My Mission

Invisible Presence

A transition phase, inevitably unescapable, invisibly marks a change in status. At the time, I did not know what I was looking to change and even with a great deal of reflection I still cannot confidently say that I’ve crossed the threshold. However, I have managed to better define my journey, separating it into three parts. This is the story of my mission’s trip to NorthBay, camp grounds in the midst of Maryland, where I helped middle schoolers from all over the US grow closer to God. The month-long adventure that will stick with me forever.

Rite of Separation

I had just finished packing my ‘situationally prepared suitcase’ so that I’d be ready for anything. I made sure to remember my not so sweet PB+J: pen, bible, and journal. My mom was slowly packing my car up, I knew she didn’t want me to leave. I kept giving her hugs and reassuring her that I’d write her every week. Twenty minutes later I had hit the road.

Liminal Phase

My four-hour drive consisted of a mixture of negative thoughts, worries, and anxiety. I questioned my ability to teach kids something that I myself wasn’t fully confident in. I wouldn’t have my phone or laptop- the essentials that keep me connected to society on a regular basis. My signed commitment was the only thing keeping me from turning around.

I arrived on the NorthBay Adventure Camp grounds and hesitantly parked my car. I didn’t know what I was doing here, I definitely did not fit in. People swarm me from all angles welcoming me and unloading my car. They handed me a bucket for my phone and another bucket for my car keys- no turning back now.

To my surprise I lasted the first couple days and wasn’t eaten alive by the scripture, I found it to be weirdly comforting. After my first week, it felt like I was living in a world full of pureness, something foreign to me. I found fulfillment in serving kids their meals before they ran out to the club room to hear more about God, even though I was in the background I was still taking part in changing their lives. This I will never forget.

Forgetting my past of parties and meaningless relations, I opened up to my leaders and what are now my life-long friends about my insecurities and doubts. The entire month they taught to love myself and begin my college life the way God intended it to be. On the last night, I walked deep into the woods to process my time there. I talked to the man upstairs about my fear of going back home and starting a new life at VCU. Although I didn’t receive any definite answers, I was comforted by his invisible presence. I fell into a deep reflection with the soft wind blowing through my hair and the water from the creek trickling between the rocks.

Crossing the Threshold

Coming back into a society full of pressure, societal norms, and anxiety was the most challenging part for me. Not having contact with any of my friends or family, they didn’t see the transformation I went through.

I chose to go on my mission’s trip because I especially wanted to figure out my purpose in life and find God through it all right before my college years. Although I still don’t know where I stand with my faith, with two feet or one, I came to know much more about myself and choose the life I want to live now- full of genuine conversations, long-lasting relationships, and comfortably pursuing faith. If it weren’t for this period of betweeness I would not be in the small group I’m in at VCU or have the community that I longed for.


Flourishing With Flying Colors

Flourishing With Flying Colors


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.×300.jpg

Don’t think about it too much

Don’t think about it too much

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: date accessed: 2/11/2018

SOH Blog Post #1

SOH Blog Post #1

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.

Blog #1

Blog #1

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..

I commented on the posts of Kyla Claiborne and Mosbysc.

Pranav’s Science of Happiness Blog Post #1

Pranav’s Science of Happiness Blog Post #1

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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.



SoH Blog #1- SPR 18

SoH Blog #1- SPR 18

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.

I have commented on jlmashburn and Alexia Collins blog posts

SOH  ’18: First Post

SOH ’18: First Post

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.

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SOH ’18 Reflection Blog #1

SOH ’18 Reflection Blog #1

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!


Reflections & Connections: Blog Post One

Reflections & Connections: Blog Post One

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.





Blog Post #1

Blog Post #1

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!!


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Catherine Kiesel’s Blog Post #1 SOH Spring 18

Catherine Kiesel’s Blog Post #1 SOH Spring 18

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.

1- Thoughts on the Single Perspective

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!


book used:

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., 

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wrap up

wrap up

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.

Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

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.

Blog Post 3

Blog Post 3

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.

Image result for mindfulness

Final Blog Post

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.

Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

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.

Exploring the Netherwood Quarry

Exploring the Netherwood Quarry

Exploring the Netherwood Quarry

Date visited: November 16th, 2017

Time: 7:30-8:00PM

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

Time: 2:00-2:30PM

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.      

Final Blog Post

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.

Blog Post 3


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.


Week 12-16

Week 12-16

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.

Make your life the way you choose

Make your life the way you choose


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!

Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

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.

I think this picture really summarizes the class, because it shows that happiness is determined by genetics, circumstances, and your own thoughts and behaviors. Many of the topics we discussed have touched on all three of these aspects of happiness, so I felt that it was an appropriate representation for this class.                                       


Picture Citation:

Blog Post 3: A Semester in Review

Blog Post 3: A Semester in Review

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).

I think this picture best summarizes the class because that is what it was about, right? We’re learning ways to maximize happiness.
Final Blog Post SOH

Final Blog Post SOH

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.

Blog Post #3: Ram Happy

Blog Post #3: Ram Happy

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. 			</div><!-- .entry-content -->
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What Is Science of Happiness

What Is Science of Happiness

Blog Post 3


Week 2 The Science of happiness


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.


Week 13 Physical Wellbeing



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.



Science of Happiness




Image Sources:





















Blog post #3

Blog post #3

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.

Image result for forgiveness


Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

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.

Blog Post 3

Blog Post 3

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.

Blog #3

Blog #3

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.


Wishing you the happiest!!!:)



Blog Post #3!

Blog Post #3!

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.….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..5.6.831…0i67k1j0i8i30k1j0i13k1j0i13i5i30k1.0.TM9NaCUTGc8#imgrc=3AckV-tys7ChkM:


Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

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.

Blog Post 2: Weeks 7-10

Blog Post 2: Weeks 7-10

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.

Photo from:

Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2

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.

Weeks 7-11

Weeks 7-11

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.


Blog 2

Blog 2

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. is where my image is from. I chose this because it’s cute and I talk a lot about my relationship.

Blog Post 2

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.

What do our emotions tell us? How do we understand the emotions of others?

What do our emotions tell us? How do we understand the emotions of others?

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.    (

Image result for Social and Emotional learning

Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2

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 Through The Ages

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.

SOH Blog Post #2

SOH Blog Post #2

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.



Blog Post 2

Blog Post 2

YAY! It’s blog time again!

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.

This photo was pulled from pixabay.

Blog post #2

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.

Blog Post #2

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.

Today is a good day to be alive

Today is a good day to be alive

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.

Cited Sources:

3 easy Mindfulness Exercises you can start using TODAY

Living in the Moment Quotes

Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2

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.

Weeks 7-10

Weeks 7-10

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.

weeks 7-10

weeks 7-10

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.

Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2

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!!


– Kelly Graves….0…1.1.64.img..9.2.704….0.kzik8pDKJ5s#imgrc=nk0N0sc4UigHjM:



SOH Blog #2

SOH Blog #2

Looking back onto the first six weeks of class, we learned mostly about the basics of positive psychology, our strengths, and some mental disorders. In the weeks after those initial classes I noticed that a lot of what we learned in the beginning is being incorporated into the new topics in more complex ways. In ways that show how they can work in romantic relationships, in classrooms from a young age, and even how we can apply them to ourselves in  multiple ways. Not only have the topics we have learned about in the recent weeks relate to older topics, but they relate to each other. For example, the personality traits that we learned about week 9 that may lead to certain risk behaviors may also affect romantic relationships that we talked about on week 7. Another relationship between two is the mindfulness meditation we participated in on week 8 can be an example of positive intervention in someone’s life like the ones we learned about in week 10.

Throughout my first semester here at VCU this class has helped me learn how I can make something of my time here besides just getting a degree. I am able to use skills that this class has taught me to help me become a happier person on the inside. I am able to calm myself in times of stress by practicing mindfulness techniques and focusing on my strengths. I am also able to look at what traits I’m exhibiting now that could lead to risky behavior and work on changing them before I might introduce that behavior into my life. I also now see the importance of social emotional intelligence in everyone’s life and how it can create better bonds with oneself and with others. I have already started to try to do small things like journal the positives of my day and do activities like yoga or hiking that help calm my mind and bring me into a good mood before doing homework. Seeing how things like this can affect peoples’ moods and outcomes in their day helped me to implement them in my life because not only can I see the proof in myself but also the science that proves them as well.

The image I have chosen represents the relaxation I have learned to accomplish in these past weeks by learning things like mindfulness and positive interventions.

Dedda71 . “Neopagan meditation in Rocca di Cerere .” Wikimedia, 24 Aug. 2014,

Amanda’s Second Blog Post


For the 7th week of the Science of Happiness course, we discussed the competence in romantic relationships. This week’s reading provided background knowledge of how the relationships we have and encounter early in our lives affect our romantic relationships in adulthood. Jessica Salvatore presented her research explaining the two main perspectives in regards to the correlation between early family dynamics and adult romantic relationships. The two perspectives were the Socialization perspective and the Social Modeling perspective. Social modeling claims that we grow up to imitate the way our parents treated each other. The Socialization perspective explains the indirect effects of early attachment on romantic relationships later in life. I can use this information later in life whether or not I am still in my current relationship.

Our week 8 exercise was to record our Automatic Thoughts throughout the week. I do not think this week’s exercise related much to week 7, but it could be indirectly related because our state of mind could affect the way we approach and behave in relationships. The content of week 8 help lay a foundation for what we would be learning and discussing in the following weeks. In class this week we learned more mindfulness mediation skills which I have actually been trying to use in my day to day life; so far I have really seen in an improvement in the way my mind feels when I am trying to be productive. Our lessons about mindfulness at the very beginning of the course helped me understand the week because it introduced the concept of living a mindful life.

Week 9 focused on personality traits and how they relate to substance use. Our weekly exercise instructed us to take the SURPS survey to determine which of our personality traits would make us susceptible to substance use. This relates to the previous week because it can help explain why we have some of our automatic thoughts. Week 9 was somewhat similar to week 5 in which we took the VIA character trait survey because it told us about certain traits we have. However, week 9 focused on these traits more as a warning for how certain traits of ours can become our faults. The only thing that concerned me about my results was my score for anxiety sensitivity, so I will definitely be making sure I am aware of this when reacting to stressors.

The exercise for week 10 was one of the most difficult assignments to complete, but one of the most rewarding. It was weird asking people to list compliments about me, but it made me happy to know that my friends actually like things about me. This week’s reading discussed the Broaden-and-Build Theory in regards to positive psychology; the theoretical perspective describes how experiencing positive emotions benefit the way we behave, which in turn help us lead more positive, rewarding lives. Week 10’s central focus on Positive Psychology related the most to all of the other weeks because it focused on the main point of the course, which is to give us materials and strategies to live healthy and happy lives even when facing stressful times.

Overall, the past 10 weeks of this course has made me more aware of the fact that I really can control the way I choose to live my everyday life and how I can make choices to benefit my overall well-being.


Sometimes just plain meditating does not work if my mind is too restless; doing something like coloring is a good alternative method if mindfulness meditation is not working out for you.
Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2

There are a lot of topics that can relate to each other when it comes to science of happiness. Two topics that I felt closely related to each other in an immense way is depression and anxiety. Anxiety and depression both relate to each other because they come from the same place which is biological vulnerability. Since they’re so closely related it is fairly easy for one to make matters worse for the other. This is why a person should be self-aware of both of these conditions. Depression and anxiety can also fit into a person’s personality which is another way of how the information relates to each other. A person who has internalizing personality traits is more likely to be more sensitive to anxiety compared to a person who has an externalizing personality. It shows the ways that depression and anxiety can fit into your personality type.

Another topic that I felt closely related to each other was romantic relationships and impulsivity. We learned about successful and unsuccessful relationships and how to improve an unsuccessful relationship. The reason I believe this ties into impulsivity and cognitive bias is because in order to have a successful relationship you have to be able to have impulse control and self-control. The reason for this is that when you get into an arguement with your partner it is important to take a step back, breathe and reflect instead of lashing out. I feel most of the topics tie into positive psychology because it helps with depression, anxiety, and relationships. Positive psychology can enhance your well being and the way you look at yourself and experiences. I feel like none of the topics differ with each other because in some way they are all tied together and there are so many connections that it’s hard for me to find any ways in which they can be different.

The things we have learned in weeks 1-6 has helped me have a better understanding of everything we’ve learned so far like mindfulness and how important it is to be in the present moment. This helped me obtain a better understanding of impulsivity and relationships and how important it is to just take a step back and breathe. I feel like the biggest things i’ve learned so far in the class is how important it is to get to know yourself and your automatic thought processes. I normally tend to be a very negative thinker and when I actually got the chance to reflect on my negative thoughts (which i have never done before) I realized that I don’t have to think this way and I don’t have to add more pressure to what I already feel. I plan on being more self-aware of my thoughts and the way I view things by paying more attention to what is influencing it and what I can do to change it.

I chose this picture with the quote on it because it personally relates to me and what I’m currently doing to improve my negative thinking which is focusing on the positives instead of the negatives. It’s better to focus on the good instead of stressing over everything negative in my life because it makes me happier and enhances my well being.

“Made on the Quipio App by Ebaird.” Quipio,  

I hate coming up with titles for things

I hate coming up with titles for things

Greetings fellow travelers!

Well, yet again I have been given an assignment to create a blog for school, and to make matters even more interesting this will be an ongoing series of posts with one central theme. To be completely honest, at first I was a little annoyed by this project. I’m not the biggest fan of blogs and most of my experience with them comes from annoyingly skimming over them while I try and find the steps for some recipe I found on Pinterest. Seriously, why does everyone have to have a two page story about why they thought of making a certain food? Why do so many people care about the reasons behind it? Just give me the recipe so I can make my food and go about reading something more interesting! Alas, there was no avoiding this so I set to trying to think of a subject that was interesting enough that I would actually enjoy researching, and writing about, for the next month and a half or so. In the end I was left with two subjects. Video games or drugs?

This was a very hard question for me to answer. Both of these subjects have been a lifelong interest of mine and both are things that I thoroughly enjoy learning about.  I even tried to think of a way that I could tie the two together but couldn’t really come up with anything interesting. So I started trying to figure out which would be more interesting to a reader. Whenever I have tried talking about video games to someone who doesn’t play them I have been met with a blank stare, or been given the response “But there’s just so much to do in this world, why would you want to spend so much of your time sitting in front of a television?” I have had a lot of conversations like this throughout my life, and ultimately it has led me to the conclusion that for those who don’t play them, video games just aren’t very interesting.

On the flip side drugs are more taboo. People get awkward if drugs come up in a casual conversation. It’s even worse when I mention to someone that I have tried a certain drug, or recount an experience that I have had after taking one. What I have found though, is that even for people who have never tried them by the end of the conversation they seem genuinely interested, and usually walk away having learned a thing or two.

I probably know what you’re thinking about now. “This guy is  going to try and convince me why drugs should be legalized, or how good they are.” Rest assured that is not the case. Drugs are illegal now and despite this most everyone can try anything they like, so that conversation is a waste of everyone’s time. Instead I want to go a little further in to the topic. Which drugs appeal to different types of people? How do the actual effects compare to what people think, or how they are portrayed in movies? How ancient civilizations used them, their role in various religions, and how can they be used to help people the people in our world? Throughout this series we’re going to cover all of these topics so stay tuned and have  a wonderful day!



The photo was borrowed from pixabay.

Blog Post #2: Ram Happy

Blog Post #2: Ram Happy

Two topics that I find relate greatly to each other are the Mindfulness and Positive Emotions topics. Being mindful to me is all about trying to have control over your life and decisions. Mindfulness is being able to have power over your emotions, behavior, and well-being. This is why I compare mindfulness and positive emotions with one another because also having positive emotions also effect what kind of life you live. It’s almost as if without having mindfulness in your back pocket, it’s hard to try to have positive emotions in your every day life. Without mindfulness, a person probably wouldn’t want to have “positive emotions” in their lives because they don’t understand the true significance of mindfulness, and it’s abilities to help one’s life grow. For something to differ, I can’t really come to say just what because I feel like all of these topics are related, even if it’s in the slightest way. Nothing negative is drawn to my attention to be able to say something within these topics differ.

Using weeks 1-6 content definitely helped me understand our later topics, in ways such as from week 5’s “Focusing On Strengths.” Week 5 helped me learn more about week 9’s “Getting to Know Yourself” simply because of the fact when you “get to know yourself”, it would make sense that you learn strengths about yourself. You can’t get to know yourself without learning new capabilities, and also things you could possibly not be so strong at.

From both blog posts, they both have made me be able to understand what the big picture in life is. Lessons that I’ve been able to gain from the class these weeks have helped me know that life isn’t all about your failures, or your successes, but it’s how you go about growing from them both. You can’t just focus on one major thing because it distracts you from being able to be better in life. You have to sometimes accept the fact obstacles are going to come your way, but know you are the bigger person by how you overcome your difficulties and how they make you feel towards happiness. Changes that I’ve made to my daily habits would be just to know that my happiness is more important than me feeling down about things that can happen. What inspired the changes is that I need to stop being down about the bad things in life because my happiness is more important.

The image I decided to use for this blog post represents my content on how growth is the big picture for me and what I aim for 			</div><!-- .entry-content -->
	<footer class= SOH Fall17, SOH-Fall17

How Science Relates To Happiness

How Science Relates To Happiness

Week 10 Positive Emotions relate to Week 9 Getting to Know Yourself Because When we are trying to understand who we are inside of ourselves we are experiencing our Emotions about ourselves. As a human being we are developing our brains to practice the Positive and Negative sides of our Emotions so we can get to know ourselves a whole lot better. Sometimes Perspectives can differ from how we control our emotions and getting to know more about ourselves and how we view ourselves.


Week 8 Mindfulness relate to Week 7 Romantic Relationships because when we form mindfulness to Relationships we want our minds to not think about what is Pressuring us into Relationships with our partners. We should take control of how we think about relationships that goes on in our own life. Sometimes mindfulness and Relationships might differ from different parts of our own personal lives.


During Week 1 and Week 2 Course Overview and The Science of happiness I Learned what Mental Health and Mental Illness is about. Emotions and their well being and how someone thinks and feels and acts for mental illness is about what effects your moods and how we think and about our behavior’s. The Keyes Flourishing Scale helps find happiness with flourishing in our own lives too.


During week 3 Genetics and Happiness I realized there were lots of different methods on how to study about genetics through genetic behaviors. I also learned about twin studies about how alcohol can relate to risky behaviors through genetics. When we did our exercise on our family tree it relates to our genetics’ that runs through our family’s genetics.


During week 4 Introduction to Positive Psychology When I was reading the article on Promote Forgiveness I Understood what positive psychology is, it is about thoughts and feelings and forgiving people. Due to their actions and choices that they make upon themselves. When we took our perma survey I was learning more about happiness and how I could apply it to my life.


During week 5 focusing on strengths when I read the article on differences in character. It relates to our personalities because each character is different from different perspectives. On how we view each other in general everyone has different character strengths and weakness that we all have about ourselves. I really liked how Professor walsh paired us up on our top character strength so we can learn more about how our people relate to their own character strengths and weakness.


During week 6 depression and mood states I learned everyone can or suffer from depression sometimes. Depression can lead to disorders even celebrities and Hollywood actors or actresses or famous singers can get depression or mood states. Or they can go to counseling services to get help with depressions or mood states too.


From the past weeks I have already applied the science of happiness to my own life because the lessons and insights from class really changed my outlook on life. I can teach others how to find happiness in their life too. Yes I made changes in my life I want to tell the world about my experiences about happiness so they can feel happy too.  I chose this image because I want to Spread Happiness around the World


Personality and Addiction

Personality and Addiction

Blog Post 2

Both of Dr. Vassileva’s lectures directly relate to each other in the sense that different personality traits can lead to more risky behavior and make you more susceptible to drug addiction. In the first lecture, she described the different results of our SURPS tests and how each category (anxiety sensitivity, negative thinking, impulsivity, sensation seeking) plays a role in addiction, what drug is usually abused, and how to treat someone when they are high in these categories. In her second lecture, she related the SURPS test and narrowed it down to just specifically looking at impulsivity, and how it relates to addiction. The likelihood of addiction was based on many factors, but the most prominent were genes and our personality, which is shaped by your environment. The interaction between the environment that was seen in Dr.Vassileva’s lecture relates to Dr.Salavatore and her lecture about relationships. They both talk about how genetic and environmental factors impact the behavior or outcome of a person, whether it’s their relationship described by Dr.Salavatore, or addiction lectured from Dr.Vassileva. However, they differ in the amount of role each factor as. From what I understood from the relationship lecture is that genes play a role but not a huge one compared to addiction.

A common element to the topics we learned is how genetics and environment play a role in our behavior. One of the first lectures in the class was done by Dr.Dick where she explained the question of what causes human behavior. The insight about how much of our genes and environment determine our behavior helped me understand in more detail when Dr.Vassileva and Dr.Salavatore gave their lectures about addiction and relationships. Also, since all the weekly readings talk, in more depth than others, about negative emotions, anxiety, and depression, the lecture Dr.Sood did help set a baseline for understanding about anxiety and negative thinking in addiction, in relationships, and in the broaden-and-build theory.

I have learned that people are suitable to addiction when they rank high in any of the SURPS. I never realized that I could be subject to addiction based on my personality and that our personality and upbringing plays a role in how we react in social settings, relationships, etc. I know that seems obvious, but I never thought of personality in the way that it was explained in the lecture where it decides everything we do. It broadened my idea of personality and how environment plays a role in that.

I plan on being more aware of what I am doing and see what influences my behaviors or thoughts. I want to get my anxiety sensitivity down and will try and do that with mindfulness. When Dr.Vessileva lectured about SURPS and personality, it opened my eyes and made me want to know more about why I do things.

I chose the photo to the left because I think it encapsulates everything that I was talking about in regards to addictions, personality, and relationships. All those words play a role in how susceptible someone is to be addicted to something. Impulsivity, anxiety, and depression are caused inadaptive personality traits making them to defined as disorders. Almost all the words in the picture play a part in how people deal with relationships, how they act in relationships, and how relationship conflicts are causes.

Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2

In weeks 7-10 of The Science of Happiness I’ve learned that by building our awareness of the present moment (mindfulness) we are able to engage in a situation without impulsive action, offering ourselves the capability to recognize and accept our thoughts, feelings, and neurological consciousness to better appreciate and recognize ourselves. Through this, I think we self promote a better way to relate to our lives, allowing us to respond more connectedly to the world around us, which carries into the different relationships we pursue.

It was fascinating to see how much content actually relates to each other. Since we had focused on our personal strengths in class, I have applied my top strengths in seeking out those who have different strengths than I do to build relationships with to make my weaker traits stronger. Although genetics doesn’t totally decide my happiness, I have begun to realize where certain traits have adapted from and how that positively and negatively affects my relationships. After taking numerous surveys I have made connections between my overall happiness and how The Big 5 from Week 9 could specifically impacts my mood states and decisions.

In a larger sense, mindfulness has only inspired me to approach every moment with healthy curiosity, diving deep into the present experience and acknowledging my place in the world and in my community here at VCU. I am currently enrolled in a mindfulness yoga class at the Cary Street Gym which has been a huge destresser and helps train my mind to just ‘relax and be present’. Last week my LLC had a floor meeting on Stress Relief and we had the privilege of having Ms. Walsh as our guest speaker who shared personal stories in direct result to stress. We discussed efficient strategies in relieving stress in a healthy way in order to attain a happy life.  So in addition to yoga classes, I have downloaded the Headspace App which is perfect for me because I can do it wherever or whenever I feel stressed. I plan to keep participating in these activities, but I also plan on keeping an ‘emotions journal’ to keep an account of how I am feeling. I believe that by physically writing it and rereading my journal will have powerful meaning to my life and how I choose will choose to handle things.  

I selected the image below because willow trees symbolize dreams and reflection. A powerful symbolic meaning of the willow tree is its adaptability because of their ability thrive in the most crucial conditions. It also symbolizes the adjustment of life, rather than fighting it, surrendering to the formation and growth. The willow tree reminds me to surrender ultimately to my inner thoughts/feelings and acquire deeper knowledge of my neurological consciousness


Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2

Image Source: ( Jospeh Keller)

The two topics during the weeks 7-10 that related to each other were anxiety and depression. These two topics linked together because they stem from the same biological vulnerability. In the slides that were shown we were informed that depression could make anxiety worse. I also saw some connections from the Big 5 in the personality traits slide show and the things that cause depression. The Big 5 is Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. In Extraversion there is attention seeking and this can cause depression if you are feeling lonely with nobody to talk to. I did not see anything that differed for these weeks only because I was focused on how it linked that way I could understand these topics better. The bigger picture is that positive psychology is the study of a wide variety of components that contribute to our overall satisfaction with our lives. This means positive psychology is aiming to make our mood states better and lessen our chances of depression anxiety disorder. I noticed that twin studies were used a lot through this semester. We looked at how a twin study shows us what causes behavior and we also looked at how twin studies show heritability for panic disorders. Also, we talked about certain techniques that help with forgiveness. Those techniques that we discussed included writing it down and throwing it away or keeping a journal. These techniques reoccurred when we looked at how to challenge negative thoughts. The larger lessons I’ve learned are how important it is to take care of you and never be afraid to ask for help or assistance because everything we do contributes to our overall happiness. I have received insight on what could possibly be an alternative to anger and how I can channel my anger. I do plan on letting how I feel out more often and not hold things in. My mind, body and soul overlap. The picture I chose symbolizes the balance that I need to have in my life. I need to develop good coping strategies for my emotions, communicate with family and friends more often and also get a healthy amount of sleep in order to take care of my mind, body and soul.


Blog Post 1

The first few weeks of class were very informational for me when it comes to the topics that we discussed. I like how each week is a different topic that is still related to the previous topic and I like how we get a different professor for each topic as they are specialists in these respective fields. It also brings a different element to the classroom every time since we get someone new as we never know what that class will be like so that is rather exciting.

The activities we have done so far have been good for my knowledge about myself as well as each topic as well. Before I took the Flourishing survey, I thought I would be on the flourishing side but after I took it I was REALLY on the flourishing side which got me thinking deeply. Learning about Positive Psychology was something that was completely new to me and it surprised me how complex it was when I thought that it would be a very simple topic. So again that came to me as a huge surprise. Also, I absolutely loved the Liam Neesan “Taken” monologue, that really brightened up my day.

It was also really great that I took the strengths and weaknesses survey because it really made me think about whether I thought the results were accurate and really made me do some more self reflecting and resulted in more self realization.

The topic of about depression was by far my favorite and the one that I am most passionate about because I have gone through my own battles of depression and have educated myself before, during and after those battles and I have been passionate about spreading that knowledge about this issue to others so it was really nice for me to see that knowledge ive learned and re learn it as well as just seeing it in a classroom setting.

To really sum things up about these first few weeks, basically every topic has taught me something new and has made me think about myself and has even taught me more about myself than I knew before.

Blog Post #1 Don’t Worry Be Happy

Blog Post #1 Don’t Worry Be Happy

In the first four weeks of this course I thoroughly enjoyed the material that was presented to us and how we had different people who specialized in each section of what we learned , and they taught us about that specific topic.  I really loved how all of the material in the first four weeks correlated with each other , it was like building blocks each piece of information that we learned helped build upon what we had already learned about.

For example the flourishing or languishing survey showed us what our current mental state  was and whether were flourishing or languishing, while nature v. nurture showed us how are behaviors and mental states are influenced by both genetics and our environment. The section on depression and anxiety showed us the types of mental states and how it can affect our happiness , while the VIA survey showed us what personality traits and behaviors we were strong in. Positive psychology shined a light on how to deal with all of these things and to stay positive and be happy.

With me taking three psychology classes in past a lot of this information was more intriguing than surprising , but what did surprise me was that since last year I had taken a personality test and a VIA survey and this year my results were  somewhat different. That really surprised me because I have felt the same since my first time taking those surveys. The most meaningful part of this course so far was positive psychology and anxiety and depression. They really meant a lot to me because with some of the experiences I had to go through in life it was hard to stay positive and happy, for the most part I was either very nervous or depressed, but with each bit of information learned or the activities we did for those two topics it helped me tremendously. I have learned my strengths and virtues , how to stay positive and many new strategies to release that anxiety and to help with depression.

Science of Happiness Blog Post #1

Science of Happiness Blog Post #1

The recent topics we have learned within Science of Happiness, it seems can all be connected in some way or the other due to the fact that the way we think, act, our addictions, mental health, and how positive we are in life are reflected by our either our genes or environment. Some new and surprising information that I have learned was of how many people are affected with mental health issues in their lifetime. The cultivation of our strengths really allowed me to understand where there are developmental opportunities in my life, and how I can use my strengths to strengthen those weaknesses, to create a good balance of all aspects in life.

Citation :

Treating Depression & Substance Abuse

Blog Post #1

Blog Post #1

The first six weeks of positive psychology has taught me a lot how psychology can be used in order to maintain mental health and not just treat mental disease. Positive Psychology puts back the mission of helping people maintain a healthy and happy life through mindfulness and mediation. Many models and topics have been discussed and are intertwined.I have also learned different ways to have great mental health such as forgiveness or improving our Strengths instead of dwelling on the negative. The Keyes model of Mental Health demonstrates that you do not have to have a mental illness to demonstrate poor mental health. Rather you show signs of apathy and boredom. What I learned and surprised me in this class is how genetic factors can impacts someone’s personality. It’s not really nature vs nurture,it’s just a combination of both.  One piece information that reflected and had me thinking was the PERMA test. My results kind of surprised me because the results for achievement(A) were high. It had me thinking of how high I hold in accomplishing my goals and would like to maintain it so.  

Reflection over 6 weeks of Science of Happiness

Reflection over 6 weeks of Science of Happiness

       I have learned a lot within the past 6 weeks during the Science of Happiness class. Along with physical ways to relieve stress,balance mental and physical struggles and signs of depression, I have also learned my strengths and weakness. I didn’t realize what my strongest strength was which is Love, and the weakest being Love of learning. I was surprised by the result but than being to think about it more in depth and looking back on y actions, I could see why the results where what they are. Throughout the last couple weeks I also have been reflecting on behaviors that have run through my family, seeing if any of it related to depression or anxiety, and definitely mood states. Once I understood what caused the mood swings, I was able to associate it with my family.  Science of Happiness is helping me understand what goes into our moods and how our mind processes happiness and our feelings. I enjoy learning about the processes in which our mind takes emotion and relays it back to our actions. I hope to continue broadening my knowledge in science of happiness with how to be successful and use mindfulness in a time of stress and when I have emotions constantly building up.       (picture citation)


Science of Happiness Post 1

Science of Happiness Post 1

The past six weeks engaging in the ‘Science of Happiness’ have taught me that happiness is a state of well- being that encompasses living the good life. The science of happiness includes living a life with meaning and rooted satisfaction. We learned that happiness derives from genetic influences and adolescent behavior, which is really uplifting to know that you have some control over your happiness. Nature v. Nurture transitioned perfectly into following week where we cultivated the study behind what makes an individual and community thrive. Then, we discussed personal strengths which taught me the importance of not only recognizing my strengths but also utilizing them to the best of my ability, and creating relationships with others who have different strengths. In contrast, we went over depression and mood states with in ourselves that can cause us to rethink our lives in a negative outlook. With all the topics covered so far I have learned to love myself and others in a healthy, positive way.

The most interesting topic we covered so far was ‘Focusing on Strengths’ taught by Dr. Walsh. She went over the criteria in what is considered a strength which include that a strength must be universal, institutions within a society that support the strength, every parent would want their child to possess the strength, displaying a strength does not diminish others, a strength is morally valued in its own right, and it must contribute to fulfillment and to the good life. Taking the survey and looking at the VIA character strengths and virtues, I was able to identify my individual strengths that amount to the flourishing life I possess. Learning that I hone kindness, perseverance, gratitude, teamwork, and honesty was surprising but now that I know this I know what types personalities I would like to form relationships with to focus on the strengths that were lower on my list.


The most relatable topic the class covered was PERMA. It was fascinating to dive deeper into the five ingredients of a flourishing life which ties to the psychology of well-being. After analyzing my results of the survey, I realized I wanted to improve on the relationship aspect of my life. This pushed me to do my own research on how I could make the relationships in my life healthier and stronger. I practiced owning my own character strengths to lift up others and to being more compassionate toward others. By utilizing these simple technipes my relationships seem more meaningful which makes each of us more happy.

Picture Source:


A Month in the Science of Happiness

A Month in the Science of Happiness

I am a very blunt and honest person. Some of the things you read may sound slightly offensive or may make me out to be an inconsiderate asshole. While that may be true just know that I will only speak the truth as I see it, and I’m working on the asshole part.

I haven’t ever been one that puts a lot of thought in to mental and emotional health. I don’t have depression, or anxiety issues, and despite admitting that I can be a little emotionally dumb I do consider myself to be mentally healthy. Because none of these things have ever troubled me, I haven’t ever cared what other people have to do or say to think the same of themselves. This is probably a huge indicator of why social intelligence is the second lowest item on my via strengths survey. This was never a problem for me until I started dating my girlfriend a while back. She has a degree in psychology, deals with chronic anxiety of her own and to top things off she is an oh so very sensitive soul. To put it plainly she is the exact opposite of me, and she is the main  reason I am in this class. Before her I pretty much had my mind made up that people who had chronic anxiety or depression were mentally weak, and were choosing to wallow in their own self pity. Gloomily looking at everything in life because they can’t let themselves go for a little bit and just enjoy it. If I’m being completely honest there is a small part of me that does still believe it. I’ve had deaths of close relatives and friends, been treated like the absolute lowest scum on the face of the planet for an extended period of time, had an ex wife leave me, and lived through a war where I saw some absolutely terrible things. Yet, I have never once experienced depression or anxiety, and sometimes just can’t entertain the idea that people do.

So when I needed another slot filled in my schedule, and my advisor mentioned this class it was met with skeptical excitement. On one hand I may not buy in to all of it, but at the very least I would get an opportunity to learn about some things that I don’t think I would have researched on my own, and just maybe I would learn a couple ways to be a better partner.

Throughout the first month of this course we have covered a lot of information from what exactly constitutes mental health, depression, and anxiety to positive psychology and how cultivating our own strengths can help with all of those things.

Week one we covered Keyes model of mental health and what it means to be flourishing or languishing. In that we also learned that the absence of mental illness does not equal mental health. A few weeks later we took a similar test in the PERMA survey I feel that the questions were a little better written and that it was a better indicator. Week two we learned that about half our mental makeup comes from our genetics and most of the other half comes from intentional activity. Which means that even if you inherited some depression or anxiety from your family you can most definitely still overcome those through the things you choose to do. Three was over positive psychology, as well as forgiveness and how hard that can be. Week four was over our strengths and virtues. Last but not least depression and anxiety disorders was covered in week five.

I have learned that people who deal with anxiety or depression are not just mentally weak individuals. They actually have a chemical imbalance that will help contribute to their problems. In addition, a lot of people don’t have the ability to overcome these problems without professional help. When they do actually go to see a professional one thing that they may utilize for their treatment is positive psychology. Which is getting individuals to live meaningful virtuous lives and hoping that that leads to lasting happiness. In order to do that they would first need to identify what strengths the patient has, as well as what strengths they value using a tool like the VIA strengths and virtues surveys we took. Once those have been identified the patient and counselor will begin to cultivate and focus on those strengths to hopefully help them live more meaningful lives.

The part that stuck out the most to me was the portion on positive psychology and the strengths and virtues. I think the reason that it did is because as we were learning about these things I realised that I have always been very aware of my strengths and used my them to help live a virtuous life that I have found a lot of meaning in. In turn I believe that this has greatly benefitted me in keeping me from ever having to personally deal with anxiety or depression issues. In short I was using these methods before I ever learned about them, and i believe they work.

Before this assignment I did not really try to connect the individual weeks together but after I started I had a lot of fun trying to connect them together, and very much look forward learning more in the coming weeks and seeing the ways they all tie together.

this photo was pulled from pixabay

First weeks of Science of Happiness

First weeks of Science of Happiness


Image result for learning

These first few weeks in science of happiness I learned a lot of new things. I learned about anxiety disorders, positive psychology, my strengths and I learned about about what influence my genetics have on me. The positive psychology lesson and the lesson about my strengths went hand-and-hand. Positive psychology was talking about how we should forgive and forget and move on with our lives and the strength lesson told us 22 of our greatest strengths and ranked them from highest to lowest. After that lesson I believe that after that lesson forgiveness went up in the list to being on of my top 5. That lesson as taught me to  forgiven people more because I used to hold things over people’s heads and I noticed that I do it less. This class also gave a lesson on genetics and on depression, anxiety, and mood states and I now realize that those states of mind can be influenced by genetics or by the environment around me. We also used the Keyes’ model of complete mental health/flourishing and in this model I found out I was flourishing.


Blog Post #1

Blog Post #1

Hope and Happiness

Last class when Dr. Aziz talked about the different types of anxiety and symptoms of depression, it immediately made me connect the dots of Dr.Dick’s lecture about genetic influences. As Dr.Dick said, genetic influences account for 50% of our behavior and 40% is affected by our environment. It was interesting to think that half of our behavior is effect by something that is entirely out of our control, and if you are predisposed to depression and anxiety does that mean you are SOL? I think the answer to that is no. Mental illness isn’t a death sentence in my mind, and one shouldn’t treat it like as such. I remember Dr.Aziz talking about how we need to start treating mental illness as a physical illness, and therefore a sort of taboo comes with treating as mental illness. So, the first thing to do is get help. If you have those predisposed genes and you start exhibiting depressive and anxiety tendencies, one should get help. Medicine and therapy are a beautiful thing. Bouncing off of treatment, what we learned about our strength and weakness and the negativity cycle by Ms.Walsh and Dr. Worthington plays a role in how we can get out of those depressive states. If one focuses on only their weaknesses, they are more likely to project those deficiencies. It is all about the self-fulling prophecy theory in psychology- if you think you are going to do badly on a test, you will do worse than if you thought positively. I remember Dr.Aziz talking about a therapy based treatment used where they reteach you a way to think where you focus on strengths and the positive versus the negative. I think over the course of my life I have unconsciously adopted that coping mechanism.

I am unfortunately one of the people who have anxiety, depression, and ADHD in their genes, but throughout my life, with the help of modern medicine, I have been flourishing. Like in Keyes’ model of complete mental health/flourishing, you can have a mental illness and still be flourishing. That was something that I found surprising with the Keye’s model is that you can be defined as not flourishing but also not have a mental illness, and vice versa. However, it wasn’t until when I took the VIA test that I realized medicine wasn’t the only thing that contributed to me being happy. I had always been pretty optimistic and positive; my slogan is “it is what it is,” but when I took the VIA strength survey I was pleasantly surprised when hope was ranked number one. Until I took that survey I never really realized how much hope I had. I realized that having hope for the future and being optimistic got me through most things in life. Easy or hard, that drive for the future and looking through things with a positive perspective helped make me the flourished person I am today.

Image source:

Reporter, Microsoft. Hope. Digital image. Microsoft News Centre Europe. Microsoft, 20 June 2017. Web. 1 Oct. 2017. <>.
Blog Post 1

Blog Post 1

We have learned so much these past few weeks in Science of Happiness. We have learned about Keyes Flourishing model, genetic influences on behavior, depression and anxiety, and cultivating our character strengths. Furthermore, all of these topics we covered in class were very interesting and new to me. More importantly, all of the topics seemed to have one common theme in that the main goal was for people to lead a more happy and healthy lifestyle.

There were many new things we learned, but the most new and most surprising would definitely have be when we talked about the Keyes Flourishing Model. I was surprised to learn that even though someone has a mental illness they could be flourishing, while someone who might be completely normal could be languishing. It was fascinating to see that mental illness did not necessarily play a part in determining whether a person is flourishing or languishing.

There were also exercises that we did that applied to my daily life as well, one of them being the VIA survey. The VIA survey was interesting because it was a comprehensive list of certain types of strengths put in order from greater strengths to weaker strengths. When I saw my results, I was kind of surprised by the first one on the list, fairness. I never really thought about it much but I guess I could see that I was a pretty fair person most of the time. I would try to be fair in all aspects of my life, whether it be something as simple as food or something as big as a group project. I also always strive to be fair and objective when making important decisions. All in all, it was interesting to see how involved my character strengths were in my daily life.

Overall, the past few weeks of Science of Happiness have been an amazing adventure of knowledge and self awareness that has been changing my way of perceiving life. Hopefully, I can continue to learn and grow throughout the semester.


Science of Happiness Blog Post 1

Science of Happiness Blog Post 1

Science of Happiness is my first class Monday morning and my last class on Fridays (thank god). It begins and ends my week with the suggestion that I should be happy. This is something I still find mildly confusing. No class has ever asked me to evaluate my own well being in further depth than a teacher asking how my day has gone. As someone who loves taking personality quizzes anyway, I was not surprised that the joy of this class was in the self reflective nature of the assignments and the ease with which I can apply the subject matter to my own life.

The first topic we addressed in class provided a brief history of the drives behind psychology as a field and confronted the way America views happiness. The Keyes Flourishing scale and accompanying article provided a wonderful intro into the field of positive psychology. The biggest and most relevant take away for me was in the multi dimensional approach to flourishing and mental health. I greatly appreciate the notion that someone struggling with a mental illness can still control their own wellbeing and learn to flourish. As someone that has struggled with anxiety and BDD, it is heartening to know that, according to science, my holistic wellbeing is largely in my own hands.

My family on my mother’s side is riddled with anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. My family on my father’s side tends toward addiction and depression with a few bouts of dementia thrown in the mix. It does not at all surprise me that, much like I have my mother’s hair and my father’s nose, I am a commingling of both flawed and wonderful mental characteristics from each side of my genes (as well as my own unique experiences). I appreciated the lesson on genetics most for the debate between nature and nurture. I, personally, always favor the nurture side of the debate. It seems more optimistic. Because even though the family tree assignment showed that I have a fairly high likelihood of an addictive personality I know that I am not an addict and that I will work very hard my whole life to never be one.  

When we discussed depression and anxiety in class however, I found it jarringly relatable. In my hometown, Charlottesville, I had a wonderful therapist I saw each Monday at 4 to help me stay happy and functional, to flourish in the face of hardship. Now, I have Biology each monday at four and no therapist whatsoever. I will eventually get a therapist here in Richmond, but until then what I’ve learned in this class has actually helped me quite a bit. When I get caught in my own head and breathing becomes a struggle, I often do the simple mindfulness exercise where I focus intently on how one thing looks, and sounds, and feels. It brings me back to reality. I think this exercise relates to my greatest strength shown on the VIA survey: appreciation of beauty and excellence. Noticing and appreciating my surroundings allows me to feel grounded and proud of the beauty around me and I would love to learn more about how individual strengths help overcome individual issues and mental problems in this way.

The information about positive psychology as a field was mostly a review for me after having taken psychology and AP Psych in high school, however the application of it to ourselves was something new to me. Though I would like to study abnormal psychology primarily, it seems more and more evident to me that in any field of study positive psych can and should be applied to take into account one’s own strengths and well being and the strengths and well being of others. I will certainly try to apply what I learn in this class to my own happiness for years to come.

The picture I chose is from I liked this picture because the person is holding a mind in their hand and I would like to think this class is teaching me to hold my own mind (well being) in my hands.

blog post 1

blog post 1

“You can have a mental illness and still be flourishing”. As soon as I heard that sentence I realized I knew a lot less about happiness than I thought. From the very first week of this course my idea of what happiness and mental health truly are was challenged, starting with the Keyes Flourishing Scale. Through this I learned that mental illness and mental health are too different things and that by focusing just on helping mentally ill patients become less ill, we are not necessarily making them mentally healthy. In fact, the whole notion of being mentally healthy and happy stems from a separate branch of psychology called Positive Psychology. Positive psychology looks at focusing on building ones virtues and strengths to help them feel more successful. I really enjoyed the VIA strengths survey because it allowed me to relate to the study of positive psychology personally. After learning about what complete mental health looks like, we got into mental illnesses and how they effect our society. Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are not always easy to talk about, but I think everyone deserves to be educated on them. What really brought all these different topics together, in my opinion, was looking at how genetics and wellbeing are related. Genetics make up half of the reason why some are happier than others or some are more prone to developing an addiction than others. I was familiar with the “nature vs nurture” debate, but this was the first time I got a complete break down of how much genetics/our environment played a part in shaping who we are as people. I’m excited to continue this course and use the knowledge I’m gaining to live a healthier and happier life. 

SOH-Fall17 Blog Post 1

SOH-Fall17 Blog Post 1

For the past few weeks in science of happiness we talked about Flourishing and discussing our Keyes model it was very surprising to me because i like to take surveys about myself on how to 

find happiness in my own life. When i was reading the article on Genetic Influences it was really new

 to me because it really surprised me with different topics on Genetic influences to learn more about Genetic’s in behavior’s in every day life situation’s. The next topic that we learned in class was about depression and anxiety and mood states when i was reading


the article on depression’s the article really Surprised me because sometimes hollywood Star’s and singer’s can struggle and develop or suffer from disorders from depression that they have issues with in life. If you want to be happy or not there are other ways to deal with your problems with mood swings or mood states everybody gets down in life even celebrities to if your having trouble with depression you can see a counselor. The next area of topic that we talked about is Positive psychology i understood how positive psychology relate to each other because they talked about positive individual traits about positive qualities and civic virtue in life. Positive psychology is about our way of thinking about being positive in our own life. The next topic we talked about is about discovering our character strengths everyone has different strengths and weakness that makes us unique because everyone has different aspects of their own strengths and weakness about ourselves. If we combine our strengths and weakness to our personality’s we could learn from college students about differences in our character’s strengths and weakness about ourselves so we can find happiness in our own personal life.    image source

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Here is another user post with an image – Trying to put an image here. And come long content.

eco tech


The box-sizing property can make building CSS layouts easier and a lot more intuitive. It’s such a boon for developers that here at CSS-Tricks we observe International Box-Sizing Awareness Day in February.

But, how is it so helpful and beloved that it deserves its own internet holiday? Time for a little bit of CSS history.

#Box Model History

Since the dawn of CSS, the box model has worked like this by default:

width + padding + border = actual visible/rendered width of an element’s box

height + padding + border = actual visible/rendered height of an element’s box

This can be a little counter-intuitive, since the width and height you set for an element both go out the window as soon as you start adding padding and borders to the element.

Back in the old days of web design, early versions of Internet Explorer (<= IE6) handled the box model differently when it was in “quirks mode”. The “quirks” box model worked like this: width = actual visible/rendered width of an element’s box height = actual visible/rendered height of an element’s box The border and padding values were moved inside the element’s box, cutting into the width/height of the box rather than expanding it.