I am going to start this post off with a favorite quote of mine by Samuel Smiles. Read it and think, but not too hard or you will miss the point.
Now to start you off down the whirl winds of my life these past few years and still to this day. . .
I’m not going to lie, when I first saw the title of this class I was very intrigued! All I could think about was what lessons I could learn and show to everyone how to “be happy”. I even hoped there was a textbook so I could share it with my family, because these last couple years have been, for lack of a better word, shitty. Every corner in life ended with our family burying someone we loved, whether it was a pet or my beloved grandmother.
When we had to complete the Keyes’ Model of Complete Mental Health activity, I wasn’t very surprised that I scored as moderately mentally healthy. I am happy with my relationship with my loving family and boyfriend. Aside from my happy life on the outside and in my heart, I still feel like I am stuck in the middle. I am stuck in the middle between the past and my future. Being told many times that I dwell on the past, but how can you fully look towards the future after dealing with so much death. Then bad thoughts being stuck in your head. But these first six weeks have taught me something very important, that I wish my family could understand. That through the hard times comes a light at the end of the tunnel with something good. An interesting twin study, using identical twins, helped tie loose ends together when entwining all the lessons. The first six weeks have been helpful in ways beyond imaginable.
As we went on through the course we read an interesting article about promoting and protecting mental health. A very shocking statement in this article said, “the search for and discovery of a cure for mental illness. . . could further bankrupt the US”. Over all this activity showed that in the with the absence of a mental illness doesn’t mean that I am mentally healthy.
Many things help me with coping with the blues or feeling out of place. A few of them are meditation, reading as an escape, and working to the point where I forget why I was feeling this way. I also have an amazing boyfriend, family and friends who love me and are there when I need them. My mom and boyfriend in particular pick up on the little things when I am not acting like myself. It is hard for me to be open with people after it seemed like death was on my doorstep awaiting another soul to take, I became very depressed. I stayed in my room for days on end and sometimes without eating. Missed days of work and many classes, did not pay attention to anything around me. I was stuck in my head with bad thoughts flying around.
“Why did this happen to me?” “Would it be a better place if my parents didn’t have the burden of dealing with my issues after we just lost so much?”
To this day, these thoughts still come back to haunt me, but I found someone who will listen without a hesitation, come to my rescue when needed and be there through thick and thin. Every day, I ask myself “how did I get so lucky to call this handsome man mine”.
Positive psychology is just what you think it is, positive thinking and feeling. Not only does positive psychology help with your inner self but also on the outside too. Inside it will help with your concentration, boots in alertness and motivation, overall just being MINDFUL! On the outside people will see a change in the way you carry yourself. There are many things that you can do to increase you positive thinking in life like meditation, writing down your feelings, and scheduling ‘ME’ time.
Towards the end of our first six weeks we took another survey to calculate our strengths and weaknesses. My top strength, appreciation of beauty and excellence, didn’t surprise me. I tend to catch myself starring off into the sky or towards nature when I am outside, seeing how peaceful it is. It reminds me of an assignment I had to do during middle school; the instructions for the assignment were to sit outside and write down what you feel and what you hear. As I sat outside at my picnic table with my three dogs running around the yard I focused in on what I hear, the wind tickling the trees as it passed by and my dogs playfully barking at each other. What shocked me as I sat there for a long period of time, I was content and happy as I sat there admiring the beauty of nature. As I tuned in on how I felt other than my contentment, I was happy. I had everything I could ever wish for and not material riches, I’m talking about a loving supportive family and animals who look up to me for food and shelter and unforgiving love (even when Snoopy stole my peanut butter crackers out of a drawer). You could call this practicing meditation; but to this day I find myself thinking about who I am and what I will become one day.
Cited sources for photos: