, how we reacted and our automatic thoughts when it happened. It opened my eyes to how I handle bad situations specifically because I would always be irritated and take it out on others which isn’t good at all. It was one of the most impactful exercises because it made me realize something that I can change. Practicing mindfulness has improved the way I handle bad situations which is something i’m happy about. One of the guest lecturer’s, Dr. Sood, talked about depression and mood states. I remembered in class she mentioned how mindfulness can benefit people who suffer from depression. In the week 4 reading, Positive Psychology, it talked about flourishing and what makes life worth living which can also tie into mindfulness. The reason for this is because it focuses on a person’s positive traits, strengths and valued subjective experiences. Another lesson I learned was from Everett Worthington’s lecture on positive psychology and when he talked about how important it is to forgive and how it can improve our health, mental health, relationships and spiritual well being. He mentioned how hard forgiving can be and that no person is amazing at it but we are all capable of it. Besides the readings and exercises, Dr. Sood and Dr. Worthington’s lectures were the most meaningful to me because it has personal relevance to me. Mindfulness is a great way for me to keep myself in the present because I tend to stress myself out very easily which isn’t good for me at all. Worthington’s lecture taught me a valuable lesson on forgiveness, especially self-forgiveness, which impacted me because i’m not the most forgiving person to others and to myself but his lecture did make me realize that it can be done and how much relief you can get from it.
After everything in SOH, I have applied most of what i’ve learned to my daily life. I practice mindfulness by journaling. Something new that i’ve been doing is a group exercise cardio dance class at the gym. It’s a very good stress reliever and a time where I can just relax and work out at the same time. Some changes that I still need to work on making is forgiveness because it’s the hardest out of everything i’ve been doing but it’s not impossible.
I plan on sharing everything I learned with family, friends and fellow students. I’ve already started with the final project. My group decided to do random acts of kindness. So what we did is we painted rocks and put positive/motivational messages on them. We spread them around campus for other students to see and even take home in order to encourage everyone to spread kindness. Besides that I plan on still sharing tweets on mental health and mindfulness etc. on social media so people can learn more on what they can do to improve their mental health and become happier. I’ll also be sharing my experience in the class with family and friends so they can increase their overall well-being as well. I’m happy with everything i’ve learned in this class and I can’t wait to continue sharing everything I know with others.
I chose this picture because it’s what I got from this class. It’s important to be aware of your own thoughts and behavior in order to lead a healthier state of mind. Like the quote states, it’s important to see the good in everything even on a cloudy day.
Based on all of the content taught in class and all of the content in the weekly readings, I’ve learned the importance of maintaining overall happiness and well- being and I’ve learned the complexity of happiness and well- being. First by reading about the study published by Keyes, I was introduced to this idea that well- being is complex. The take-away message from that study was “the absence of mental illness is not the presence of mental health”. As a result when I was introduced to mindfulness, I didn’t understand how mindfulness connects to happiness and well-being. However, I now understand that mindfulness has its place in everything that I do. Specifically, practicing mindful eating allows me to increase my overall well- being by making me more aware of what and why I am eating. Also, practicing mindfulness at work allows me and my co-workers to be able to communicate effectively with one another. Realizing the different ways that mindfulness can be incorporated into my life, I was able fully grasp the complexity of happiness and well- being and how they relate to one another. Happiness and well- being go hand- in- hand. The most meaningful topics for me were anxiety disorders and academic well- being because they are both topics that I have a close relationship with. Anxiety is something that I struggle with and has history in my family. So learning about the different causes and perspectives regarding anxiety opened my mind to different ways to combat anxiety. Additionally, academic well- being was a very meaningful topic for me because most of my anxiety stems from worrying about my academic success. So learning the different skills that enhance academic well- being allowed me to be open minded about adopting some of those skills to make life a little easier for me.
Knowing the complexity of happiness and well- being, I have committed to dedicating time to myself to practice mindfulness frequently. I have also committed to keeping an open mind about the different things that may impact my happiness and overall well- being. One of the exercises that encouraged me to open my mind to these possibilities was the week 10 exercise that required us to ask 3-5 people what they value about us. This exercise opened my mind because I didn’t know just how much those compliments could impact my day. Those compliments are still fresh in my mind today and still impact the way I think about myself and my role in the lives of other people. Since taking this class, I have started working on tracking my feelings. This has been very beneficial especially for managing my responsibilities at school, at work and at home. I have also started to make a conscious decision to spread positivity to others to increase their happiness and well- being. One of the things that I could improve is the tendency to allow disappointments to overwhelm me which causes me to lose sight of the bigger picture. The bigger picture is that everyday is a new chance to be happy and make decisions that contribute to my overall well- being.
After this class is over, I plan to share thoughts that promote mindfulness on my social media. One of the most important things that I want to share on my social media stems from the very first lesson in this class and that is that happiness is complex. It is not just the opposite of sadness. Happiness is based on a plethora of components and should be thought of as being part of a continuum. This is the most important message to spread, because it allows people to understand a little bit more the complexity of happiness and how that relates to their overall well- being. It also gives them a great preview into the other aspects of happiness that they will eventually learn throughout life. By spreading this information, I hope that other people are able to think of new ways to increase happiness, positivity and well- being across the world.
I chose this image to represent what I have learned this semester because it truly embodies the greatest lesson learned in this class. Often times we think of happiness as something to be “achieved” however, happiness is actually a by-product of multiple things and it is different for each person.
Throughout this semester Science of Happiness has opened up my eyes up to how important it is to focus on the positive in life. An example was learning about our strengths through the VIA survey. Finding out that my top strength was perspective allows me now to focus on that and try to use it to my advantage in all areas of life. I also learned that forgiveness is an important part to staying positive because it allows one to move on from past incidents. Another important lesson I learned, and the topic that ended up meaning the most to me was learning about how to take care of ourselves, including our body and our mind. Learning about mindfulness was an example of this self-care that is very interesting to me and something I am still trying to figure out, as well as the days we learned about sleeping, eating, and physical activity. Both the article we had to read and the lecturers that came in both discussed how important these things were to one’s well-being, both physically and mentally. This topic is the most meaningful to me because it is something I have been wanting to focus on a lot lately, because it allows me to control how I feel throughout the day.
I have been trying to get better sleep each night by reading before bed and trying to get to bed earlier to improve my mood for the next day. I have also been trying to eat healthier and go to the gym each day if possible to stay motivated and happy. As for things I need to focus on, I need to focus on looking towards the positive and focusing on my own strengths. I am always stressed and that causes me to go straight to the negative, but if I work on it, I can always change that. Not only would focusing on the good things help me now, but they may help me when I start to get into my career, as I will be able to use these strengths in my everyday tasks.
I plan to share my insights and information by talking to my friends around campus and mentioning the topics we have learned about in class. I will also mention these things to my family to help form better relationships with them. As for social media, every time I post anything I will think about everything I have learned about In Science of Happiness and try to apply what I can. For example, this means making sure my posts are positive before I post them.
I feel like this image definitely captures what Science of Happiness is about. I believe everything we have learned somewhat focuses on positivity. Whether it is forgiveness or our strengths, we should always focus on the good parts of it. Even if we are looking at meditation or exercise, a positive outlook can help someone exceed in either activity.
Although I was happy before The Science of Happiness, this class has taught me how to live a balanced life. What I mean by this is that the mind and body work as one and psychological health is fundamentally linked to your physical health. There is no health without mental health, and I think many people live their lives forgetting about this major component to living a healthy life. In specific, I have learned that positive psychology is solely based off the science behind happiness and what it means to live a worthy life. In week 4’s reading Positive Psychology, it defined psychology as “not just the study of pathology, weakness, and damage; it is also the study of strength and virtue. Treatment is not just fixing what is broken; it is nurturing what is best. Psychology is not just a branch of medicine concerned with illness or health; it is much larger.” This stuck out to me because many people focus on the negative aspects of their lives (I know I did before this class) rather than the positive aspects. To go along with this, in Worthington’s lecture for week 4 he spoke to us about how to acquire virtue and options to forgiveness. He explained that our character strengths allow us to lead virtuous lives based upon our moral standards which is interestingly tied to how forgiving we are and how hard it is to forgive. In week 10 of SOH I learned about positive emotions and interventions, which mainly focused on how to feed off positive qualities. Week 10’s exercise challenged us to ask 3-5 people what they value/appreciate about us and reflect on their responses. This was one of my favorite exercises because it was so uplifting and empowering and made me feel super happy by the end. I started to give positive compliments to my friends. To rewind a bit in week 8 we focused on mindfulness, which the most effective tool I’ve taken away from this class that also ties your psychological well being. In week 8’s reading Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review, they defined mindfulness as a “receptive attention to and awareness of present events and experiences”. I think this has been my biggest take away because it not only important to my individual self, but it is essential to the workplace. This tool has allowed me to indulge in the small things to create a happier life overall. I’m glad we discussed this earlier in the course because it was definitely kept in mind throughout the semester.
Learning the science behind happiness means nothing if I don’t apply it to my daily life. I am going to commit to applying the tools and intuitions in numerous ways. I have started already by practicing random acts of kindness. For my final project we are given the task to spread awareness of what we learned over the semester into the RVA community and my group chose to set up a ‘Compliments with Color’ station at the VCU compass to spread awareness about mindfulness and positive psychology. We had set up a table where people could practice mindfulness by coloring and we gave out candies with compliments attached to them to brighten their day. We found that after they received their compliment and colored they wanted to spread their happiness by giving compliments to others in the community. However, for the future I plan to stick with the random acts of kindness and start doing mini mediation sessions. I plan to do this by downloading an app on my phone that will assist me in different mindfulness exercises to complete once a day. I believe this will decrease my stress levels and negative thoughts. To incorporate the physical well being aspect I am committed to completing 150 minutes of physical exercise throughout the week, including yoga, to improve my body and academic well being. By making these small changes in my life it will help me live a balanced life.
Sharing what I’ve learned through one post is not enough. I plan on spreading what I’ve learned verbally and through social media. I love talking about SOH with my peers, family, and friends and I find myself even happier by the end of the conversation. Beyond verbally connecting these insights with people, I plan on tweeting positive quotes and pictures to brighten up people’s day. I want to do this once a week and even include COBE in some of the tweets. I will also definitely recommend this class to others because everyone could use more happiness in their life. I am sad the science is coming to an end but excited that the happiness goes on!!!
I chose the picture below because I think it is important to live and be fully committed to the ‘now’ which can ultimately change the future.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned from this class is how your mental health is just as important (if not more important) as your physical health. It seems as people are finally starting to see the impacts mental well-being can have on your life. A major tool to achieve mental well-being is mindfulness, which is one of the biggest lessons I have learned in this class. The week 8 reading, Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review, explained how essential mindfulness is. It basically said that mindfulness increases the well-being of every single aspect of your life: attention, cognition, emotion, behavior, and physiology, performance in the workplace, teams, leadership positions, and relationships. When Dr. Warren Brown came into class and spoke (in his very mellow voice I might add) he really showed us all that we need to take more deep breathes and realize what life is all about instead of getting caught up in the hustle of things. He said that “our thoughts tend to run us” and mindfulness tries to reverse that so we run our own thoughts. This has been proven to help in academia and overall happiness! I believe when Dr. Reina came in, he talked to us about the scenario of multitasking while walking. This really hit home with me because it was so true. I do it myself and see it from every student as they are walking to class. He explained a story where someone you know walks by and gives you a friendly wave and a smile but you are too caught up in your own head to notice and little do you know that friendly wave and smile would have made your day. He really stressed what it means to be physically present as well as mentally, and what you could miss out on if you are not mentally present. Dr. Warren Brown and Dr. Reina’s lectures really struck me in this way. These are the most meaningful lessons to me because they seem to apply the most to my life. My life seems to be the craziest roller coaster of ups and downs and new responsibilities flying at me every way. Mindfulness is not only a tool to help me control everything that is on my plate, but it is a tool that will keep me positive throughout the process. It keeps me grounded and my tendency to sweat the small stuff and lose sight of the bigger picture has already started to decline.
The exercise that stuck out to me was the Eat, Move, and Sleep Exercise. I had the sleep portion of the assignment. We were asked to record our sleeping patterns, including: when you were tired, how long it took to fall asleep, what makes sleep easier, barriers to sleep, how much sleep you got and how rested you feel. I noticed I was recording a lot of the same things each night. A big barrier to sleep was me looking at my phone, and a way to make sleep easier was reading before bed. However, I continued to look at my phone and I rarely read before bed. Why is this? I know that scrolling through social media is mind numbing and most of the time I am not reading half of the stuff people say and yet I keep on scrolling. Before I know it, 35 minutes has gone by. I know I enjoy reading a good book and it helps me fall asleep, but I barely read! Physically typing this information into a sleep journal helped me realize that I need to change this bad habit. I am committed to changing this habit, and I am excited to see the effects in the future!
I am going to commit to applying these insights to my life in many ways. I think I have already made a few changes in my life by trying to overall be more of a mindful person, and I can already see the benefits from it. I try to pride myself on taking a few moments each day to slow down and do something I really enjoy as a break from all of the chaos, because this allows me to reset and calm down. I can also see that from what I have learned in this class, I do not take negativity (whether it is feedback or events that happen to me) as hard as I used to. Being mindful has helped me not take things as personally and stress out over things that are very small. I want to work up to sitting down and actually going through a 10 minute mindfulness practice at least once a day because I want to see how large of an impact it can have on my life. In my professional life, I want to do a mindfulness practice before every soccer practice and game in the future. I have heard of a lot of players benefiting from this so I think it is time to try it for myself.
I plan on sharing the information I have learned through this class verbally for the most part. I love talking about the science of happiness to my family, friends, and teammates. I am also going to recommend this class to my teammates in hopes that one of them takes it! For our final project, we shared what we learned about mindfulness to a local middle school class, and that was a lot of fun. I think they learned a few things, and spreading the word about something that can make everyone happier actually made me happier too! I also plan to post more quotes and pictures about being happy and mental health in hopes that people that see it will smile and/or look into mental well-being more.
This semester has been way more than I expected in this Science of Happiness class. I understood that Ms. Walsh did not want this class to stress us out and for the first time a class has not stressed me out. The first major lesson I learned is that when we learn something new especially something that can make you a better person, that these lessons are not meant to be kept a secret. We should go out in the community and share these with our peers. Going back in the year we started off talking about Keyes model of complete mental health. In this lecture, we learned about flourishing. Flourishing is how good we feel about our lives and how well were functioning in our lives socially and mentally. This directly connects with our final projects. One group decided to do a #compliemntswithcolor project where they had us do a survey on how our current mood is and gave us compliments. After they gave me my compliment, they asked me how it made me feel. My compliment stated, “you are gorgeous and that’s the least interesting thing about you too”. This made my stress about getting my work done in the library take a back seat and brought me to the current moment where I’m aware of how I feel about my life. They did an outstanding job reinforcing Keyes model. Along with this, topics like discovering our strengths and virtues and personality traits are perfect for us to go back in the community and educate others. Others can learn from us if we help ourselves as well. Topics like depression and mood states allow us to look at ourselves and make a change. I noticed that my mood sometimes defined how my day was going to go and ultimately affected the ones around me. The lecture allowed me to regroup and adjust my mood accordingly. This leads me to also say that depression and mood states was the most meaningful topic for me because I was able to make a change within and I honestly wouldn’t have noticed my mood states and how they affect my life if I didn’t take this class. That may sound like a far stretch but it’s true. In the immediate future and beyond, I will look at things in a more positive way. One of the final project groups had a presentation where they asked the class to turn a negative statement into a positive one. This is going to be great tool for me to use because when I am beating my self up and feeling helpless, I will look at my attitude and perspective and change it to be positive. The main change I’ve mad was being more aware of the fact that mind, body and spirit all overlap. Having bad thoughts (mind) affects my body and having a great spirit affects my mind in a good way. I can definitely continue to work on my problem solving. I learned in SOH, that it’s important to find out what each party wants and in order to do that I have to listen and not try to over power the argument. I plan on sharing the information I’ve learned and insight I’ve gained after class is over by encouraging someone who is speaking negative, to turn it into something positive. Hopefully, this exercise can stick in their mind so they can continue to spread this as well. The image I chose is basically a representation of me leaving this class and mixing with my peers. The blue smiley faces represent the people who haven’t token this class and I am the yellow smiley face. I am hopefully going to turn the blue ones into yellow ones in the future by sharing my insight from this Science of Happiness class. Thank you Ms. Walsh for a great semester.
In the past four weeks, we have covered a variety of information about different ways that we can implement ways to make ourselves happy in life. The most important things in our lives: intimate relationships, work, and overall health and well- being all have to do with the science of happiness. These topics are related in that they addressed ways to predict behavior based on emotional development. The only difference is that, when we were discussing mindfulness at work and the effects of positive emotions in positive psychology, we were focusing on adults. When discussing substance use, personality and romantic relationships, we were focusing on child development over a period of time.
The information covered in the entire class up until this point are all related to being mindful and accepting/ dealing with problems to avoid allowing your problems to consume your life. These readings and lectures all come back to the same general concept: we all have problems and misfortunes, so to deal with them effectively, we must be mindful of them. Acknowledge them for what they are and take a second to be in the moment. Even the topics that focus on development, such as Romantic Relationships and the SURPS, show us that though we may be susceptible to things like romantic incompetence and addiction, we can counteract those issues by taking things one day at a time and acknowledging the things in our up- bringing and development that make us susceptible to these things. So, in order to understand the topics from week 7-10, it is important to understand the key concept of the entire class material: mindfulness.
I have learned that life is what you make it. Being a college student, pursuing a difficult career, I am sure to feel overwhelmed at some point. However, if I practice mindfulness in every situation, I can maintain a balance and ultimately manage my stress more effectively. I’ve also gained insight on why certain members of my family have anxiety disorders and other disorders that stem from a mismanagement of stress. Mindfulness isn’t emphasized as much as it should be at jobs, hospitals, schools etc. With a better understanding of what it means to be mindful, I believe members of my family and even myself, can lessen the likelihood that we will suffer from anxiety disorders and hypertension.
Since this class, I have started to meditate daily to be able to acknowledge my overwhelming course and work load so that I can be effective in tackling those to-dos. Meditating at least once a week clears my mind of clutter so that I can focus and make every action purposeful. I was inspired by the video about the veteran who lost his ability to walk and regained it by acknowledging his disability, practicing mindfulness, and being purposeful about the necessary actions he had to take to push past his disability. That video inspired me because not only did he gain his ability to walk again, he also gained a way to effectively manage his stress.
This image represents the different thoughts that run through our head during decision making that either impacts the impulsive decisions we make everyday.
For weeks seven through ten we in the science of happiness class embarked on a huge journey through learning wonderful topics that all flow and correlate with each other. We first began with talking about depression and mood states , and how each different situations we face in life can and will foster mood changes. The larger problems come when you allow those mood changes to go along without being addressed and that consistent mood becomes depression. Then our focused turned to anxiety disorders , and we began to think on the things that we worry about on a daily basis. A correlation was shown that poor states or mood and depression and all of their effects can lead to anxiety disorders. which is like a building block affect.
Our discussion on romantic relationships brought forth a new ideology to my life. We learned why relationships ( romantic) play a role in our happiness. Then we found that the most successful relationships we knew of practiced or tried their best to practiced better states of mood , which would allow them to achieve competence. which plays a key role in having a successful romantic relationship.
The last topic we talked about really pulled all of the other topics together , because it shows you your personality types and what type of person you are , ad what traits you lack or have a strong presence of .With that knowledge of who you are as a person you are able to asses yourself and see what mood states you have , see if we had characteristics or traits that are linked to depression , and analyze ourselves lives and see what we worry about and if we are extremely anxious. Most of all we were able to see if our personality traits we posses would or wouldn’t be viable to a strong and prosperous romantic relationship.
Having more knowledge on our strengths and weaknesses and positive psychology we are able to make much better connections to the material that we learned from weeks seven through ten. It also caused me to become more mindful of the topics and how to implement them to my everyday life. Basically what I have learned from these few weeks were the materials to be happy and to promote happiness to those around me effectively. I have also learned that no matter the test or trial I may be enduring , I have to think positively I try daily to imply positive thinking into to my day, which was hard at first and has become easier and the days have become more happier. which in turn I don’t stress as much or worry as much as I did before I cut out negative thinking , hence the picture in the beginning of the post.
These past five weeks have taught me many things in regards to maintaining my wellbeing. In week 7 I learned the patterns of relationships thoughts, feelings and actions is common in connecting early experiences with caregivers to later experiences with peers and eventually romantic partners in adulthood. Week 8 focused on meditation, which influences our awareness and attention. Addiction was the main focus of week 9. The article spoke about cognitive control, reward systems, and the brains stress response circuits in substance use behaviors. Week 10 focused on the impact of positive emotions. The broaden build theory suggests that positive emotions come and go but they have long lasting consequences. In week 11 spoke about social emotional learning. All of these topics, in their own way, help to improve wellbeing.
I learned that my past relationships growing up will affect my future relationships. For example, when I’m upset with something my mom does she immediately tries to fix it. I would expect my significant other to do the same because I was used to someone doing that. The topic also spoke about partner idealization which is when you see your significant other in a better light than they do. I didn’t know there was a name for it, but my boyfriend loves to compliment me on a bad hair day, so I can connect with this on so many levels.
For meditation, the guest speaker said “to let your experience be what it is”; I tried meditating with the expectation of living a stress free life and that is probably why I hadn’t received the results I wanted. Ever since, my thoughts on mediation have changed, I am now more patient with people and the things that used to irritate me don’t anymore. I also have a better sense of mind when making decisions for myself. This ultimately made me happier in life with myself and my interactions with other people.
My highest score on the week 9 exercise was anorexia sensitivity, which made a lot of sense. I liked how the guest speaker presented a list of ways to not let one of the four traits affect us when it comes to substance abuse. This is important to many college students who experiment with drugs or alcohol. Personally I have no experience with drugs or alcohol but it’s nice to know about ways so I don’t affect my wellbeing in a negative way.
The unit about positive emotions didn’t teach me anything new. I already knew that if you think positive then you’ll be in a happy mood as well as thinking negative and being sad. The exercise was refreshing but it was awkward asking people for compliments. Although it did make me feel good hearing those comments that day. Thus, I will try to compliment someone at least once a day. This topic is the main reason for my photo, I also believe that this ties in all the topics. When I’m in a sad mood it’s mostly because I’m over thinking a lot and its mostly pessimistic thoughts. That contributes to how I’m interacting with others, which would mean if I’m sad my energy would be down.
I liked the last unit on social emotional learning because it helped others know that they have certain skills in this world that other don’t. This exercise demonstrates that we all matter and that our wellbeing matter to everyone no matter what we may think sometimes. All in all, the units for the past 10 weeks has given me new ways to preserve my happiness.
In weeks seven through ten of Science of Happiness we primarily addressed mindfulness, romantic relationships, personality traits/predispositions, and positive psychology interventions. Part of our mindfulness training included three daily surveys administered not only for data collection, but to increase our own individual connection with our emotions and our state of wellbeing throughout the day. This built off of our mindfulness studies done at the beginning of the semester by taking the science and forcing us to incorporate it not only into our academic schedule, but our daily lives.
I found the speaker on romantic relationships incredibly interesting. In my life I already feel that the long term relationship I am in now has been a turning point for me. It has catalyzed and required a whole new level of personal growth. I’ve become more trusting, honest, and optimistic because this wonderful person has given me the motivation and encouragement to. The fact that science backs up this personal phenomenon is truly heartening and gives me faith that no matter what I am better off for having put in the work it takes to become a part of a functional, healthy relationship.
The SURPS assessment ties into the lesson on relationships for me as well. I know that before my relationship started I would have likely been given much higher risk scores and been a less cautious person, but having someone constantly reinforcing my self esteem and who cares a great deal what happens to me has made me care more about myself and what happens to me.
I think that the positive psychology interventions are something I will carry into my daily practices and strive to do more of. As someone who has had depression for most of my adolescent life, I have definitely developed my own tactics for fighting it, one of those being to (if I can) get up and do something that makes me feel happy or productive. Knowing that that is a part of positive psychology will only make me more likely to pursue happy activities at times when I need a little intervention.
Since the last post, In class we have spent time learning about and discussing romantic relationships, more personality traits and substances that certain people could be prone to and Social and Emotional learning programs and how they work, as well as going deeper into the concept of positive psychology.
The romantic relationships unit did not exactly click with me because at the time I was going through some personal issues at home and it was impacting my ability to listen and be in the present situation at the time. Learning about the different personality traits and how certain types of people can be linked with certain substances was interesting to me and made a lot of sense to me once it was explained and everything.
The unit that I was easily most interested in was the Social and Emotional learning programs unit. This unit talked about these different programs that have been created and tested out in struggling school systems and we were able to see the results and the impact that they have had on the systems as well. The reason why this was so important to me is because I am a product of Richmond Public Schools which is a struggling school system that stems from a whole variety of problems. In high school I actually was part of a movement to raise awareness about our system and to help bring positive change to it. I believe that if more Social and Emotional learning programs were created and set up in the city, I believe that it may not have a great short term result all across the system due to middle and high school students being more unlikely to participate in them, but I believe that they could have a great long term impact if they are started early on and built from the elementary school kids. So I’ve actually reached out to some of my high school teachers and other members of this movement and have stated this idea and I plan on educating these people about these programs to hopefully create some in the city.
Since the last blog post, I have actually started to practice mindfulness exercises outside of the classroom in times of stress and as a way to help me get through certain classes. So far it has had a positive impact on me and it is something that is making me start to want to do it more often now.
The past couple of weeks the class has been talking about Social and Emotional Learning, mindfulness, and how we can help others in their time of social stress. I feel these topics I was able to connect to more on a personal level than some of the others. It has been an emotional year for me and so where I stand with my learning in that is, I have found out more about me than I ever knew before. So far this year, emotionally, I lost my beloved cat that I have grown up with since I was a youngster, I closed out my 4 years of high-school with friends, teachers, and Graduation, I moved into a residence hall away from the comfort of my own home and surroundings (love being here though) and just the adjustment to college or more responsibility and handling of a lifestyle where it is mostly on me. While I have loved and been waiting for those milestones to come, it does take an emotional toll of me sometimes. Thankfully though, I am able to do YOGA more often now, be a part of the Swim Club, and enjoy being with new friends. Those to me have helped me the most in a mindfulness way of balancing out my emotional pulls. I have also enjoyed learning about how the mind works in ways of social and emotional learning. I feel it is important for all of us to find ways of releasing our frustration and emotional pulls and tugs since it isn’t healthy for your mind and spirit to have that bottled up inside. (https://www.washoeschools.net/Page/4641)
Weeks 7-10 showed many similarities when it comes to getting to know yourself and how to apply that to relationships. It was helpful information because you need to know how to grow as you step into a new phase in your life. The last four weeks we learned about know ourselves and how certain personality traits could incline a person to certain substance use. We learned how to intervene on impulsive and instead work positive psychology.I liked learning about impulsive actions and how as teenagers we tend to find sensation in things can hurt us in the long run. That topic was different because it was more into the science side of explaining why we are impulsive. The earlier weeks helped build up the the latest topics as we found out the basics around positive psychology. We learned about our strengths and how we can use values for forgiveness. I enjoyed learning our strengths and how to use them to make more mindful choices. I also learned that positive psychology isn’t just about meditation and yoga.Because of this class i have learned to take time of the day to be in the moment I also added positive psychology interventions into my life by trying to give a compliment to someone everyday.
Acting has been a part of human life for a very long time, and why wouldn’t it be? Doesn’t the vast majority of children spend most of their first years on this world pretending to be a character in some story they’ve created in their head? A quick look on Google and you can find that it is believed to have originated with the Greeks in 6th century BC, and that a man named Thespis is considered to have been the founder of the profession. The story is that Thespis used to go around reciting poetry and pretending to be the various characters from the story, and it is because of this many that we use the term thespians to describe actors. The Greeks thought of acting as an art and began playing out scenes from their religion in stages known as amphitheatres.
There were a few hiccups along the way, looking at you ancient Christians, but eventually sometime around the 1500’s acting became what most people envision when they think of how it was performed in the ancient world. Despite my personal feelings for any of his work the best way to describe it would be to ask you to picture the works of William Shakespeare. There’s a little bit of controversy when it comes to that man and a small percentage of people think that he didn’t even write the works that gave him credit. However, he was a playwright and not an actor so that’s as much of that topic as we are going to cover.
Even with the theatres growing popularity, there were very few people in the world that thought of acting as a respectable profession. Then came Hollywood, and the illusion that times were changing. In no way am I denying that most people have a little bit of respect for the people we see in our favorite movies and T.V. shows, and they most definitely should. These individuals work tirelessly, and a lot put their bodies through some very demanding things just to entertain us. The problem comes when you consider the individuals that aren’t famous, making millions of dollars every time they step on the set. Like a relatively unknown actor for a traveling play, or the average guy or girl that says they want to be an actor. We may smile and tell them we wish them the best of luck, the reality is that inside a lot of people are thinking “have fun being a waiter! I don’t think that one can be blamed if they ever do have these thoughts especially considering how high the unemployment rate is for actors. What I do find terrible though, is that despite all of the incredible advancements we have made in the field of acting, when it comes to how we feel about the vast majority of actors/actresses our views haven’t changed much in hundreds of years.
Throughout these past weeks in SOH the lectures and topics we have been talking about all relate to the emotions, socialization, and ways our brains are affected by each of these. They all have had something to do with it either being positive or negative aspects of our minds emotionally and socially. I have learned greatly about how many different factors of life can play a huge role in how we approach life and can live being fulfilled and happy. I have started to work out more in hopes of better improvement in my mind physically and mentally, doing this by running to clear my mind, and weight lifting to make my body reach a goal I am happy with. The image I have chosen represents my blog post because it is a very simple yet effective way of letting someone know that working out can be a healthy and free form of therapy.
In these last few weeks we have covered quite a bit! We started this portion by talking about relationships both healthy and terrible. Within that we talked about the ways that both types of relationships can affect us as people. The second thing we covered was what types of drugs various personality types are most likely to use. I found out that my scores were all a little on the high end, but my score for sensation seeking was the most ridiculous. I can’t remember what the exact number from class was, but either a score of thirteen or fourteen meant that individuals in that category were very likely to try out most any drugs they could get their hands on. The name says it all on this one these individuals desire to seek out new sensations, so it makes sense that they dabble a little bit in everything. Well it’s a little bit ridiculous, and also rather fitting, but my score was twenty two! That’s is not an excited exclamation point, but one of shock. Like I said it is rather fitting but to see a number that high kind of blew my mind when I first looked at the paper. I would really like to learn more about the fifth category which was psychosis. This one talked more about psychedelics and which individuals are most likely to use them. Unfortunately, there is not much research in the area so the professor did not go in to too much detail. Next we jumped back in to one of my favorite subjects of the year, POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY! Only this time we dived in a little deeper and talked about various interventions that we can use on ourselves, or that doctors can use to help individuals that struggle with their mental health problems. The great thing is that it doesn’t even need to be that extreme, we can use these interventions to help out if we’re simply having a bad day, and the effects will still be uplifting. Lastly we covered social/emotional learning. This piece had a lot of really fun parts and it was great to see how positive the results were when elementary schools started implementing programs to help students become more knowledgeable of this topic. I also found it a little funny that the professor mentioned there are times that the teachers have a harder times than the students do with the programs, and I find it very fitting. I’m pretty sure that I mentioned this in my last blog but I don’t really let emotions run any part of my life, rather I keep them in check, if I acknowledge them at all, and run my life based on logic and reason, so I would definitely be one of the people that struggled with the program if I were thrown headfirst in to one.
Overall, I think that one of the biggest themes of the last few weeks was self awareness, and different things that we either can do, or should be aware of to make ourselves the best people we can be. I would love to be able to say that I jumped headfirst in to one of these things and have started making a lot of life changes for the better, but the fact is that that just isn’t true. I am slowly trying to become more aware of the social and emotional learning subject, because I think that it will help me connect a lot better in my romantic relationship. Unfortunately, I have spent a long time viewing emotions, especially extreme ones, as a hindrance, and an obstacle that can be dangerous when trying to decide the best course of action. Those habits die hard, but the thing I’m really working towards is being able to identify the emotions of others, and being able to connect with them even if I don’t feel the same things that they do.
In weeks 7-10 we learned about romantic relatonships, mindfulness, getting to know yourself, and postive emotions & positive interventions. Some of these topics have alot in common with topics we’ve covered in the past. Mindfulness and getting to know yourself both blend together. Both of these topics talk about knowing more about yourself and learning what hurts and helps you. The positive emotions and positive intervention lesson remind me of the positive psychology last time we had at the beginning of the class. Reminding me to be positive and forgive and forget and order to be happy. I plan to change my lifestyle a little I’m going to start letting more things go in order to better my mental state. My picture represents how im going to change my daily routine.
Over the past few weeks we have hit on topics regarding on how to deal with depression, anxiety disorders, romantic relationships, social and emotional learning, and impulsivity. We discussed different ways to approach how each topic can be applied into our life by preparing for it or by applying it to our present situations. Each topic have common ties that can be tied down to positive psychology. Positive psychology can be considered as character strength and virtue. As humans encounter issues internally such as depression, we learned different ways in how to overcome it. We focused on how to better ourselves or learn how to handle situations that are negative to not let those factors get to us. Some approaches were practicing mindfulness, which is taking time aside to breathe and meditate in the present. We learned different factors that can help us as well such as going outside for a walk, going to the gym, or by taking time to hangout with friends. In our weekly exercises we took surveys to help understand our emotions to hopefully figure out a way to change something that may be bothering us mentally. These topics covered in class are related to the past ones in how it shows that these issues we have can be overcome, we can instill these exercises into our daily lives to strive for positive development and fulfillment for a good life.
One thing I have learned from the past couple of weeks to practice during my daily life to take away from stress is by practicing mindfulness. I practice mindfulness by doing yoga or taking a couple of minutes to just relax and try and not think about anything that is currently stressing me out. In college it is sometimes easy to forget that we need time for ourselves so being reminded of positive psychology, I learn that I need it for a mindful and flourishing life to help me be happy and do good in school.
The picture I chose is my own picture I took, one way I like to get away from anxiety or stress is by going out for a walk with music playing. It’s peaceful and some exercise you get to do as well which I believe is a good combination.
In the past few weeks we have covered many topics from personality to romantic relationships, and substance abuse. Looking at the foundation of these topics we see that they are all placed within the same field of positive psychology. We discussed the difference between a healthy and bad relationship. As we moved forward from the first six weeks of class, the topics have become more intricate. Defined the science behind positive psychology to going more in depth into personality traits leading to substance abuse.
There were a few lessons that I learned in this class that has been very helpful but the one lesson that stands out the most was self-awareness. As I focus more on who I am and who I want to be I can change my outlook on life. One of the exercises we did in class involved asking close friends and family what the traits they value and love about us. At first, I didn’t not know who to turn to because it has been a while since I have communicated with some people due to being busy with two jobs, school full time and applying to nursing schools. Then count in the fact that after high school, what seems like forever ago, many “friends” stop talking to you and go about their own way. Once I figured out who I would ask the feedback I got back was not too surprising. Overall, I was very happy that they saw me this was because that is how I want to be thought of and remembered. The feedback I receive had such an impact on me that I have stopped worrying about how others feel about me and focused on the current relationships that are good influences on me and have cut off the relationships that is bad. I also have begun to even try to better myself from the way that I carry myself to the how I act, even how I portray my feelings towards loved ones.
Though I have changed the way I think and carry myself there hasn’t been much of a change to my daily habits but there will be one in the close future after I begin to further balance my life of being a student and working to pay the expensive costs of going to college. I am looking to pick up yoga and maybe hiking. I have already started to plan more fishing trips with my boyfriend and close friends of ours.
The quote I have chose reminds me that as I am moving forward in life, I am letting go of the past, trying not to stress about the future that I can’t control and focusing on the here and now. Cause what better time to live than for the moment.
We started off week 7 talking about romantic relationships, discussing the impacts of a good relationship and a bad relationship, and how that might affect someone’s life. Then we moved onto personality traits, where we talked about how certain personalities might be more predisposed to substance abuse than other personalities. Next came positive psychology interventions, where we discussed the impacts these interventions could have on people who might be depressed or regular people who might be having a bad day. Lastly, we ended with social-emotional learning, where we talked about the positive implications these programs could have on children and adults in their educational careers and social lives. These past few weeks, we have learned about a variety of different topics. Each topic was different, but they all had one main thing in common. All of the topics seemed to have a common theme that involved fostering success in ourselves and our lives, whether that might be social or educational. There were many opportunities these past few weeks to learn about myself and the field of psychology.
The greatest lesson I have learned would have to be self-awareness. Many of the topics for weeks 7-10 were very heavily focused on self-awareness and what we could do as individuals to become more aware of who we are. I have started to become more aware of my relationships with family and friends as a result of the one of the exercises we did that involved us asking people close to us what they valued and appreciated about us. I realized through that exercise that I have people who care about me and that once in awhile it doesn’t hurt to show some of my appreciation towards them, even if it is a little embarrassing. I have become more aware of the people I associate myself with as well. If I don’t feel like they are good influences on me or my life, I try to distance myself from them. It occurred to me that negative influences only hurt me in the end and if I don’t fix the problem I won’t be happy. Overall, my biggest takeaway would be that self-awareness is an important aspect for one’s happiness and success in life.
I chose this quote because it states that the only person that can change my life is myself, not anyone else. It represents the changes I made and am currently trying to make in my life as I continue to grow as an individual.
These past few weeks in class have covered topics from romantic relationships to personality and substance abuse. In my opinion, these topics have been all over the place in the field of positive psychology, as they don’t have a lot in common other than that they all deal with the field, but they are all important in their own way. Coming from the beginning weeks, I can see how those were basic, building block weeks, and these further weeks are more complex. For example, the beginning weeks we covered positive psychology, and mindfulness and genetics and now we are building off of that knowledge in these more specific weeks.
The largest lesson I have learned from all of these weeks is self-awareness and mindfulness. It has altered my mindset (in a good way) to where I can take a second out of my day and take notes on how I’m feeling and my day is going. Week 8’s mindfulness really connected to the week off of automatic negative thoughts for me. The changes I am attempting to make is being more mindful and grateful of my daily life. Before this class, I would go through life on auto-pilot, fill my days with tasks, and not necessarily pay attention to myself, but it has been brought to my attention how important mindfulness is, and how to instill it in my daily routines.
The image/quote I inserted, as hippy as it is, relates immensely to me and the post. I believe that the changing of my mind has had an effect on the change of my life.
When I reflect on these past few weeks I realize that every topic was strategically chosen because they build on each other. We started these weeks with the mindfullness study check-ins. Three times a day we completed these short surveys about our current mental state. While it did become tiring to do these three times a day for two weeks, I found it interesting to actively take a break from my day to have to think about what I was feeling or doing. Mindfullness makes one more in-tune with their emotions and can help us to understand our specific reactions to certain things that may occur throughout the day. After these two weeks of mindfullness we completed the SURPS (Substance Use Risk Profile) to better get to know ourselves and how our personality traits could make us more at risk of a substance disorder. I had never completed a survey like this before so I found the lecture explaining our results very insightful. It was also an interesting opportunity to learn more about my classmates and friends. The following week continued the theme of us getting to know ourselves better because the activity was to ask people that we know well to share a few things they like or value about us. After 3-5 people shared we were supposed to write about how it made us feel to receive their feedback. This tied into our lectures about positive emotions and and positive psychological interventions in a really nice week. I appreciated learning about specific tools I could use that would make my life more positive, such as small acts of kindness and showing gratitude every day. These little things can add up and have a positive effect on your overall wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around you. I was thankful for these past few weeks in helping me get to know myself better and how I can make small lifestyle differences that can have big, positive results.
In the first 6 weeks, we talked about what the science of happiness is, where it came from, how it had many definitions, and what goes in to each person’s definition. There is the science of happiness, positive psychology and many views inside each label (whatever you label it) that make them all shoot towards the same goal: positive wellbeing. In weeks 7-10, we got into the developmental perspective of how we are as people, how that relates to our relationships when we grow up, and how positive psychology fits into that. How we grew up shapes who we partner with. We tend to act how we have been treated, or the same way as we have observed. Having a positive wellbeing has a big impact on how you treat other people. People can use your positive vibe to impact their life positively as well. It’s contagious! We learned about how no matter how we grew up, every person can benefit from mindfulness. All of these topics have the common ties that positive wellbeing can come from many things around you to begin with but ultimately it comes from you; and the cool thing is that you can manifest it!
Mindfulness and living presently are huge tools for the taking. This is the largest lesson that I have gained from this class. I loved learning about the magnitude mindfulness could have on our lives if we just use it. I was so surprised the impact mindfulness had on not only life in general but academia as well, and it plays a huge role in sports. My whole life as seemed to center around what I was not very good at, and how to improve the faults. Before this class I had never even heard of “cultivating your strengths”. I think it is a concept that needs more publicity! Only focusing on your negatives can really bring you down. Another lesson would have to be not spending so much time dwelling on the past or getting too anxious about the future. Live in the now!
Ever since learning about mindfulness I have tried to tie it more into my life. I am trying to be just more mindful in general; mindful of myself and others. Things may not be going my way, but it’s not just about me, there is a bigger picture to look at and a lot to be grateful for. Learning about this gave me the inspiration to work it into my life because who doesn’t want to feel more positive, or happy. Working on my well-being will never take a back seat in my life anymore.
The image I selected represents by post by how our minds tend to be full of things that really don’t matter at that moment. Sometimes of course you should be thinking about what you’re going to do next, or what just happened, but most of the time we just need to focus on what is right in front of us because thinking about everything else just makes us unhappy. The goal is to be happy!!