The Individual and Mutual Benefits of Forgiveness

In their article titled, “Efficacy of Psychotherapeutic Interventions to Promote Forgiveness: A Meta-Analysis,” authors Nathaniel Wade, Julia Kidwell, William Hoyt, and Everett Worthington investigate the phenomenon of forgiveness, as well as the treatments in which forgiveness is fostered. According to the authors, forgiveness is defined by “the reduction of vengeful and angry thoughts, feelings, and motives that may be accompanied by an increase in some form of positive thoughts, feelings, and motives toward the offending person” (Hoyt, Kidwell, Wade, and Worthington 1). In this way, intervention methods such as Enright’s treatment model or the REACH Forgiveness model may be implemented in efforts to aid an individual in forgiving their offender(s). Additionally, forgiveness intervention methods may be implemented on an individual, couple, or group basis. Needless to say, the more severe the offense, the harder it is for the victim to achieve forgiveness, even in the presence of an apology and/or intervention method. However, should forgiveness be achieved, its effect is especially advantageous, enabling self-growth and even aiding in the treatment of depression and anxiety.

I found this article to be interesting and, above all, compelling.  Although it has not entirely swayed my original opinion regarding forgiveness (i.e. that some offenses are unforgivable), it has certainly influenced it. In particular, it has influenced my opinion of forgiveness by identifying the personal, rather than mutual, benefits of forgiveness. In this way, I am [more] inclined to forgive former offenders, if not for their sake, for my own.



I really enjoyed this week’s article. I think relationships play a vital role in someone’s overall happiness. Whether it is with your significant other, friend, or family member, the relationship will either have a positive or negative effect on your life. I like how in the article it talked about how not only your parents have a role in someones future relationships, but also key moments throughout one’s life doe as well. In addition to that, on page 10 of the article it talks about how attached you are to your parents plays a role in future adult relationships and conflict solving. I thought this was interesting but I was not surprise because of the experiences I have witnessed.

I am looking forward to this week’s classes because I think everybody can relate to relationship and a lot of us find it interesting.

Silver linings for depression

I really liked this article because I’ve been excited to talk about depression and how that factors into the Science of Happiness. I think it is incredibly important to talk about depression in this class because as the article mentioned, it is one of the biggest health problems globally.  I know so many people with depression, in my family and in my life, and it has huge effects that people only recently started talking about. I’m happy that this article explores the exact science behind this mental illness, because I know for sure that it is constantly disregarded as laziness and dramatizations.

My question for the class is do you think that positive psychology interventions like the ones we learned last week would be effective for helping people out of depression?


From reading the article about depression in teens it talks about how many teenagers gothrough depression from many ways. I learned from this article that depression happens a lot forteenagers and for other people. In the article it explains about the examples of what causes teenagers tobe depressed. What depression means to me is that it’s a type of emotion that shows how a person isfeeling unhappy about something. Depression for teenagers can result from couple of reasons like forexample if someone got a bad grade on a test or quiz. Another reason might be if someone is having abad day and are just not seeming to do something right.

Since depression happens for teenagers and other people there is always solutions that can help. From reading this article I have understood how depression can happen for anybody. Everything from this article about depression for teenagers was helping me understand how it happens and why it happens. The main thing here is that if depression happens then it can vary in lots of emotional problems. So the best thing I learned about depression from this article about how it is based with all sorts of situations and emotions and the last thing I learned from this article was that if depression happens so much then finding ways to reduce it will definitely help overcome it.



My experience this semester has been very growing. I completely believe that this course has changed me- irrevocably. It has made me exam my attitudes and behaviors. The course has encouraged me to take a deep, honest, holistic look at my intentions and myself. During this process, I have found certain actions or behaviors that don’t match my goals or authentic purpose. Such behaviors include: being down on myself; judging myself or others; bringing negativity into situations; acting on feelings of negativity or making decisions based on negative emotions; complaining when things are challenging; generally just not looking at situations in positive light.

Now whenever I feel the urge to take one of those actions, I think about a why I am feeling that negativity, and try to fix that instead of acting with a negative behavior. Sometimes it doesn’t work! Sometimes I still get grumpy. Sometimes my partner or friends have to remind me not to be down on myself.   But more and more often, I am catching myself before I have that negative reaction. I am beginning to be able to change the tone of the narrative in my head to one of acceptance and gratitude- one of love and non-judgment. I attribute this to both the tremendous amount of work I have put into myself, and the teachings from this course that have helped steer me in the right direction, that have been my road map showing me where to put my energy into.

I also have now truly come to believe that simply studying happiness and thinking about happiness makes me happier. It makes sense- we are all shaped by our experiences. Because of this course, the pathways in my brain that are about happiness have gotten a lot more firmly established. The energy that I used to put into thinking about how to fix my negativity, or reflecting on why I felt negative, now go to instead, focusing on how to be happy. This course introduced positive psychology into my life, and made me realize that I BELIEVE! IT WORKS!

I was in a pretty rough spot at the end of last semester. Coming into this semester, I knew I had to change my attitude if I wanted to change my life. I knew I had to actively try to be more positive and happy. Which is why I literally checked for an open seat in this class everyday for about two weeks. I’m pretty sure it was something like a day or two before add-drop that I actually got in. Thank goodness I did. I knew that I needed this course- I needed help achieving my goal of a positive mindset. I knew it would be hard, and I knew I couldn’t do it alone. And while I still have much growth ahead of me, I can firmly say that this class has positively impacted me so much, and helped me get closer to living my authentic life. I will carry the teachings and lessons for the rest of my happy days.



With the knowledge I’ve gained over the semester, I can say that I’ve received enough information that will help me with personal problems. In the beginning of the semester, I’ve stated that I’ve always had an issue with focusing on negativity and letting negativity get to me. I don’t deal with stress too well, so when I do stress, it affects me physically. I don’t eat as much, so I lose weight. I tend to sleep A LOT. Just things that I do not normally do. The positive thinking and stress management topics really benefitted me. Today, I’m so much better at being positive. Just recently, I was down and stressing about not yet having a post-graduation job lined up. Two interviews down, and no job offer. But, I started to think on a positive note that there is a job much better waiting for me. Because of this class, I’m able to get over the negative.


I think this class has had many ups and downs for me. I learned the mechanics to stress management, my strengths and how to think outside of my tiny box. I learned that they’re not weaknesses, but rather “lesser strengths” and should be treated as things we can improve on. I learned that taking a 2 minute break can be okay and relying on the help of others doesn’t make you incapable of completing a difficult task on your own,  but brave for being willing to ask for help. My favorite thing about this class were those two minute breaks. I could feel my body trying to relax from its constant state of tenseness, and bringing me back to a place of serenity. I think this class could use a huge facelift on the structure and content load, but other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I don’t really understand my pre and post survey, and it’s results so I can’t really comment on that at the moment. I think creating a calendar together, with the class, could be extremely beneficial to what the students need to know and should be aware of. Setting everything up on a syllabus truly showed that hearing it in person is much easier to understand.

Thanks for a great semester.



When I first started this course I did not know what to expect from it.  At first  I did not think I would get so much helpful information that I could use in the future and more detailed information about things I did not know.  This course has provided me with different techniques on how to deal with stress.  Something I liked best about this class is doing the 2 min warm up exercise. It is very helpful because I am always busy during the day and its never seems like I have time  to breathe and relax.  After being giving back my pre and post course self ratings, my scores are the opposite of what they were before.  Such as if in the pre ratings if one score is high in one category than it is lower in the post self ratings.   I do not think this class has fully changed me but it definitely has  given me a different outlook on things.  I have learned my weaknessess, goals and have even written a mission statement,

13. Final Reflection

13. Final Reflection




I feel like I have gained a broader understanding and appreciation for A LOT of things when it came to this class. My post course ratings were a bit higher also. What stuck with me the most was mindfulness. I often find myself stopping at certain points of the day or in many cases/situations and thinking things through. I think this will really help me in many aspects of my life in the long run. Something else that really got to me, was taking the time to meditate. I don’t do that nearly enough and I felt tons better after doing it in class. I genuinely hope it’s something that I can pick up and make a habit out of.


Another thing that I loved was ready everyone else’s posts over the past few months. Hearing insights, personal stories and feedback from my peers definitely had its perks. Often we pretend that we don’t want nor appreciate the viewpoint of others but it doesn’t have to be nearly as negative as it’s made out to be. I’m super happy to have had this experience that’s opened my eyes a little more to the world and people around me. Even though I can fully accept and understand that things aren’t what I want them to be right now, I have a lot of tools now to keep moving forward.  I hope I’m not the only one that’s gained a little something. To anyone reading this, thank you for taking this trip with me. I wish everyone much success and happiness in the future. Don’t sweat the small things and remember that everything seems impossible, until it’s done. Please, keep going~




[Vital Information for Your Everyday Life]

The Science of Happiness

When I first received the email introducing me to the opportunity of enrolling myself in the new Science of happiness course at VCU, I thought it was too good to be true. I have witnessed the stigma and silence that clouds mental health in more than one place in this nation. The uncomfortable approach to the subject of mental health we have settled for has taken an enormous toll on our society’s health culture, encouraging confused teenagers to succumb to the bizarre myths that grow daily. That being said, I was so excited to sign up for this class not only to expand my awareness and education of mental health but also to integrate the health practices learned in class into my daily life to fulfill my healthiest potential.

While I was expecting the course to adopt the generic ‘educational’ format, it became a pleasant surprise when I realized that it was more than your average classroom lecture and more so ‘applicably interactive’. It really put me on the spot and forced some uncomfortable realizations at times. Not only were some thoughts faced during this semester painfully honest in nature, but mastering control on the brain when it has been wired to respond to certain emotions a specific way for so long was by far the hardest challenge for me to overcome. I would catch myself experiencing emotional strain and immediately respond by applying de-stressor methods from class.

My pre-course self-ratings for the class were pretty low, but the improvement in my post-course self-ratings most likely improved because of this very acquired self-awareness of directional thought. Before taking this class, I thought reacting upon what I automatically felt was emotional honesty in its most organic sense. It wasn’t until being exposed to techniques like positive psychology and mindfulness that I realized that that doesn’t always have to be the case. It was so refreshing, opening my mind up to happier and brighter alternatives.

I think a class requirement that really helped me get there were these blog posts. You can walk away with such better insight after a lengthy reflection, and reflecting fully and wholly on the weekly material helped me to further grasp the impact of feeding positivity into your brain even in the most frustrating of situations. When you allot yourself time to become conscious about what type of influences and emotional energy you’re emitting out into the world, it makes you want to thrive in mental health as much as possible.

Week of May 2

Wow, this semester has been crazy. Even taking fewer credits, I felt overwhelmed probably 90% of the time. When I look back on it though, there are only a few changes I would make. From class, using positive thinking is the best way to recap what I experienced this semester and how I can make an action plan to change it for next semester.

I loved traveling with the band, but I wish I was able to come home to grieve my grandmother’s passing. In hindsight, everyone was incredibly supportive and I had never felt so at home 1,290 miles away.

I loved living in my own apartment, but I wish I had gotten to know my roommate better before we decided to live together. Now I know what kind of person I am when I’m on my own and deciding to live at home next year means I was able to get my first car.

I loved all my classes, but I wish I hadn’t let my anxiety take over me when the going got tough. Now I know stress management and mindfulness exercises to help me recenter instead of spiraling down.

     In class, my pre and post test scores weren’t all that surprising. On my pretest, my negative score was 33, on the post it was 23, a 10 point change! My positive went up by 9, so over all the difference in scores on the pre was 6 (with negative being greater) and the post was 13 (with positive being greater). I can absolutely feel the change in myself even if the semester got out of hand at sometimes. On the well being tracker, I can see that my weekly feelings fluctuated a lot, but the differences were less sharp at the end than the beginning. Emotionally, my score went up  by 0.7, which I can see as being just a day-to-day change. Socially, I went up by 1.4, which I can attribute to finding a new best friend and getting close with her. Psychologically, I went up by 2.2, the biggest difference. While my depression lessened, my anxiety worsened, so I’m really surprised about this score going up so much. Overall, there was a 1.54 increase, which doesn’t surprise me too much as things weren’t really going my way at the beginning of the year. When I got out of my anxiety cloud, I improved in all aspects.
     This class has been immensely helpful, even amidst all the assignments and quick lessons. Mindfulness is one of the biggest things I took out of it because it was something we practiced every day before class. I loved the personality traits and strength finding lessons because I like to know about myself, what negative situations I might be prone to, and then how to get through them and act appropriately. Specifically the Strength Finder was great to know because it gave me a lot of insight for my career.
     Thank you to all the professors who came to speak with us and especially the team that worked together to pull the class together. I wish you all the best of luck next semester, passing on the invaluable lessons we learned this year to the next generation on Rams!


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

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

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

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

we did it!

It’s All Over :(

It’s All Over :(

My pre- and post-course self-ratings were about the same. That came as a little bit of a surprise because I definitely feel different. I’ve learned ways to cope with anxiety, bedtime habits to get the best rest possible, eating habits to feel more energized and healthy, and on and on. So, yes, taking this course most definitely changed me in the best ways possible. I feel more equipped to deal with stress (which is HUGE with me being an, at times, overly-ambitious college student). I also just feel more relaxed and peaceful which I can accredit to the large focus on mindfulness in this course – don’t change that!!!

I wake up feeling excited to see what I can make of the day ahead of me with the new skills and knowledge I have gained. I constantly share new things from class and readings with the people around me in hopes that it will affect them as much as it has affected me – and I think it has, even if they roll their eyes every time I say, “Guys, listen to this!”

No course has ever given me so much that I hold with me when I leave the classroom. I really feel that I can actively and successfully pursue a happier life, a happier self, and encourage everyone to do the same.

End of the Semester Wrap-up

This semester I’ve definitely learned a lot about myself, and this class has had a huge part to play in that. One of my biggest realizations was that just about everything that this class has taught me about being happy has the scientific evidence that really backs up what I’ve always believed about being happy by just living my life. For the longest time I was always wondered if the things that I do to keep myself joyful actually applied to other people. To test the waters, I’ve shared my experiences with what’s made me happy before, and what things I’ve done to try and see the best in others and how that’s affected me, and I was honestly surprised to see that a lot of people agreed with what I was saying. I didn’t think anyone would, and to also see how this was reflected in the lectures in class really made me think,”Whoa! So there’s actually scientific evidence to all this!” It made me remember more concretely that being happy, truly and long lastingly happy, requires that we look outside of ourselves rather than trying to look inward in self-isolation. Being around people you love, challenging yourself, growing in knowledge, becoming more humble, doing what’s best for others and yourself, and not just what feels good in the moment, are things that I’ve found to be what really boosts happiness in people. Looking at my ratings, I notice not much has really changed. That’s not to say that I’ve been doing badly, but it kind of shows me that I’ve been relatively consistent in maintaining myself, despite the stresses that came with the semester. I hope that, looking back, this class isn’t just another class for me, but something that I can carry with me for the rest of my life.

Thank you

Thank you

I feel more opinionated after going through the Science of Happiness. We have learned ways to help each other, and identified things that cause hurt. I am more certain of the types of people I want to surround myself with. Lessons in mindfulness and forgiveness came to me at a good time. I feel better prepared now to cope with life’s issues and inspire happiness in others.

I can see more.

I can see more.

When I heard in class that many people either improved, stayed the same, or declined, I thought “Oh, no. The worse one is probably me.” Lo and behold, I was right. I just think that in the beginning of the course, I was excited when school had started and was ready to go into class thinking it was going to be fun. Now that we have come to an end, I am just a bit exhausted. My studying is a little more intense than how other people study and takes up a majority of my time each day. This way of studying is super exhausting and I had to double up on this way of studying for two classes. The results of the intense studying were great, but it has taken a toll on me mentally. I’m just mentally exhausted now that the end is nearing and I think that reflected on my well-being score.

I don’t believe I’m any different in well-being overall from the beginning to now. I think I was influenced on how I felt on that day that I took the survey. Just like any other days, when I am in a bad mood, it reflects on my whole day, but the next day I’ll be just fine. My mood mainly depends on what happens during that day.

I don’t think this course has changed me much. It just introduced to me a lot of concepts and experiences. Mindfulness was an interesting topic. I got to think about myself in the present as opposed to having my mind racing elsewhere. I learned that it was important to be grounded in where I was currently and just to be mindful of what is around me and how I was feeling. Most of the time, my day flies by and I don’t recall a lot of things simply due to me being focused on other aspects.

Mindfulness has changed how I approach things now. I am more aware of my self and not so much in my head all the time. I actually see more of my day and remember more as well. That one class with Dr. Brown and the raisin experiment made me aware of how we are programmed to do and not think now. We don’t savor the way a raisin feels and tastes, we just eat it. That’s like how some of my days are. I just do what I need to do like go to class, study, and so on, but I don’t think about my walks to classes, how I feel while walking, or the little activities happening around me. We miss so much of what is right in front of our eyes.

Going back to my scores on the survey, I still believe that my mood on that day reflected on how my scores were on the notecards. I wasn’t being mindful that day and it shows. I believe my numbers would be the same as it were from the beginning of the year. If all my testing days were over by the time I took the wellbeing survey, I’m positive that the scores would be higher.

12: Moving forward

12: Moving forward

Interestingly, my post-course self-rating scales increased in all categories in ccomparison to my pre-course scales.  Although five months is a short amount of time, this course has certainly introduced me to topics and areas that I hope remember beyond this semester.  One of my favorite lectures was on positive emotions by Dr. Armstrong in the very beginning of the course.  A lot of what she talked about hit home with me and brought some perspective into my own life.  Everyone finds happiness in different ways, but we express it s12: Moving forwardimilarly in laughter, love, and hope.  Express gratitude daily to those you care about, do nice to others, and live every moment to its fullest potential.  I’ve learned especially this semester that being proactive is difficult and wanting change requires a lot of hard effort and self-discipline.  However, small little adjustments can create meaningful change that will make an even more lasting impact in our lives.



Tyra’s Experience

Tyra’s Experience

I think through this class, I have learned to control my anger and to be more considerate of others. I learned about communication and that science is more than just experiments. In regards to my scores, in the beginning they were ok, but now they are somewhat better. I think I have especially improved on my anger management and my focus. This course has made me a little better, but I don’t believe a person can really change who they are. In my opinion, personality and interests and certain things are about people don’t change.

The professors were nice and they were good at what they did. All the professors were super great. My favorite class was the self-control/self-management class because it helped me work through some things. Out of the exercises we learned, I think I will use the two minute pause the most. I think it was really relaxing. Overall, this class has helped me greatly mature.

12. EAT

I was given the EAT assignment. Which I thought was hilarious because that’s all I do anyway. I thought this was going to be a piece of cake. No pun intended. (ok, maybe just a little.) It was quite the contrary actually. I never realized how erratic my eating was until I had to keep track of it. Some days I’d have a full breakfast, some days I didn’t have anything at all. Sometimes I’d eat multiple times a day and others only once. One day I would go all day without drinking any kind of fluids. Some days I’d barely eat anything and also have this unquenchable thirst. I decided to take a closer look at why I displayed such strange dietary patterns. Many factors play a role in how I eat, when I eat and also how I feel before, during and after. I noticed how the other two categories for this project of Sleep and Move can be direct factors also. If I don’t get enough sleep, I am tired the next day. This makes it hard for me to get going and I end up running late. And if I’m running late I don’t have time to grab anything to eat. It’s all a chain reaction. Also, moving and lack thereof can/will contribute to dietary irregularities.  It was rather hard to also keep up with my emotions during this time. I personally often feel a whole range of them at any given time. But one thing I am 100% sure about- is that I am a stress-eater.

Doing this activity has given me a lot of perspective on how much better I could be eating and how important it is to set a routine so that the other factors of sleep and move can play a more proper role. It’s not the prettiest of reminders but it definitely was necessary. I guess this means that I’ll be working a lot harder to find that happy medium.



I had the great pleasure of tracking my poor eating habits!! This week had been stressed filled and full of meetings. I have to be at  work everyday at 7: 30am. I am not a morning person so eating breakfast is out! I then have class everyday at 2pm. My classes end at 6:45pm or 9:40. Unfortunately this means I am eating on the go. Mainly processed fast food. This week I tried to eat breakfast. I ate walnuts and raisins, drank a cup of water, juice, or milk. Lunch consisted of a fast food combo meal with a soda. Dinner was optional most nights. I frequently get side tracked and forget about dinner. I learned that I feel better when I eat more balanced meals. Even though we only had to track 3 days I tracked 6.  Three of the days I made a conscious decision to plan out my meals. It was time consuming but I felt a physical change. I had more energy and woke up early to complete a homework assignment as suggested by Professor Dick.  I have decided to try to plan my meals in advance.  I even took my lunch to work 2 days. At first it seemed odd since I don’t take lunch but it saved me a few dollars.


I received the move assignment. I kinda wished I received the sleep assignment because of the fact that I do more of that than being active. I used to be an active person when I was younger, but when I came to college that all changed. One thing I learned was the only time I’m really active is when I’m walking to class. Once I’m home from class, I go straight to my bed to lay down. I think the only thing that is stopping me from moving more is the lack of motivation. I always tell myself that I should go to the gym more to get out more and because I’m so frail. One thing I noticed is that when I actually have the motivation to get up and be up active, I feel wayyyyy better about myself, which is the main reason why I want to be more active. I learned that I need some serious motivation to achieve that goal.


I received the move assignment. I kinda wished I received the sleep assignment because of the fact that I do more of that than being active. I used to be an active person when I was younger, but when I came to college that all changed. One thing I learned was the only time I’m really active is when I’m walking to class. Once I’m home from class, I go straight to my bed to lay down. I think the only thing that is stopping me from moving more is the lack of motivation. I always tell myself that I should go to the gym more to get out more and because I’m so frail. One thing I noticed is that when I actually have the motivation to get up and be up active, I feel wayyyyy better about myself, which is the main reason why I want to be more active. I learned that I need some serious motivation to achieve that goal.

Sleep Journal

Sleep Journal

Tracking my sleep made me realize that I usually sleep 9-10 hours. Dr. Mountcastle mentioned that 7-9 hours is ideal, so I may be oversleeping when I sleep 10 hours. I tend to go to bed between 1am-2am and wake up around 11am. If I ever naturally wake up before 10am, I’ll go back to sleep for another hour or so. It may be a good idea for me to just go ahead and get up when my body wakes up, no matter if I think it’s too early for me. I’ve never signed up for a class that starts earlier than 11am because I know I’m a terrible morning person. I used to sleep 11-14 hours a day and be on the verge of narcolepsy.

My room has to be cool and pitch dark, and the fan needs to be on for me to fall asleep quickly. I absolutely cannot fall asleep in a completely silent room. I need some type of white noise to feel at ease. Generally, I feel decently rested during the day. I only feel super tired when I have to get up earlier than 10am or if I had to pull an all-nighter. I feel most sluggish when I first wake up. If I’m really tired and have the time, I’ll take a nap in the middle of the day. It may benefit me to go to bed earlier and also get up earlier, but I enjoy staying up late. I may try a sleep schedule of going to bed at midnight and getting up at 9am because I really need to start working out again. I have a gym in my apartment building that I’ve never stepped in!

Sleep Journal

Sleep Journal

Tracking my sleep made me realize that I usually sleep 9-10 hours. Dr. Mountcastle mentioned that 7-9 hours is ideal, so I may be oversleeping when I sleep 10 hours. I tend to go to bed between 1am-2am and wake up around 11am. If I ever naturally wake up before 10am, I’ll go back to sleep for another hour or so. It may be a good idea for me to just go ahead and get up when my body wakes up, no matter if I think it’s too early for me. I’ve never signed up for a class that starts earlier than 11am because I know I’m a terrible morning person. I used to sleep 11-14 hours a day and be on the verge of narcolepsy.

My room has to be cool and pitch dark, and the fan needs to be on for me to fall asleep quickly. I absolutely cannot fall asleep in a completely silent room. I need some type of white noise to feel at ease. Generally, I feel decently rested during the day. I only feel super tired when I have to get up earlier than 10am or if I had to pull an all-nighter. I feel most sluggish when I first wake up. If I’m really tired and have the time, I’ll take a nap in the middle of the day. It may benefit me to go to bed earlier and also get up earlier, but I enjoy staying up late. I may try a sleep schedule of going to bed at midnight and getting up at 9am because I really need to start working out again. I have a gym in my apartment building that I’ve never stepped in!

Eat Journal

I think it was funny that I got the “eat” journal because my weight and eating habits have been an issue for me ever since I had scoliosis surgery the summer before my junior year in high school. Before my back surgery, I loved my body and I always had an appetite and I was a healthy weight for my height. However, after having scoliosis surgery, I lost about 20-30 pounds and never gained it back. One of the reasons is because I had to take medication every day for three months and all I would do is sleep and eat one meal a day because I was just not hungry and my body needed time to heal and recover. After the surgery I also started to develop IBS and another medical condition (do not wish to indicate) which hindered my eating as well. Throughout highschool, people always said that I look anorexic and even when I go to the doctors now, they ask if I have an eating disorder and it is really frustrating and tiresome to hear these remarks over and over because they are not true and skinny shaming is really a thing.

However, why I found it funny that I got the eating journal was because this past year I had been working on gaining weight but it just hasn’t been successful. With anxiety, the stresses of college and life itself, eating is something that I find a bother sometimes (especially with the horrible food selection on campus) and gaining weight is just hard with stress. With my food journal, I found that typically in times over lower stress, I tend to eat a lot more but when I have anxiety or I am not in a good mood, I don’t eat as much. I know that I could be eating healthier, foods with more carbs and protein, but with my college budget and limited food selections on campus, it’s hard to not just get campus food when I paid for the meal plan due to how busy I am.

I know that I need to find ways to alleviate stress so that I can gain weight but I don’t think stress ever goes away with age and although I can find ways to alleviate stress, again, with my medical conditions, its challenging to pick foods. However, I do think that my mood dictates my eating habits and I can sit here and tell you that I’m going to make improvements but the reality, is that I am starting to learn to be happy with my body. I know that I am not ever going to gain 20-30 pounds back with my health but I know that I can start eating healthier and eat things with more protein and carbs. And even though doctors will continue asking me if I have an eating disorder, it doesn’t matter because I know my happiness with my body outweighs anyone else’s opinion.

Sleep Habits

Sleep Habits

For this week’s exercise I was assigned to keep a sleep journal.   While writing down things about my sleep habits I learned that everyday its something different.  I can say this week I probably have gotten about 6 hours of sleep everyday.  From the power point it says that the average person should get at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night.  I never go to sleep at the same time every night or even wake up when I am suppose to in the mornings. In class we discussed about hitting your reset button, that if you need extra energy get an extra hour of sleep.    Also, getting enough sleep can improve your mood and supports emotional functioning.  I have learned that maybe if I do not take naps during the day I can go to sleep at a decent time and it can make me fall asleep easier.  What makes me sleep better is turning off the television because it becomes a distraction.  If i hear the television I will want to continue to watch it when I should be going to sleep.  Also, when it rains it helps me sleep better I do not know what it is about rain but it just so soothing.  One thing that I can not deal with while sleeping is the room being hot. I just get all hot, sweaty, and irritated.  I prefer to sleep with the temperature being cold.  When I am well rested I feel as though I can actually get up when my alarm goes off and not keep snoozing it and  when I am well rested I know it will be the start to a good day.  When I am not well rested I feel as though I will not pay attention in my classes as I should be.

My Favorite Thing: Food

My Favorite Thing: Food

I love documenting things and nutrition and all things food so being assigned the food journal was a wonderful coincidence! I already keep track of what I eat daily, although admittedly halfheartedly, so this task was no hiccup in my usual activities.

First I want to comment on something interesting I noticed throughout this week of documenting my meals before Dr. Mountcastle lectured on Wednesday: how much better I felt when I ate better foods. The more natural, whole-grain, unprocessed food I ate, the better I felt. I was way more energized throughout the entire day, I didn’t hit my afternoon slump (during which a nap usually occurs), and I didn’t feel as gross and bloated after eating (as I almost always do after eating, say, iHOP or Panda Express). Noticing this and then hearing what Dr. Mountcastle had to say about plant-based, whole food consumption in lecture has made me really start to pay attention to what I am putting in my body.

The food tracker provided for us to use for this exercise gave me some interesting feedback that the app I normally use does not. It told me how many refined vs. whole grains I ate, how much added sugars were in the foods I consumed, and how much sodium was in my diet that day. I found all of this, and other information the website provided, to be really useful in ensuring I get the right amounts of the right things every day.

Some things that this taught me about my eating habits are 1) I don’t snack as much as I thought I did (go me!), 2) I actually eat relatively healthily given my circumstance of being on a freshman meal plan with basically no healthy foods available, and 3) I have virtually no variety in my diet – it’s the same foods cycled daily (or every few days, at best). Knowing this information and being educated on what kind of balance I should have in my meals, thanks to Dr. Mountcastle, I can now begin to substitute different foods in for ones that I eat every. single. day. and change it up a bit! I am now way too excited to grocery shop and start cooking with this new world of healthy foods in mind!!


Week of April 25

The past week, I was assigned the move journal. I used the tracker online for my journal and found that the food journal was also there, so I started keeping that. I found that it was difficult to only keep one and not the other because they are so closely tied.

Every day, I have a 20 minute uphill walk to class and I (used to) always say it was my workout for the day. I knew it wasn’t nearly enough and I blamed my lack of other exercise on being so busy trying to get work done and being in classes and meetings all day. It used to be difficult to even get out of  bed when it was cold out, but now that it’s warmer, I’m finding that I’m going outside more and doing more physical activities. You could totally blame it on the crazy Virginia weather, but it’s really up to yourself to move more!
On Tuesday, I was lucky enough to be able to take a day off from class and take a mental health day. It started after a (quite embarrassing) early morning breakdown from stress when I went to the park with my dog. We usually go for 2 miles, but I needed more time to  be alone and we ended up going around the 2 mile circuit twice. When I got back in the car, I realized that it was only 8 am; I wouldn’t even have been awake yet if I was in the city. I felt energized and surprisingly, not the least bit groggy. When I arrived home, my mom asked if I wanted to come with her to the office and I was more than happy to be with her. At 11, when my classes would have started, I found that instead of tired and slightly grumpy, I had already been very productive in planning for vacation bible school. I can absolutely attribute this irregular morning productivity to being up early and being active. Starting my day like this is something I hope to do once I start commuting and have more afternoon classes than morning classes and don’t have to worry about rushing into the city.
The same day, I also made better food choices because I was at home and my parents keep healthier food around. After my walk, I came home to orange juice, scrambled eggs, and oatmeal (courtesy of momma!) which is much better than the few crackers or Nutri-Grain bar I would grab at the apartment. On our way to the office, I was able to grab a salad at Kroger topped with all my favorites, which maybe had a little bit more bad-for-you stuff than it should have… But at lunch I found that I was satisfied and didn’t feel like I was in a food coma or still wanting another salad and a half. It balanced out with the exercise I had gotten that morning and what I ate for breakfast. This is the perfect example of how it’s hard to track only food or motion, because they both affect your well being in very similar ways. Morning exercise and/or a good breakfast can leave you energized until lunch time and, when you continue to eat right and move frequently, you’ll have energy all day to live out your happiness.
Journaling About Food: A New Area for Mindfulness?

Journaling About Food: A New Area for Mindfulness?


I’ve kept a food journal at several points throughout my life, as nutrition was a huge deal in my household. A lot of what Professor Mountcastle shared with us in class was things I already knew from my mom- someone who researches nutrition and biology for fun. In my house there were no preservatives, grain fed meats, or any sort of processed foods allowed. I actually put all this knowledge to use serving as a TA for the class “Food for Thought” another topics University course about the food industry. Basically, through several avenues of my life, I know a lot about food and it’s really important to me.


I was a little late to the game on my food journal, I only actually got to record two days, yesterday and today. But what’s surprising to me is that yesterday I really didn’t eat much at all. I skipped breakfast, only having coffee, and then had a small meal, a few snacks and a huge dinner. This is unusual. I also actually exercised three times yesterday, so you’d think I would be famished. But I guess it makes me reflect on how I am inconsistent with food. Today, I ate like every other hour. I’ve been trying to cut out most dairy and processed foods in my diet, which has become much worse since I got to college. It got pretty bad for a while. I have always been pretty sensitive to dairy; it makes me feel sluggish and congested. But sometimes I get in phases where I reach for the ice cream every night- especially when I’m stressed. But since I’ve been making an effort to avoid it, and trying to reach for the broccoli or nuts or bananas instead, I’ve felt like I had more energy and more control. I don’t feel constantly bloated after meals like I did when I had lots of cheese, nor do I feel the need to immediately lie down and take a nap.


The food journal did a good thing for me- it made me think before I put things into my body. I am a vegetarian and I cook almost all my meals myself, as well as grow a few of my own greens and herbs in a raised bed in my back yard. Knowing where food comes from is imperative to me. I only eat meat and eggs if I know the farm that they came from, if I know that the conditions were humane and also that there aren’t any pesticides or hormones involved. I am very privileged that I can afford this luxurious lifestyle- but I also prioritize and shop smartly.


But, despite all this effort and thought that I put in to acquiring my food, this journal has made me realize that I don’t always put as much energy or purpose into consuming the food. I scarf food down- often to the point where I feel kind of sick after I eat. I eat too quickly- I don’t savor. I am not mindful in my eating process, despite the fact that I am so grateful and mindful of how the food got to me. Journaling about eating made me realize how unintentional I was being, and how this might be a reason I get nauseous so often. I don’t slow down to eat. I eat when I’m walking. I eat when I’m talking. I eat mindlessly while watching TV or writing an assignment. I spend all this money and energy on food and then I simply shove it into my mouth without a thought!!


I am trying to be more intentional with my actions in general. It’s funny, because I believe my self to be a very thoughtful person. I over-analyze everything; I put care and emotion into things that I feel others often overlook. Yet I am often careless myself. I am careless with my material possessions- I am very messy and throw my clothes everywhere; I am thoughtless with my body- I often flail my arms when I speak, or when I climb, I just scramble up the wall without making purposeful movements. I trip on a daily basis because I don’t place my feet with intention.



Long story short, this journaling process (even though I didn’t complete the full assignment as I should have; this is important for me to note, I’m trying to take more ownership of my shortcomings. Sometimes I make mistakes or have oversights- this makes me human) has really made me realize that eating is an important part of my life that I need to be more mindful of! My body is my home- I need to treat it with more care!!

A Healthy Heart & Healthy Mind

A Healthy Heart & Healthy Mind


For this weeks exercise I happened to be assigned to the move exercise. This seemed like an extremely relevant and fitting category to journal on for this week’s topic because I play ultimate Frisbee and the past two weeks my team and I have been conditioning and strengthening ourselves for our regional tournament that is coming up. Journaling during this time urged me to examine my physical activity through a variety of different lenses, and in all, gave me more insight on how exercise impacts the supporting health components of my life.

I recorded my physical activity on a five day scale; April 22nd to the 27th. Three of those five days I participated in vigorous workouts that were at least 120 minutes each. Two of the sessions were practices (Sunday morning 10 a.m -noon & Monday 10 p.m.-midnight); these were we spent doing drills that consisted mainly of changing our running speed (begin jogging, accelerate at certain point) and changing the directions of our offensive cuts quickly to escape our defender. The other session was a conditioning session I did on my own time at the gym that included rigorous work such as sprinting and weight lifting. The remaining two days I took place in moderate exercise like walking to class and places on campus and around the city.

Something significant I noticed after my Sunday practice was an instant boost in energy and really just an enhanced yearning to participate in life. I wanted to be up and doing something the remainder of the day, whether it was being outside enjoying the beautiful weather or just doing something like cleaning. I felt motivated to participate and exert my energy into something, which I definitely do not just get every day by waking up. Even during practice the longer I was out on the field, the more I didn’t want to stop.

Something I found even MORE interesting and noteworthy in the way my physical energy affected my moods occurred on the day I practiced ultimate from 10 o clock to midnight. Monday’s are my busiest days of the school week. This past one happened to be one incredibly stressful experience. I had overworked my mind and it depleted me, which had caused me to dread my peculiarly timed night practice. I almost considered not going because I was so drained but I decided that it would be extremely beneficial if I went. After practicing, I found that I didn’t even want to go to sleep I had been instilled with so much energy!

You always hear people saying how good exercise is for your well being. I most definitely could have vouched for that before taking apart in this activity, but I wouldn’t have received the introspective benefits of really evaluating my physical health so closely to my mentality and mood. Being conscious about it, I was able to recognize that exercising through out my daily life can not only boost my energy levels, but also restore my motivation after having almost none. Learning this about myself will be helpful for a healthy future A Healthy Heart & Healthy Mind

Sleep Journal

Sleep Journal

As someone who has suffered from chronic insomnia for many years, I was actually pretty happy I got assigned the sleep journal. I’ve tried logging my sleep habits many times, but I either forget about it or just don’t think it does anything. So having this assignment forced me to actually be consistent which was good for me.

One thing I learned about my sleeping habits was that I’m very inconsistent with how long I sleep and it effects my mood and energy throughout the day. Sometimes I will sleep for 5-6 hours and then sometimes I will sleep for 9-10. I’m never really in the range of 7-8 hours, which was what we discussed in class was ideal.

Another thing I learned was that I usually don’t get tired until very late at night. Personally I enjoy staying up late so this didn’t really surprise me. However, I’ve learned that when I go to bed really late I usually sleep in until at least 11 AM.

One goal I’m choosing to set for myself is to set up a sleep routine at night. I’ve never really had one and I think it’ll help me fall asleep earlier on in the night. This way I won’t be tempted to sleep in the next morning and be more productive during the daytime.

bouncing back

bouncing back


April 25: Resilience and Stress Reduction

On Monday, Dr. Armstrong offered a great lesson about stress and resilience. She described that it is what you experience when you believe you cannot cope with a situation. I love that Armstrong talked about good stress too. She talked about how stress can be an opportunity for growth and learning. If you are stressed and then fail or are not happy with the outcome of the stressful situation you can add that to what I call “your toolkit” to use for the next time that type of stress arises. An example given in class was projects or presentations. Some people do better in the 24 window before the project is due. While others may plan weeks ahead and do better with that method. Clearly everyone handles stress differently. If you switched our two types of people they may become over stressed and not benefit from the stress. Later when accessing their tool kits they can reassess how to deal with their stress for the best possible outcome. “Learn from your past to make changes to your future.”

Resilience can be talked about in almost every aspect of life.  The 7 factors are empathy, impulse control, emotion awareness and control, realistic optimism, reaching out, self-efficacy, and flexible thinking. When applying it to stress reduction it can be very beneficial to a person’s mental health.

From the Journal of American College Health, the study of Female College Students examines a interesting idea. Does mindfulness contribute to positive physical health in College Students? As a Science of Happiness student I am like, “YES DUH!” But these studies are so important for people who are not as lucky as I am to be enrolled in a University that offers such classes. I believe as a class webouncing back have done a lot of work with mindfulness and I have spread that to my entire life and to those around me. I also strongly believe that sleep, exercise and healthy food consumption is just as important. Being assigned the Food Journal was very beneficial to me because it spread my mindfulness brain into the food aspect of my life. (which is a very big one) I do exercise and practice yoga. I would like to do ballet more often but I think I am doing well in the physical aspect, I just need to put in some work on the healthy diet part.

April 27: Physical well-being

This past week I was assigned an “eat” journal/exercise. My task was to track my food consumption using SuperTracker created by the US Dept. of Agriculture. I also kept a written journal about my experience with the food I ate throughout the week. Depending on how much time I had or didn’t have my food experiences were VASTLY different. It is so crazy that if you take a moment to think about something you do all the time, habitually – you can learn a lot.

The first thing that stuck out to me was that I don’t eat as often as I think I do. I also had many other discoveries:

  1. I drink too much coffee
  2. I drink wine very often
  3. I really like mixed nuts
  4. I like fruit more than vegetables
  5. I eat on the run A LOT – too much
  6. I eat croissants as meals very often
  7. I don’t eat breakfast when I have early classes/work

Ironically, my most favorite experience with food this past week was with a plum. This was no ordinary plum. It saved me from my stomach growling all through ballet class and accompanied me on my way down the elevator to my car. It was so delicious and juicy. The juice was all over my hand when I finished it. The elevator changed the taste of my plum for a second because they must have just mopped it with a potent batch of Pine Sol. I thought about how great it is that another fruit (the lemon) can be used in cleaning products. Then I thought about how I was running very late for ballet class and my instructor would be extremely upset if I was late. Nonetheless through all this I enjoyed the plum the most.

Things I would like to change:

  1. I would like to plan my meals more often so I have food to eat even when on-the-go.
  2. I’d like to start eating more vegetables.
  3. try to stop drinking so much coffee
  4. eat a more substantial breakfast and lunch while eating a smaller dinner.

If asked to do this LAST week I would have been proud to announce I cooked every meal I ate. I LOVE Pinterest and I get great recipe ideas.

Here is what I tried last week:

H O N E Y  S R I R A C H A  C H I C K E N

bouncing back

bouncing back

bouncing back

If you’d like to try and make it yourself here is the recipe I used! Enjoy!


 Readings and Viewings:

1. Murphy M.J., Mermelstein L.C., Edwards K.M., Gidycz CA. The benefits of dis-positional mindfulness in physical health: a longitudinal study of female college students. J Am Coll Health. 2012;60(5):341-8.

2. Buettner D. How to live to be 100. TEDTalk.


Dear Journal,…

My assignment for this week was to jot down everything I ate for 3-5 days. This was pretty easy for me because I already record what I eat during the day, how much I exercise, and my goals. I decided to start this project on Monday the 25th, mostly because I was gone all weekend at VA Beach for a field hockey tournament and considering we had to eat out for every meal I didn’t quite stick to my normal healthy eating… oops.

Monday May 25th

I was back in my normal routine at VCU and started the day with banana. For lunch that day I had a sub with turkey, whose american cheese, spinach, lettuce, and pickles on whole wheat bread. So good! For dinner, my best friend asked me to eat at Shafer (I know I know) with her and that usually always leads to me eating more than I should. I had a ground turkey and cheese quesadilla and 1/4 of a waffle with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream on top.

Tuesday May 26th

I woke up around 9 o’clock and had an apple and a rice cake with peanut butter for breakfast. Yummy! For lunch I made myself a peanut butter and raspberry preserve sandwich on wheat bread with a package of tuna fish. This Tuesday happened to be a very special Tuesday. It was my 2 year anniversary with my boyfriend Jack! Now considering I am running dangerously low on swipes (I had 3 at the time) I was really hoping we would go out to dinner.. and we did!! We went to a place called The Boathouse and it was amazing! For dinner we had muscles, shrimp, crab, oysters, and lobster! He knows how to take a girl on a date! That was without a doubt the best dinner I have ever had as a poor college girl.

Wednesday May 27th

I got a late start on breakfast and did not eat until around 11 am. I had an apple (I try to have an apple every morning for energy!) and maple brown sugar oatmeal. I have never been an oatmeal lover but I decided to give it a chance and I thought it would be a good idea to put a spoonful of peanut butter in it. WRONG!! It was way too sweet for my liking! I didn’t finish it and I will definitely not be wasting a good spoonful of peanut butter again. For lunch I decided to use one of three swipes I had left. I got a half salad with spring leaves, carrots, tomatoes, sunflower seed kernels, salmon, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing with a side of three bean chili. It was amazing! I went to the gym at 7 o’clock that evening and finished around 8:30 pm. For dinner I knew I needed a lot of protein so I made a peanut butter and raspberry preserve sandwich on wheat bread and a chocolate protein shake, which are very good incentives to work out!

What I learned from this and actually already knew is that I tend to eat pretty healthy! My diet does no consist of fried, greasy, or junk food. I know I feel a lot better about myself when I eat clean and I exercise. I love to look in the mirror and see my progress and see a better a me!

I (don’t) like to move it

I’m going to be completely honest with all of you, I hated this assignment because I was assigned “move.” I was truly hoping to get assigned my area of expertise (sleep), but this was out of my realm of judgment, so I digress. I realized this week how much I absolutely hate walking to class and moving around in general. I only enjoy moving when it’s my choice, on my terms, when it’s not absolutely boiling outside. Also, my skin condition severely hinders me from moving / working out, simply because of the fact that I do not sweat- but that’s another story. I learned that walking at night is much more fun because I like the silence on campus when it’s dark out. I tend to move better when I’m not sweating, when I’ve slept well, and when I’m in the mood to do it. Something that really hinders my movement is a flare up with my skin condition, and lack of sleep. I think if I had the choice, I’d get rid of my skin condition and the excess heat so I could move more often, because I truly do enjoy working out, but it’s just not a possibility. I notice that I count my steps much more frequently than I thought and that the days that I spent in bed all day, I was in dire need of more water. So on those days, I’ll be sure to have plenty of water, a good stretch, and an evening stroll with some friends ☺️

you are what you eat?

you are what you eat?

Last week, I was assigned to the ‘eat’ exercise. I did something like this in high school, having to log in everything I ate during the day for an entire week. It got old really fast, and sometimes I forgot to even do it. I didn’t care. Why does it matter what I eat? Why is something like this a grade? These are some of the questions I asked my ignorant high school self. During that time I was a pretty healthy person, but I didn’t understand why logging everything you chew and swallow on a website mattered. To me it was just a waste of time. The importance of it never got through to me. My mindset completely changed this week.

Logging my meals on SuperTracker and keeping up with the journal held me accountable. It opened my eyes to the things I’m putting into my body and the moods I’m in when I do so. Looking at my journal, I notice that when I was in a bad mood or feeling stressed I either didn’t eat at all or ate too much. When I overate, I was typically eating foods that aren’t nutritious or beneficial to my health. Welcome to college, right? No. Being an “overworked” college student isn’t an excuse to treat my body like this.If anything, I should be helping it when I’m not happy or stressed. In class we discussed that too much or too little of essential nutrients can disrupt how our body functions, and I certainly don’t want that. My body does so much for me, not to mention I only have one, and I should start to thank it with a healthier diet. I was a “health freak” when I first came to college, exercising for hours every day and always being conscious of what I ate. Since my freshman year, I have gotten busier and busier, which caused me to start putting my health on the back burner. This week made me realize that this isn’t okay. I won’t give up cheeseburgers and pizza ever, but the activity this week made me realize that I need to be more aware of what I’m eating. Something else I have started to think about is that what I eat is closely related to the amount of sleep I get and how often I exercise. When I sleep well, I eat well. When I exercise, I do the same. This all greatly affects my mood and what I am able to get done during the day. Logging in what you eat isn’t a waste of time because it has the ability to change your entire outlook on what you put into your body and the way you will move forward in the future. Eat the cake, pull the all nighter, and skip the treadmill. It’s okay. What’s important is that these behaviors don’t become a pattern.



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

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

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

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



I found that I got less sleep than the CDC recommendation. Most nights I’ll get a solid eight hours in though. When tests or deadlines upcoming it can be beneficial to lose sleep and put in work. Today’s math test was much harder than anticipated, so I’m glad I took the extra time to prepare. As long as I get five good nights of sleep per week, my performance is only marginally worse, if not the same. I definitely don’t feel well when I’m sleep deprived, but it means a better grade in the end.



I would like 9 hours.

I would like 9 hours.

I was assigned to the sleep journal. I noticed I mainly surf the web until I feel sleepy enough to go to sleep. I don’t set a specific time for me to go to sleep unless it’s getting really late to the point where my sleep is not optimal. Just like Dr. Dick, I always put sleep before work. I try to get as much sleep as I can and it typically alternates depending on what day it is. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I have a 9 AM class which means I get less sleep the day before, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, my first class doesn’t start until 12:30, which means I get way more sleep than needed. So I alternate between 9 hours of sleep and 6. The maximum amount of hours of sleep I get is 9, if I were to go past that, I would develop a bad headache.

There are multiple factors that make my sleep better like having the fan going in my room. It provides the coolness and a white noise. I cannot sleep in total silence nor in a hot room. Studying can act as both a barrier and an inducer of sleep. I make sure I get all the studying I need for that day which means I cannot go to sleep yet. But at the same time, it’s boring enough where my mind starts to get tired.

When I’m well rested, I can function fully. During this experiment, I wasn’t deprived of sleep so I can’t say much about myself during this time. A few months ago, I went to a concert and didn’t sleep until 3 AM and I had to get up at 7AM, which meant I was deprived of just 2 hours, but those two hours made a huge difference. I was not able to focus at all. I had a headache, couldn’t retain information, and just focusing in general was not something I could do that day. The minimal of 6 hours if what helps get me through the day, but with the full 9 hours, I can function optimally. This goes perfectly with Dr. Mountcastle’s lecture. The recommended number of hours is about 7-9 hours.

Tyra on her feet

Tyra on her feet

While I would rather do anything else in the world than exercise, I like to be fun and creative. I like to live in a place I call “Tyra Land.” I hate running and sports, but I love to dance. I love to be creative and think outside the box. Dancing may be the closest thing I can get to magic, and I desperately want it.

While dancing, I am on my feet. Dancing is a great way to burn off calories. It also helps calm me down, mellow me out, and balance my mood. Exercise makes people happier, which makes people less likely to do bad things. When I am dancing, I go to my happy place. Dancing is my version of exercise and my motivation to move.

Sleep Journal

Sleep Journal


Saturday I went to a concert then went out so I went to bed super late at like 2:30. My sleep was super easy and uninterrupted. I slept until 10:30 and laid in bed until 11:00, so I got in 8 hours but didn’t really feel well rested since I had been out the night before.

Sunday we had a cookout and were outside playing with puppies for most of the day so I was looking forward to sleeping! My boyfriend prefers to fall asleep while watching Netflix, but sometimes that’s a barrier for me and I have to turn it off. I fell asleep around midnight and slept until 9:30/10:00. I’ve always gotten more sleep than most people so 8-10 hours a night is pretty standard for me. I’m also coming out of some mental health problems so I think that may have something to do with it.

Monday I was finally back in Richmond and I finished my homework around 10:30, made a snack and went to bed. I am really bad about eating before bed, but I hadn’t had time to eat during the day much so it was necessary! I watched a few Netflix episodes and fell asleep around 12:00. I woke up at 8:00 and decided to sleep in until 10:00 because I felt exhausted from the weekend. I woke up refreshed, which is always nice! I felt lasting energy throughout the day as well.

Tuesday I was energized all day doing schoolwork and eventually going to the VCU baseball game. I felt super productive and did laundry, cleaned the apartment, and finished my goals for the day. That night I easily fell asleep around midnight and woke up at 9:30 am feeling refreshed.

I find that I definitely feel more well rested when I immediately wake up and don’t lay in bed for a while. I’m pretty lazy though and looove my bed so sometimes that’s a struggle.  If I get up and make breakfast or do yoga then I’m kickstarting my mood and mindset for the day. I find that light is a sleep disturbance. I tend to toss and turn in the morning when the light comes through. One way to improve my sleep would to stop eating before bed.

Sleep Journal

Move Journal

Move Journal

I was very happy to be assigned the move journal. About two months ago I started making an effort to go to the gym everyday and l keep track of my progress. I usually hit the arc machine. This journal exercise was particularly easy for me because I always do 50 minutes on the arc machine at a moderate speed, so it was easy to keep track of what  I was doing. I wasn’t a fan of the website used for tracking…I thought it was a little busy. I prefer Lose It! app. It made me proud to be able to see all of what I’d been doing and keeping up with my resolution.

11: You snooze, you…. win?

11: You snooze, you…. win?

For this week’s assignment, I was given the task to keep a sleep journal.  Overall, I found this daily log to be helpful in recognizing my sleeping habits and patterns.  Although I don’t suffer from any sleeping disorders like insomnia or breathing difficulties while sleeping, I still think there is valuable information in consistently recording about the quality and quantity of sleep I received.  On average, I found that I was getting about 6-6.5 hours a night and the quality of my sleep was rated mostly 8-9 out of 10.  This is pretty ideal for me.  With this amount, I’m able to fully-function, maintain focus, and not feel lethargic.  Typically, I am in bed by 11:30PM or 12AM (the latest) and awake at 6AM.  On occasions where I am unable to meet 6 hours of sleep, I take full advantage of taking naps when time permits and situations allows me to.  I notice that taking 15-25 minutes to recharge boosts my energy level immediately and is completely effective.  Interestingly, I noticed that it doesn’t take me long to fall asleep.  In fact, 2-5 minutes was the average length of time.  I think I’m one of those who could fall asleep anywhere and anytime.  Additionally, I think the room temperature makes the most difference in my quality of my sleep.  I’m extremely sensitive to temperature and trying to fall asleep in a bedroom that is too warm is probably the most uncomfortable thing for me.  As emphasized by Dr. Mountcastle, the consequences of sleep deprivation is costly to our bodies as we are not allowing our brains to “re11: You snooze, you…. win?st.”  Although we all have experienced situations where it might have negatively influence our sleep, I hope we can recognize the effects it has on our well-being and productivity in the long run.  Whether you were assigned to do the physical activity, food, or sleep journal, these exercise allows you to recognize and acknowledge any irregular habits and behaviors you might have and even encourage you to seek appropriate help if needed. 

Sustainable Change

Sustainable Change

I kind of appreciate the idea of self deception and how prevalent it can be in a business/corporation setting and how that can perpetuate itself and inspire a negative culture within an organization. Putting it into those terms made it more accessible for someone like me who isn’t particularly fond of a more touchy feel approach.


It made it easier for me to recognize those things in myself (like gossip, rumours and other negative behaviors) and stop justifying them to myself as much as I had in the past.

I’m sad because its inspired me to go out and find healthier coping mechanisms to deal with some of the negative habits I’d gotten into (sad because I’m a senior). I hope making better habits will make me better and be more sustainable.


Positive Polly not Debbie Downer

Positive Polly not Debbie Downer

I enjoyed the reading and class discussion. The “in the box” analogy stood out to me.  When we are “in the box,” we see things in terms of the self-justifying images that we’ve created. We see people who challenge these images as threats and those who reinforce these images as allies. Hence perpetuating the cycle. I have chosen to view this context in a positive aspect as well. I know that it is easier to blame others instead of taking ownership of our own actions but I have decided to own my own b.s. and jump off the negative band wagon. I am reminded of the saying if you friends jump off a bridge will you too? No I will not!  I beat to my own drum and I am accepting positive band members!

Week of April 18th

Preparing for this week was difficult for me because of the Emotional Alchemy selection. From the topic and title, I figured it would be about interactions with people and maybe why we do or don’t get along with certain people. What I read though put me through a loop. The first section is titled “Abandonment” and the last thing in my mind was that it would describe me. I got about half way through and realized that I match all of the actions, but not the initial reasons for the behaviors. I grew up with very loving parents, having my needs met and more, not a broken family and a reason to feel like I was left. However, when people ask the ice breaker question “What is your biggest fear?”, the answer is always being alone. I started reading bits and pieces out loud to my friend and even she said she could see this in me, but that it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. She proceeded to talk about how because of this, I make good friends very quickly and have many enduring friendships. I can see where this is good, but as it says in the article, it can turn bad, especially in romantic relationships. I’m testing myself now with this schema because my boyfriend goes to Hampden-Sydney and it’s been difficult trying to not be “clingy” and letting him do his own thing at school. It’s been going well, which is a huge improvement for me and is teaching me how to be okay without another person by my side all the time.

I thought that the uncomfortable stuff was over, but then I got to the next section about deprivation. I don’t fit  this entirely, but I do see resemblance when they talk about how a person with this schema often takes care of others incessantly while not meeting their own needs. I do this all the time, but mostly because I get joy out of taking care of people. I used to have a hard time remembering to take care of myself, but now I’ll make sure my needs are met  before I go out of my way to help. This definitely comes off as narcissistic, but when you’re learning you have to be strict about it and then you can loosen up and change how you do things. I’m finally at the point where I’m able to help others while caring for myself at the same time.
Reading the rest of the schemas, I noticed how each one brought a different person in my life to mind. I think this shows how diverse we are and that sometimes interactions are difficult but not because we don’t like a person. I can see how some may clash, press each others hot buttons, and cause a rift. While we are all different in this way, we are all the same in how we can solve these conflicts by identifying how we see the situation, how the other person sees it, and then resolving the disagreement. Too often we are in the wrong mindset in our own little box and are not open to seeing the other person’s point of view. It’s when we get out of the box that we are able to identify each others needs and have a heart of peace.
Self-Deception keeps us in the box

Self-Deception keeps us in the box

I think what really stuck out to me this week was Dr. Wu pong’s two examples, the conversation with her mom and when she showed that negativity spreads more negativity. The conversation with her mom made me reflect on my own conversation with my mom and how important it is to not only be on the phone but to actually really listen to what she is saying because often times we get so wrapped up into our own lives that our loved ones lives are important as well. The next example she gave related more closely with our readings about “being inside of the box” and how we humans like to find commonality in negativity and it just takes one to break that cycle. I think what is sad is that we still find this type of behavior in college and unfortunately it will be hard to break that negativity cycle because it’s just easier to go with the popular response. However, more specifically, it ties to our reading on Leadership and self-deception, and how both leadership skills and recognizing and understanding one’s own self-deception is pivotal in resolving conflicts. However, realizing self-deception is hard, because often times it takes true reflection and self-awareness to realize that we may be contributing to a certain problem or even prolonging an issue. However, it is also hard because of the selfishness aspect of self-decption and how we naturally are born with a high regard of ourselves where we always feel that our actions are justified or prideful of what we do and what this does is keeps us in the box. It makes the box that we are stuck in exemplify that we are a part of those inner lines that frame the box. We are contributing to the constricting box and to get out of it is to rethink and reassess our surroundings and current situations and see what our own action is doing to contribute to the situation.

I think this is relevant to my life because I have been working on forgiving my boyfriend for something and I think that I am not helping myself feel better by constantly remind him of what he did. I think there has to be a point where you have to see that, although you may be expressing your feelings, your feelings shouldn’t necessarily guide your actions. I think based on our discussion and readings, I will continue to always reflect on what I am doing in a situation. I think when we begin to do this, we are able to be out of the box.

in the box

in the box

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

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

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

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

Coming Out of the Box

Coming Out of the Box

At a time in age where everyone believes in obtaining the highest level of triumph for themselves and themselves only, I think it takes an individual who is extremely self-aware to approach this topic of self-deception and immediately recognize it as a detectible behavior. Upon being introduced to the concept of the text Leadership and Self-Deception early on, it was difficult to uncover my actions of self-deception that I disguise in my every day life. It was even more difficult to face the fact that these components are slyly tweaking my intentions, whether it is conscious to my being or not. Moving deeper into the text, these self-deception ‘tools’ we use to meet a certain ‘end’ became clearer and clearer. It amazed me how indistinguishable the two can seem—the act of self-deception itself and whatever tactic we use to mask it.


The whole time I was engaged in this reading, I couldn’t help but to think of how the modern world has done nothing but to fuel this unfortunately egotistical theory. We are in the heart of a genius innovative and competitive time where new discoveries are knocking each other off of pedestals, and it’s our people who are pushed so rigorously by the system to fulfill these miraculous inventions. I feel like the competition seeps into our heads, and spills out onto every domain of our life.


I believe that is where this self-deception is rooted. A lot of individuals have adapted the idea that the only things that deserve genuine trust and care are ourselves, so that makes it right to do absolutely everything for ourselves as we are further diminishing the humanness of all of the other’s. It implants the mindset that we have to fend for ourselves; that we need to strengthen strictly ourselves, as we view others as merely objects on our path to success, knocking them aside if they’re in our way. All alone, we get stuck “in the box”, and are after our sheltered goal where we act in averse ways to obtain it. What I think the Arbinger Institute meant by what being ‘in the box’ was that they were trying to compare these selfish motives to being restricted in a box: blind, dangerous, and the presence of a lack of surroundings and outside resources.


Making these inferences while reading made me think of what my current role is in the professional world and my role in other’s people’s lives and how I either hinder or help them reach their goals at the expense of my own. Reading about self-deception made me want to minimize the passive acts I make towards the people around me. One important thing this book brought to my attention was the significance in the fact that we may neither act wrong nor right, but right it off as being appropriate to ourselves. I plan to utilize this by being a more conscious presence as a listener towards others and also a more active participant in their lives.


I never thought of identifying my schemas or hot buttons (as Dr. Wu-Pong referred to them in class) as a constructive tool used to assess and practice my self-control towards others in those provoking moments. After reading Emotional Alchemy, I had this revelation that these rituals of annoyance is something we like to overplay in our day to day lives, almost willingly, so these averse reactions that we display for people become ignorantly habitual. Maybe a reason these accomplishments seem so far fetched for me is because I have yet to reach a comfortable mental inner peace fully welcoming and accepting the whole plethora of my thoughts.


No one wants to face the fact that they may deliberately shut down the opportunities of others for their own good, or even worse, that these actions can be depicted in a robotic manner and not even seem familiar to the very person who is portraying these actions. Reading about how to properly treat others throughout our personal and professional lives as well as actively integrating the lives of others into our life objectives will change the way I approach and live alongside others when they are trying to shine on their own.

11. Mediocrity?

This week  came as something that I needed to hear. Although I’ve been working on myself with this particular set of topics- I needed more things to help solidify my mindset.

So this week, I got back the results of a project that I had worked really hard on. Hand drawn, great storyline and all original characters are what I thought made my project (a children’s book about the economic concept of trade) a great one! Even if it wasn’t an A+ I would have been happy with a B. However, I was given a C. To many people, it’s not that huge of a deal- but to me, all I heard/saw/felt was that I was “a mediocre artist who has no real understanding of economic concepts”. Now, that may or may have not been the case- but nothing stopped me from giving myself a hard time about it. Could it just be my “Artist-Sensitivity”? Or my constant internal struggle to prove myself in the best ways I know how (maybe even to people that I don’t need to prove anything at all to. This all comes with the concept of the “Invisible Audience” that we’re currently discussing in my Human Development class.) Even though the schema of perfectionism is not 100% there- it’s the attention to detail that drives me nuts! I don’t think it’s necessary to downplay my work and personal accomplishments out of fear that they won’t be properly recognized- but to celebrate and embrace them on my own and remember that anything done is for my own betterment and personal growth.

Although there were other hard-hitting topics that were covered this week- this was the most relevant. I think this is giving me more initiative to take a good look at myself and the way I operate- as well as others. Being focused on one’s self so often can surely take away from seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. It’s even interesting to think about how others see you. This is something that I’ll be thinking about and paying more attention to.

The Box

Before reading this  book I had never seriously thought about my triggers, hot words, or even the notion of having a box to hide in, but now I see  a pattern in my own life, as well as all around me. Dr. Wupong talked about how she felt when a colleague didn’t treat her the way she had hoped and it ended up influencing her to act differently than normal. This corresponds with my life as a college student living with roommates. It’s very easy to be annoyed and look for an outlet to speak to and complain to! The problem is the chain reaction that follows. I know that I try to sympathize with people when they are complaining about someone in their lives, but at what cost? We’re all human and make mistakes, and no one perfectly aligns. It’s important to take life with a grain of salt and treat others as you want to be treated.

Dr. Wupong’s assignment packet really helped me think of new ways of coping with negative emotions, and keep me from going in the box. It’s important to know what ticks you off, but it’s even more important to know how to find your equilibrium again. I enjoyed the reading and found Dr. Wupong’s lectures to be both insightful and meaningful. This week was definitely a week of material that I will use in the future.

forgiving myself enough to come out of the box

I think these past two classes have been interesting. Some things we’ve spoken about have been really sensitive for me to think about, mostly because I don’t like myself enough to want to focus on myself and only myself. Coming out of the box is frustrating because it forces me to face my fears about myself and life. I’m constantly seeking approval from others, but I also have a faux confidence that makes me think that no one else matters, therefore their opinions don’t matter. So it’s easy for me to put myself in this box, ignoring other peoples’ feelings, but then when I’m in the box, all I can do is think of myself, and if I don’t like myself, that can be a pain too.. I don’t know, I feel like I’m not making any sense. I’m sorry to whomever is reading this. I just want to like myself enough to care. About anything. Because I’m currently at a place in life where nothing really matters to me at all. I want to make a positive impact somehow. I think I just need to start with forgiving myself and learning to like myself, no matter how messed up I am. I think the first sustainable change I can make is caring enough about myself to continue getting up every day and going to classes and finishing my work. I think I owe that much to myself. If I can do that, I think I can move forward to making more changes that will help me in other aspects of my life. So I think I’ll start there.

Baby steps, I suppose.

Don’t Just Think Outside the Box, Be Out of the Box!

Don’t Just Think Outside the Box, Be Out of the Box!

This week’s topic came at a really good time. Monday night my boyfriend and I had a fight. In the heat of the moment I wasn’t thinking clearly, but when I calmed down I thought about the “out of the box” concept. Neither me nor my boyfriend were thinking about the other’s feelings. Worse yet, the argument was over something very stupid. In hindsight, I think I started the argument in relation to my abandonment issues and exacerbated it. My boyfriend’s reaction to our argument was to simply ignore me and cut me off. I didn’t hear from him for over 24 hours. I drove myself crazy during that time with thoughts like “he doesn’t care about me”, “he’s probably thinking about breaking up with me”, and “he would never love me anyway”. I think this also goes along with the deprivation and unlovability schema (which I can see in myself anyway).

Once we started talking, I felt very silly about the whole situation. Though I still feel justified in feeling hurt for being ignored, I should not have reacted the way I did. To try to get a hold of my issues, I could try the steps listed in our reading: acknowledge what’s going on, be open to my feelings, notice my thoughts, what do they remind me of, and look for a pattern. These issues are probably what has lead to past failed relationships. Next time an argument begins to brew, I need to step back and assess the situation before I react. I need to make an effort if I ever hope to improve.


Now enjoy this sad looking Yoshi, who also has abandonment issues.

Think Outside the Box

Think Outside the Box

I really enjoyed this week’s lesson about social well-being and self-awareness because I think this is important knowledge and life skills to have. In the book Leadership and Self-Deception, it specifically states that self-deception “determines one’s experience in every aspect of life” and I find this absolutely true because your personal perceptive of how you view the world creates your reality (Arbinger). The concept of being “in the box” and “out of the box” stood out to me because it’s a really great metaphor for something that everyone has had an experience with. We’ve all had moments when our egos take over and cloud our view of how we’re treating others, and we’ve all been in that position where we’ve collaborated with others to achieve a common goal in a productive way.

Dr. Wu-Pong’s demonstration of “office politics” was really easy to follow because I have been in situations like that at work. Working for my mother’s business exposed me to this concept really early on. As the boss’ daughter, I worked “out of the box,” trying my hardest to work as a team with my coworkers to achieve maximum results within the business. However, many of my coworkers had a very strong “in the box” mindset and would constantly be fighting and competing with each other. They were so focused on their individual success as a coach that they couldn’t see the bigger picture that the company’s overall success benefits all. Allies were created and in the end there was no efficient way to work with these conflicting employees. This goes to show that having an “in the box” mindset not only effects the person itself but that consequences can have a ripple effect.

One way I can improve on working to get out of the box is learning how to be on time for things. I’m a master procrastinator and consistently late for almost everything (I was voted more likely to be late for graduation for my high school superlative.. and I was). It’s a terrible habit and I never paid any consequences for it. However, lately I’ve had people show up late for meetings, not contribute their work for group assignments on time, and I’m starting to understand how inconvenient and disrespectful it is to others. I never really cared about how others felt which is a prime example of self-deception. It’s a selfish thing to not account for other people’s feelings for being late and I’m going to try to manage my time better. It’s going to take some time to kick the habit, but I plan on slowly starting to plan to arrive to places at least 5 minutes earlier than I have to and do my homework as soon as I can. Hopefully working on this habit will allow me to get “out of the box” and increase my efficiency when working with others.


Forgiveness breaks the cycle

Forgiveness breaks the cycle

The readings and class discussion have been relevant to my life as a leader. While I have been at odds with a particular member of my organization, I realize that putting myself “in the box” is a great way to destroy morale and trust. Setting a company norm for forgiveness is the only way to turn this negative into something positive.

My plan is to follow Dr. Worthington’s teachings. Though I found his workbook grueling,  I feel closer now to emotional forgiveness. Because the organization is important to me, I will not perpetuate the cycle.

out of the box

out of the box

I thought this week’s material was sort of complicated, but extremely beneficial at the same time. In class we talked about being “in the box” and how it involves us being blind to our roles in certain relationships. It’s seeing people as irrelevant and labeling them as unimportant. In the book “Leadership and Self-Deception”, Tom is definitely “in the box”. He creates problems unknowingly and by being in the box, he perpetuates his conflicts and makes them worse. Dr. Wu-Pong made the point that people oftentimes perpetuate problems by finding allies in others, which just leads to collusion. I am definitely guilty of this at times because I want people to agree with me and be on my side even when I know I’m wrong. I quickly learned that this “satisfaction” doesn’t last long and only makes matters worse. Dr. Wu-Pong also told a story about her mom and how when she called to talk about her day, she listened but didn’t hear what her mom had to say. She gave quick answers without true acknowledgement. This is something I tend to do. When people talk to me about things they are interested in or want to share, I don’t always hear what they have to say or respond in ways that show I care. Dr. Wu-Pong made the point that people can pick up on our behaviors, and I totally agree. She also said that we are hard wired to be hypocrites. This comes into play in my own life because I expect everyone to listen to what I have to say, but I don’t even listen to them. As said in class “we create the behavior we criticize”. We tend to complain when we are treated in ways we don’t like or approve of, without even realizing that we may be exhibiting the exact same behavior. This is something I wish to change moving forward. I need to focus more on how I am behaving towards others instead of only worrying about how others are behaving towards me.

Another thing we discussed in class were hot buttons and schemas. Dr. Wu-Pong described how schemas are our emotional personalities and how we view the world. She said that the way we view things is oftentimes distorted because we can either see things that aren’t there or amplify what is already present. One of my biggest hot buttons is when I feel as if I’m not being appreciated by those I care about. When I feel this way, I tell myself I’m not doing enough, which just leads to me getting upset and shutting down. I now realize I feel this way due to how I view the world. When reading “Emotional Alchemy”, a lot of the schemas applied to me but the one that hit home the most was perfectionism. I am extremely hard on myself when I don’t get the results I want. As it said in the article, this causes me to work much harder than I have to, which 100% relates to me. I always go above and beyond while holding myself to very high standards, but it just ends up making me feel that everything I do is never good enough. This schema pushes me to the point where I become so stressed that my relationships and “ability to enjoy life’s pleasures” rapidly decline. I feel that I’m doing so much for not only myself, but for others, and when they don’t “recognize” it, I tell myself I’m unworthy. Because I’m a perfectionist I push myself to do more and more, which causes me to feel unappreciated when I now realize that I actually am  appreciated. We talked about flipping our maladaptive beliefs in class and thinking about how we are being treated in a different light. When I think I’m not being appreciated, I’m probably the one not being appreciative or that person is appreciating me, but because I hold myself and others to such a high standard due to my perfectionism, I can’t even see it.

This week was really important to me and it made me realize how I view the world is how others may view me. It’s important to approach relationships with a heart @ peace like Dr. Wu-Pong said. I’m going to carry this with me in the future because treating people like objects never helps a situation. Recognizing our schemas while treating people like people is how I think we can become much better versions of ourselves.

Dinner with Tyra

Dinner with Tyra

The other night I was out with my mom at a restaurant. There was a woman there who led people to the tables, who was popping bubble gum and talking on her cell phone at the same time. I thought she was so rude, which made me not want to eat there. I angrily told the lady to get off her cell phone. Sometimes when things don’t go my way, I tend to overreact and act like a brat or a kid. I think maybe she had her own problems and issues going on in her life. You never really know what is going on in someone else’s head. If I knew something was going on with her, I may have not have said anything to her. I would have just stayed in my happy place. I can’t block out everything that annoys me, but I will try to find people and places that make me relax, so I can stay in my happy place.

out of the box

out of the box

Social Well Being & Self Awareness

Leadership & Self Deception // Emotional Alchemy

As Doctor Wu-Pong started her lecture “Do Unto Others,” I had no idea the level of relevance it would have on my day and what happened earlier that morning. We talked about the basic problems in relationships and discussed our book, Leadership & Self Deception but what really struck me was Wu-Pong’s personal example about a frequent conversation with her mother. I thought to myself, “oh my goodness that’s me.” It really hit me on a few levels not only had I gone back to thinking like before I completed Dr. Worthington’s Path to Humility Workbook but I had just talked and interacted with my mother in the most negative way.

Dr Wu-Pong mentioned how her mother would go on and on about how her home was, what she had to eat, etc and while I’m listening to this story I’m thinking in my head, “the mother sounds self-interested, boring etc.” The irony of this situation is that I perfectly fell into the routine of finding someone else’s faults and not looking at my own. Not only was I easily able to see myself listening to my own mother with no interest or care about what she was saying to me but 30 minutes earlier I was actually “listening” to my mother go on and on and feeling the same way. This ended up in a horrible fight over the phone which was all emotion based and became very confusing to try and work out. It’s really crazy how life plays out sometimes. If I hadn’t gone to class today I wouldn’t have seen me being upset or the situation with my mom as a personal problem. Before I walked into class I was blaming the argument and feelings on my mother but when I left I had a much different view.

This, of course, applies directly with our book Leadership & Self Deception. In the book we learn about the phrase, “in the box.” I think I was as far in the box as one could be this morning when arguing with my mother. I was completely blind to my role in the situation and on top of that, refused to see my mother’s thoughts. While I don’t think I would say I saw my mother as irrelevant I think my actions and words could have been taken that way.

In class we learned that we are unfortunately hard-wired to be hypocrites. This was exemplified in my argument with my mother when I was mad at her for doing the same thing I was doing.

We also talked a lot about our “hot buttons” and how we react to them. We used the “office politics” example in class but I was using my common theme: my mother. I found it eerily similar and that upset me. I don’t ever want to think of office politics like I think of my relationship with my mother.

The next day, after some time to cool down my mom and I talked about what had happened and I suggested she read the book too! We are working towards not letting little situations like this not get in the way of our wonderful relationship.

{this weekend my mom came down to Richmond and we painted}

out of the box

This week we also read about Emotional Alchemy and being aware of your own Schemas. We read personal stories about people experiencing unlovability, mistrust, subjugation, deprivation, and abandonmentThe reading explores each schema and when they are active for different people. While it was very inform-full to read people’s direct stories and learn about how people react to the situations I found it helpful that our reading included a five step plan to help guide you when you are feeling very upset or really caught up in your present feelings.

  1. Acknowledge what’s going on.
  2. Be open to your feelings.
  3. Notice your thoughts.
  4. What does this remind you of?
  5. Look for a pattern.

I’ve read over these steps a few times and I am working on really trying to internalize them to use when needed. I am am a very emotion driven person when I am upset. I am usually very level-headed and fairly calm in most situations when it comes to reaction. This all changes for me when I get really upset. In recent years, since I have noticed it I have been working on why I get so upset. This 5 step guide really lays it out for you to move forward more positively. I really like that this is not geared to trying to squash your emotional reactions but digging deeper to find the meaning behind them for your personal development.

I want to challenge myself to go through this plan each time I feel unusually emotional in one of the schema categories. I want to use this technique in coordination with getting out of my own “box.” I think these two ideas will be hard to work on, especially together, but I will continue to try and use my experiences for growth.

A Quote to Guide my Actions

“If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?”


Let’s get “Out of the Box”

The book that we read over the last week was a great read!  The insight that was given was great, even in the first few pages.  It brought my own attributes and attitudes to my attention.  I realized that I do the same exact things as Joe and Bud.  I claim to think of others or as my grandmother would say, “call myself thinking about somebody else,” but I am not necesarilly viewing all of their needs and wants and actively listening.

I also liked the activity we did in class involving the cycle of negative thoughts and behaviors.  It was so easy to get caught up in that.  I do that all the time, instead of just following my initial intuition and doing what is right.

Moving forward, I am going to work on the things that I have noticed about myself through this book.  I plan to change myself.  I complain about others and what they do and how they make me feel, but now all I can think about is how that must make them feel.  I will use the little list in the back of the book to help me remember how to work on these things in my own life.

SOH – juanita jackson 2016-04-02 17:03:43

SOH – juanita jackson 2016-04-02 17:03:43


This week I did several acts of kindness. Most of it was done out of my normal habit but this this time I focused on the persons reaction.

My first act of kindness was accidental! I was being the potato chip loving person I am. I patiently waited for my turn at the vending machine when the girl in front of me chips got stuck. Oh no I wanted those. Now I was faced with a huge dilemma…try to get the same chips or make another selection?  I chose to risk my cravings and follow her lead. I inserted my $1.25 and slowly two bags of chips fell! Mam I got your chips I said. She turned with a smile and said you didn’t have to do that. I told her it was no problem I like these chips too!

My second act of kindness was sharing my parking slip. I had purchased 2 hours but only needed 45mins. I saw a woman parking and told her she could have the remaining hour and 15 mins. She seemed relieved. No one likes paying the City of Richmond so why not share!

I felt happy that I could help with even the small things. Like I said before NO ACT OF KINDNESS HOWEVER SMALL IS WAISTED. Since I focused intently on doing these acts of kindness I see how doing something unexpected, giving a smile which can improve someone’s day or cheer someone up, goes a long way. I plan on doing more acts of kindness throughout my day.

Act of Kindness

Over the week, I was able to be there for someone who was going through hard times. They felt comfortable enough to break down to me about some bad news that they received. I basically prayed for them and gave them some positive advice. The next day they were in a much better mood, and they told me they appreciated me for my kind act. Just knowing I was able to take someone out of a dark place and helped them have a better day brings me genuine happiness. It makes me want to continue to help others be happy. Not so they can appreciate me, but I know that I would want someone to help and be there for me if I’m ever in a bad situation.

Acts of Kindness

Acts of Kindness

This week had a focus on positive emotions. As stated in the Fredrickson article, positive emotions can improve overall emotional wellbeing. One act of kindness I did this week is give my boyfriend a small gift. He has been down this week because he got in a car accident a few days ago, and I wanted to lift his spirits. We both felt positive emotions from the act and felt good. I felt like a good, supportive girlfriend.

The second act of kindness I did occurred at work. A woman was trying to buy diapers and wipes for her infant, but she was a dollar short. I gave her the dollar so she could buy what she needed for her baby. It made me feel good to help a struggling mother.

The picture I provided is an example of a small act of kindness that can mean the word to someone.

Always Progressing

This week focused on positive emotions and forgiveness/humility. We read about positivity and how it seems  to be fundamental to human progress.  The reading talks about how positive emotions benefit us and are a huge part of positive psychology.  It explained how positive emotions help us to adapt to life better and create social bonds.

In class we also talked about positive emotions as well and the benefits of them.  Wednesday was a bit more based on forgiveness and mercy.  We talked about the movie, “The Mission,” and then discussed what we heard in the story.  I really enjoyed that activity.

Two acts of kindness that I performed this week are babysitting and helped someone prepare for a test!  helped my sister get some free time and rest, which is awesome. Babysitting  She has two new jobs so she needs it.  Helping a friend prepare for a test really helped him.  I think he got a 92.  He was really grateful.  Doing both of these things made me feel helpful and happy that I could make a difference in their days.



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

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

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

New Every Morning

This week we were asked to do two acts of kindness for others in relation to our positive emotions that result from them. As I was reflecting on this during class, I realized that doing acts of kindness shouldn’t JUST go to those who are kind to us, but to those who give us a hard time, as well. For instance, I was discussing a project that I was planning to do with a friend of mine, to someone, and they were confused about what exactly we were doing and kind of a made a more of a big deal about it than it had to be. To be honest, I was actually getting a little bit irritated just because I didn’t think that not understanding it was something to get that upset over, but perhaps that was lack of patience on my part. So afterwards, I went and met with the person one-on-one and apologized because I didn’t mean for any of my comments or reactions to come off as sarcastic or impatient. Thankfully this person forgave me, and we both simply moved on. Another instance where I was kind to someone was earlier this week. I’ve noticed a guy who is always by himself in an organization that I’m a part of and I felt drawn to introduce myself. I hate getting out of my comfort zone, but I know how it feels to feel like an outcast in big groups, so I did introduce myself, and even though our interaction was short, I do hope that it made him a little happier. Looking at the first event, I was thinking about how, in my own life, it’s difficult to forgive others who have hurt you, especially when that pain is deep. I know in my own experience, I would say things like,”Well, why should I forgive them? They don’t deserve it.” But that’s the whole point. It wouldn’t BE forgiveness if they DID deserve it. I don’t believe that forgiveness means that you’re no longer hurt, but I’ve heard someone people ask me,”I’ve forgiven this person, but the pain is still there, so have I truly forgiven them?” My answer was always yes, because it isn’t a matter of feeling, it’s a decision, and I’m fully aware that it’s a difficult decision to make, and that’s okay. That’s the challenge with life sometimes, and I think that we should all have renewed kindness each time we wake up, new kindness every morning.

Week of March 28th

I’ll be honest, I didn’t read the prompt until write before I wrote this, so I didn’t intentionally go out of my way to do something. Thinking back on my week though, I could recall lots of things I did. But this proves something I believe to be very important: acts of kindness should be habitual. I shouldn’t have to go into my week saying “I need to do 3 good things this week”. While it’s helpful to set a goal like that, it should just be something you do, not something to check off of a list. I can say I’ll do 3 things, but it shouldn’t stop there. People should just be kind to other people. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. We learned earlier this week that it takes 3 good things to negate one bad thing. When I think about this, I consider that I don’t know the lives of strangers and my kind act could be the one that negates their bad experience. On the other hand, I could be the first act to make their day a little brighter. It’s about perspective, and having the right one can make big changes over time!
This week, one of the things I did was when my boyfriend drove up from Hampden-Sydney for my birthday. I knew that he was coming to my apartment right after taking the GMAT for grad school and would be exhausted. The plan was to go out to dinner, but instead I came home from class and started to make his favorite dinner and a small cake to celebrate both of us. When he arrived, he was exhausted, so he took a nap, but when he woke up he was so surprised to find that i had dinner ready for us! He said he didn’t have to and that he wanted to go out to celebrate me, but I had to convince him insisted that I did this for him, especially that it was the second time he had to take it.
Last night my friend called to tell me that she was really stressing out over a test she had today and just needed someone to talk to, so of course I did. While we were talking, I started to browse through cards on and I decided to send one to her with an encouraging message. While she won’t get it for about a week, I’m excited for when she gets it so she has a reminder of how great she is, how much I value our friendship, and how close she is to graduating!
Acts of kindness usually come with some recognition, usually a simple thank you. In my case, both came and will come with huge thank you’s and a big hug. While it’s nice to know that my actions are valued and have made someone happy, it isn’t the reason I do them. I hope that when I do them, I will make someone’s day better. In turn, maybe they’ll pass it on, but they might not, and that’s okay. You have to think of it  like a math problem: 3+3=6 is like receiving an act of kindness and holding onto it. You’ll still have 6, but you won’t lose anything. You can also do 3×3=9, you multiply the feeling by doing an act of kindness for someone else. Not passing it onjust means they’ve chosen to hold onto that feeling a little longer, and hopefully they’ll consider passing it on multiplying that feeling. for themselves and giving it to others.

The Affect of Kind Deeds

As a way to encourage the use and spread of positive psychology, Professor Armstrong wanted us to perform a handful of small acts of kindness over the course of the week to expand the power of positivity in our day to day lives. The first act of kindness I performed was supplying a very confused and lost man with directions near campus. I found him looking confused near the north end of campus, so I approached him asking if there was anything I could help him with. He was alone, old, and honestly looked helpless in his entire being. Turned out that he was headed towards the Walmart express on West Grace a few streets down from where we were on campus. After I explained where he needed to go in order to get there, the confusion on his face immediately dissipated. “If it wasn’t for you, miss, who knows if I would have found my way!” He exclaimed cheerfully. His quirky gratitude made me feel like my deed was valid, which showered over me like a wave. Even though I wasn’t the one the deed was being done for, an undeniable force of positivity ignited my entire body. It makes you feel some sort of a significant role when you go out of your way to do even the tiniest of deeds for other people.

My second act of kindness for the week was yet again another simple deed that was not that unusual, but something that still managed to make a profound difference in both my mood and the other persons mood. My best friend was in the midst of a stressful mid-semester heap of work this week that had her studying nonstop every day. I figured this left little time for her to perform daily tasks; and with her brain working constantly, she needed sufficient I decided to surprise her by making a huge breakfast for her one morning before one of her big exams.

When I showed up to do so, she was so ecstatic that I would think to do that and thanked me periodically throughout afternoon. Seeing how even my miniscule deeds affected these two individuals in such a positive way really made me think about how we treat another nowadays and what we expect from our acquainted-less neighbors. I feel it is so easy for us to get caught up in the complex web scheme of our own lives that we forget that we emit the stressful energy we battle every day just living. If only we stopped hiding behind a plethora of identities could we see the effects of our actions.

This exercise made me feel really proud of myself for how I was able to impact others, I honestly was not expecting such positive reactions. Approaching both of those deeds is something that I usually tend to shy away from, but breaking that boundary introduced me to a whole other side of spreading the love. I really hope this gets me in the groove of handing out more compliments to people, and just doing more kind deeds for others in general, strangers and acquaintences alike


The challenge this week was for each of us to do two (or more) acts of random kindness in our community. Sometimes I don’t think we realize just how easy it is to do something kind or how many times we do it throughout the day without even realizing. This can be something as little as just smiling at someone you pass by. My mom actually said to me today “There’s always someone to share a smile with. You never know what is going on inside”. She has always inspired me to be kind to the people that help us out on a daily basis. This includes the chef’s at our dining halls, the custodial staff in our dorms, the campus connector drivers. Everyone is important and everyone deserves to be appreciated.

My first act of kindness this week occurred in my dining hall, Jonah’s, on the MCV campus. The student in front of me was trying to swipe his card for a meal and the card was continually not working. I could tell by his demeanor that he felt bad for holding up the line and probably a little embarrassed to. I did not want him to have to put his food back so I stepped up and told the cashier that I would swipe for both of us. The student was immediately gracious for what I had done for him and, honestly, I felt very proud of myself for stepping up in that situation (considering I barely have any swipes left to provide for myself without going into extreme starvation this next month and half of school).

My second act of kindness this week happened outside by the Cabell library during the day. I was crossing the street to get to my next class when I noticed a girl a little ahead of me drop her VCU ID without realizing. I ran across the street to get her ID and tried to chase her down through the crowd of people before she disappeared. Luckily, I caught up with her and was able to return her ID. She had no idea she even dropped it and was thankful someone chose to pick it up instead of just walking by. I know that if I dropped my ID, I would want someone to do the same thing because let’s face it, we are all broke college students who do not have $20 to spare on a brand new ID.

Doing something kind for others in my day to day life makes me feel better about myself and proud of myself to applying what we learn in class in real life. I have always believed in good and bad karma. I have even experienced good karma within minutes of doing something kind for someone else! It really reassures me that there is a greater force than all of us that notices the way we all choose to use our strengths and how we apply them in our lives to be better than we were the day before.

10: No good deed…..

10: No good deed…..

(In typical VIFYEL fashion, this post is a little late! ^^ )

This week we were supposed to do 2 random acts of kindness. Although this is something I do often without reason- I was particularly excited for it anyway. This week- I remember buying lunch for a friend or two. It was something that I liked doing anyway. If I can be the cause of someone’s joy, even for a brief period, that is what makes me happy.

Another instance occurred when I found out that the mother of one of my sister’s friends passed away. I wanted to help in anyway I could. My sister was already preparing a care basket and I contributed monetarily and with ideas. It felt good knowing that this would  be something that might lift the spirits of that individual.

I usually like to keep these little things to myself. They are my own personal moments of enjoyment that I like to partake in. Even if it’s something so small- knowing I made the slightest of differences is something I can reflect on that day and forward. It made me feel happy and good about myself. It also helps reassure me that I’m a good persona and that I can do something that matters. I wish more people would randomly do nice things for each other. I think the world would be far different and maybe even better.





I read a quote on book that says “kindness is one thing we all have the ability to share”. As I was thinking about how I can spread kindness, it brings a smile to me. I know that kindness can be accomplished in so many ways that the effects can bring happiness to others.

I was thinking about what acts of kindness that I have done this week I realized that I have done many acts of kindness this week. I stopped doing my homework to help a friend prepare for an internship that she really wants to get. I thought to myself that was a great thing that I did for someone because I took time from doing my homework to help someone. I was glad that I could help someone in need. She was really grateful that I helped her because the internship was very important to her and it impacted her life alot.  I enjoy giving someone a helping hand that is needed. I plan to show kindness to one of my roommates that have asked me to drive her to the store.  She has no way to get there and with me having my car on campus I thought I would do her that favor.

Pass It On

Pass It On

One act of kindness I did this week was just listening and helping my friend through a mental breakdown. She’s been going through a really hard time adjusting to some changes in her life and all she really needed was someone to talk to, so I just listened to her vent for hours. After she was able to spill all her emotions out she felt a lot less stressed and her mood brightened. When I was helping her, I was giving her advice because I have gone through a similar situation. This made me feel really good about myself because just being able to share my experience and see how that may make one other person feel better was satisfying.
Another act of kindness I did this week was writing an email of gratitude to my high school psychology professor. This was something that I thought was long overdue, so when I sent it out it felt awesome to be able to really say thank you to her. Her response was even more satisfying; she stated that it really meant a lot and that she was really grateful that I reached out to her.
Small acts of kindness go a long way. In the article “The Role of Positive Emotion in Positive psychology, Fredrickson states that “positive emotions increase the likelihood that people will feel good in the future.”  Taking just a small amount of time a day to spread positive can not only make someone’s day, but can influence their future.

Rough week…need to be Kind

This weeks blog post requirement is very near and dear to my heart. On Tuesday, a friend of mine from work passed away and it tears me apart. I didn’t show him how much I valued him and I feel a lot of guilt about that. I had meant to reply to all of the texts and facebook messages, but I got too busy and didn’t..which was a huge mistake. He will never know how my Easter went…and I’ll never ask him how his was. It makes me feel like a terrible person.

It made me realize how I need to be more purposeful and kind with my actions. I am going to do my best everyday to be kind. I am going to stay interested and up to date on my families and friends lives, life is too short. Sometimes just answering a text message is all it takes to let someone know you care. I called all my friends and close family members for an update…it made them feel cared for. It made me feel loved. It was great.

I want to go into everything with a little more kindness. I’m not sure when I’ll be given that opportunity again. I’m going to strive to talk to people with care instead of condescension.

Acts of love

One act of kindness that I did this week was defending a person of colour when a white, racist man was calling her horrific names (n-word, b-word, everything.) I stood up for her when she couldn’t speak anymore, because her tears were taking over her. I didn’t know her, and I never caught her name, but she thanked me and hugged me really tight. The second act of kindness was in the library, someone was about to drop their drink and I literally caught it mid-fall and gave it back to them before it spilled everywhere. He also thanked me thoroughly.
I believe I positively impacted both of those people, simply because they were able to feel like they weren’t alone and helpless in those two moments. These acts made me feel pretty decent about myself, nothing abnormally higher than usual, and these moments give me a sense of purpose in the world. And I think we all need moments like that; to feel connected with the people and the world around us.

Free Hugs!

Free Hugs!

I have always been a fan of random acts of kindness because it benefits both parties and often creates a domino effect. Acts of kindness can be very simple yet can have such a huge impact on people’s days.

One act I did this week was paying for my roommate’s meal when we went out to a restaurant. She has had a really tough week and I thought it would be a good way to brighten it up a little bit. At first she resisted but when I insisted, I think she understood that I was going to do it no matter what and I just wanted to make her a little happier. She felt grateful as well as loved, and I felt successful and happy that I could do something so easy to make her feel so much better.

Another thing I did was surprising a friend with dessert and spending some time with him. This one in particular seems pretty small, but I know it meant a lot to him. We’ve both had busy weeks and I had to cancel on a couple plans we made so I got dessert and took it to him. He was so excited and completely elated. I definitely felt really good as well because I felt bad for having to cancel plans, so to be able to make it up was nice. Also, spending time with him obviously made me just as happy as he was when I showed up.

Acts of kindness really don’t cause any introspection for me. I definitely feel like I am the last thing I’m thinking about when performing an act of kindness – which I think is what makes them so wonderful. If we only performed acts of kindness because we knew it would make us feel good, are we really doing it for the other person? Maybe an argument against this could be made, but that is just kind of how I see it. We should all make acts of kindness a weekly goal of ours, even if it’s only one and even if it is something very simple!

Give Happy To Get Happy! Spread that stuff around!


Kindness is powerful

Kindness is powerful

This week was interesting because we focused on positive emotions and forgiveness, which were things that I struggled with this week. I was upset at my family for something and it’s taking me a while to forgive them because it usually takes me a little while to calm down before I can process forgiveness. I also was experiencing negative emotions this week due to my lovely girly time. I think it is really hard for me to think positive or feel positive during this time which made this week even harder.

However, with our discussion in class with talking about the movie “The mission” and our activity as well as the reading by Barbara Fredrickson, it highlighted a lot about the relationship between positive emotion and psychology. More specifically, in Fredrickson’s writing, she discusses how powerful it is for humans to have positive emotions and that it ultimately flourishes humans. Fredrickson also discusses how positive emotion can bring upon psychological resiliency which is key because if we stay positive we can be resilient in making bad choices based on negative emotions such as self-harming or hurting someone else emotionally.

However, although I was dealing with my own family issues as well as my monthly time, I did find myself doing two acts of kindness. I was pretty upset at my sister this week however, she really needed help and wanted to talk on the phone, so I decided to put aside our differences to help her and make her feel better even though she had hurt me earlier in the week. After the phone call I did feel a lot more calm about the situation that happened earlier and I am slowly letting go of it. This is just one example that can show how strong kindness has on not only others but you. Another act of kindness I did was that I bought my friend lunch today. I really made her day and I overall had a better day due to the fact that she was so appreciative of not only me buying food for her but the friendship itself. Again, even with having a difficult week, these acts of kindness did help my mood a lot and did create a lot of positive thoughts.

10:  Be Kind, Do Nice

10: Be Kind, Do Nice

Last night, I was watching a film called Room.  The plot is about a women named Joy and her five-year-old son, Jack, who are held captive in a small shed they call Room.  Inside, they share a bed, toilet, bathtub, TV, a small skylight window, and a make-shift kitchen.  Their meals don’t have much variety or nutrition and Jack doesn’t know anything beyond those four walls.  Even after seven years of captivity, Joy tries to remain positive and optimistic for her son, but sometimes it’s difficult for her to stay strong.  This movie really brought things in my life into perspective and I felt it tied into with what we discussed this week in class.  Specifically, Dr. Armstrong talked about how expressing gratitude boosts happiness, mental health, and overall wellbeing. Despite Joy and Jack’s difficult situation, they embraced the negative and tried to optimize the situation within their control to the best of their ability.  For example, Jack learned how to read even though their educational resources were nonexistent.  At the end of the day, they were grateful for each other.  Fos10:  Be Kind, Do Nicetering this gratitude not only encourages positive emotions, but it strengths relationships.  In the article by Fredrickson, she provides further evidence suggesting that positive emotions broadens cognition, our ability to be attentive, and the elements of optimal functioning.  This means we grow personally through building creativity, meaning, and self-acceptance.  As a result, we do good by feeling good.  As Dr. Worthington mentioned in class, happiness and positive emotions are states —  building character strength or virtue is a conscious effort from the heart.  Does our actions align with our actions?  Two acts of kindness I did week involved individuals who mean a lot to me.  One was bringing in brownies for my coworkers and another was calling a family
member to see how they were doing.  Regardless of how simple or extravagant the act is, all it takes is one action to influence others.  I think it’s 10:  Be Kind, Do Niceimportant to cherish those strong close relationships and take advantage of opportunities to express appreciation and gratitude.  Not only does it encourage social engagement, but it helps me stay grounded and content that I’m making a difference.

Do All Things With Kindness

Do All Things With Kindness

One thing I did was write that letter of gratitude to my mother. She loved it and just seeing the joy and happiness light up her face was more than enough satisfaction. She’s my mother and it pleases me whenever I do something that makes her happy or proud. She has done so much for me over the years, that I haven’t properly thanked her for it. Seeing her ecstatic about my letter to her brought a lot of emotions such as gratuity, love, and joy. This is the best satisfaction compared to materialistic aspects. It made me want to do more, but I feel like it feels much more personal when I do it less often. Telling my mom everyday that I loved her wouldn’t have much of an effect compared to me telling her every so often. This is similar to the article by Fredrickson, The Role of Positive Emotions in Positive Psychology. It stated that the more positive experiences we get from something, the more we would want to do it. It’s a contagious feeling and I would like it to be spread to everyone since everyone deserves to feel this way.

The other act of kindness was me being able to give my stuff away to people who need it more. Just helping someone makes me happy since it’s kind of like Christmas for them. Seeing that you were the cause of someone’s happiness is more than enough of a thank you. Whenever I’m with my friends, I would try to make statements that would make them laugh or crack a smile. That’s my only intention, to bring a smile to their faces. They’re people that I care about and of course I would want to make them happy. This situation brings me back to class when Dr. Armstrong mentioned that she pays for the car’s, behind her, toll.  I don’t have much talents, but I try my best to make others smile. Do All Things With Kindness

After reading some stories of kindness, it truly makes me feel happy that other people are doing things for the happiness of others. Lately, I feel like I’ve been reading and seeing negativity in the news, at school, and other places, but reading these stories bring in a whole new kind of feeling. Faith in humanity restored!

g i v e kindness

g i v e kindness

When I think about acts of kindness and what they consist of, I think of so many different possibilities. To me acts of kindness are something we do every day without even realizing it. They can range from smiling at somebody or holding the door open to donating your time and energy to a cause that is close to your heart. This week in class, Dr. Armstrong discussed positive emotions, and I think these emotions easily relate to performing acts of kindness. Human flourishing is about not only feeling good, but doing good. When we allow ourselves to experience more positive emotions, we broaden our span of possibilities that are sometimes right there in front of us. In the article “The Role of Positive Emotions”, it states that they broaden our momentary thoughts and actions. The broaden-and-build  theory suggests that specific positive emotions, like joy, interest, love and pride, all have the ability to expand our thought processes. This is really interesting to me. I think it simply means that when we think more positively, we have more opportunities to do things positively.

I am someone who typically sees the glass half empty. I tend to let negative emotions and experiences affect me to the point where they take over my actions. I also have a hard time forgiving others, which allows negativity to surround me for an extended period of time. When I don’t forgive, the situation sticks with me until I eventually forget about it. It’s usually really hard for me to let go, but I now know the importance of forgiveness. The reading “Efficacy of Psychotherapeutic Interventions to Forgiveness” explains that forgiveness is allowing yourself to truly set free your angry thoughts, feelings, and emotions while at the same time, there is an increase of more positive thoughts toward the offending person. While this is the case, the article emphasizes that forgiveness is more about yourself than the other person. I didn’t really realize this until now because looking back on the times I have forgiven someone, I am mostly thinking of them and not myself. This can cause the act of forgiveness to be artificial, while you are still carrying around the remnants of the negative experience. I usually am one to always help others, but when I experience negative situations, it becomes really hard. I now fully understand how important it is to be positive because not only does negativity affect your own behavior, but it can affect the behavior of others as well.

Yesterday, I was part of an act of kindness that really made an impact on me. I was grocery shopping at Kroger later in the evening, and as I was leaving, I came across a middle-aged man who was standing by the entrance with a plastic bag filled with supplies to clean windshields. He asked me if I wanted my windows cleaned, and I declined, but I gave him the last $5 I had. The man was so thankful and I could truly feel his appreciation. He told me he’s just trying to get by, and that me walking out the door will help him put food on the table. At first giving him the money was a small act, but after listening to what he had to say, it became much bigger. This interaction allowed me to put my own “problems” into perspective. I have so much to be grateful for, but still complain about the smallest things. This experience made me realize how lucky I am, but also that I truly assisted in making someone’s day a little bit brighter. Even though it was a quick interaction, I know I made a difference to him, and that is what matters most. I don’t believe in the idea that money buys happiness, but it allowed me to experience something special. This showed me that sometimes the littlest things can have a big impact. Even yesterday I smiled at a complete stranger as I was going to class, and I got an even bigger one in return. As we talked about in class, these small things can really foster community as well as social engagement.

Today Dr. Worthington discussed virtues and in his reading “Humility”, it says that this quality involves the presence of things like empathy, respect, equality, and valuing others. I think being a humble person has a lot to do with the extent to which you perform acts of kindness. When we have respect for others and are empathetic towards their situations without judgement, we are more likely to do something that is kind. Dr. Worthington explained that we want virtues to become habits of the heart. I think it is right to use our mind to judge certain situations, but it’s the heart that is capable of so much more.


Tyra’s Acts of Kindness

Tyra’s Acts of Kindness

Last week, I told a friend that her hair looked nice. It made me happy to see that my friend was happy. I think it impacted my friend because she liked the compliment. It made me feel good to compliment her, but I don’t think it had any impact on the way I think about myself or my life.

The other day, I reminded my mom to stop by the pharmacy. My mom needed to go to the pharmacy, so it was helpful for me to remind her. She always forgets to go, so she was glad I reminded her. I was glad that I could help my mom out in a small way.

The sun helps us by giving us light and heat, like we should help others.




This week was especially hard for me. I am not usually a person who has to try to be happy or positive…until this week. Usually I wake up very happy but almost every single day this week I was feeling so down and upset when I woke up all I wanted to do was pull the sheets over my head. Nothing bad happened and I wasn’t experiencing any pain so when given the exercise to think of one “negative” experience that happened to me this week I was stumped.

Luckily, I remembered that Dr. Reina had suggested to me to watch This Is Water by David Foster Wallace. I decided to cancel dinner plans one night and just take an hour to relax and thought it was a perfect time to watch the video.

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a must see! It completely changed my outlook of the week and helped me stay positive in a sometimes negative world that I had chosen to see the worse side of. Oddly enough, I am somewhat glad I felt and experienced this because I have learned how to help myself feel better in these situations

I discovered that I didn’t really have a negative experience to talk about. I was just looking at the situations that were happening to me in a negative way. I am usually very optimistic and lucky to think this way automatically. When my usual way of thought was challenged I had to cope and I am proud of myself for doing so.

Acts of Kindness

  1. wrote a card to a VCU food service employee that I had never met. (We later ran into eachvother and met- she gave me a HUGE hug)
  2. Helped a woman get to one of the Woman’s Shelters here in Richmond.
  3. Moved my car so a woman could park (long story but we talked and had a wonderful conversation afterwards)

These three “acts” made my week. They all happened today and turned my week around. I don’t know how it really effected the people who I interacted with but it really effected my mood. Even though deep down I know that I can make a difference – this week I felt like I could not. These 3 situations made me feel useful and happy about myself. This is perfect timing for our upcoming group project and couldn’t help me prepare more.

I love the broaden-and-build theory:

“The broaden-and-build theory posits that experiences of positive emotions broaden people’s momentary thought-action repertoires, which in turn serves to build their enduring personal resources, ranging from physical and intellectual resources to social and psychological resources.” – Barbara Frederickson

This theory is very representative of my life. I feel that I am usually very good at this and will continue to work on it.


1. Wade, N. G., Hoyt, W. T., Kidwell, J. E. M., & Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2014). Efficacy of psychotherapeutic interventions to promote forgiveness: A meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82(1), 154-170.

2. Davis, D. E., Worthington, E. L., Jr., & Hook, J. N. (2010). Humility: Review of measurement strategies and conceptualization as personality judgment. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(4), 243-252. 3. Davis, D. E., Ho, M. Y., Griffin, B. J., Bell, C., Hook, J. N., Van Tongeren, D. R., Worthington, E. L., Jr.. DeBlaere, C., & Westbrook, C. (2015). Forgiving the self and physical and mental health correlates: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 62(2), 329-335.





Small acts of kindness are so undervalued, don’t you think? You don’t have to spend money or do something over the top, though these gestures are kind too! To me, a smile from a passerby is a random act of kindness, and I try to commit it just about everyday. This week, however, I wanted to go a little further. We’re finally coming out of winter and the end of seasonal depression can make a lot of us feel rejuvenated! I feel like I’m back in my own skin and I want to take full advantage of it! This blog post is perfect for my current state of mind. I planned my second act of kindness, but not my first…

I work in a jewelry store that has locations both in Richmond and in Fairfax, where my mom lives. Over spring break my mom had come in to look around and use my discount (like mothers do). She eyed a necklace that I wasn’t a fan of and since we are very close I expressed my opinion and she later put it back. When I walked into work on Monday I saw it on a mannequin and immediately felt guilty. I decided to buy it for her along with a card expressing my gratitude for all that she does for me. I just sent it in the mail today and I’m so excited for her to get it because I know it will mean so much. I’m normally a penny pincher and spending money literally makes me ache, but spending less than $20 on the woman who is easily my greatest influence in life wasn’t even a question. It made me feel so accomplished to give back to her something SO SMALL and insignificant because it will mean so much to her.

For my second act of kindness I went very simple. I decided to compliment three people a day. I FEEL LIKE I MADE SO MANY FRIENDS!! Seriously just telling someone you like their shirt or hair, or their energy can make such an impact. Every person I talked to lit up and said things like, “Me?? Wow thank you!” or “You just made my day.” Like wuuuut? I just made a person’s day by offering a genuine compliment? That’s so awesome. I want to continue this act of kindness because it is so unbelievably easy and it makes ME feel good. Positive psychology, y’all!

Living On Purpose

Living On Purpose

I can truly and honestly say that my work and school are both suited to myself and my needs incredibly well. At work, I feel I have a purpose. I feel a sense of engagement that makes the time I am there fly by. I work with children in a day care setting and I get such a sense of accomplishment whenever I can get one of them to understand the concept of sharing or why they shouldn’t hit their friends.

Here at school, I feel an equal sense of engagement but an even greater sense of purpose and meaningfulness (thanks Rosso for the clarification of meaning vs. meaningfulness ;)). What I do day-to-day, my daily classes and things like that, are entirely engaging to me for the most part. I love learning more than almost anything, so I look forward to classes and homework (weird, I know). The sense of meaningfulness I get at school comes from the progress that I am making towards my degree, my future career, and the (hopefully) future impact I will make on people. Knowing that every action I take here brings me one step closer to those things is so incredibly meaningful.

All of that being said, I really don’t think I need to make any changes right now. The readings and lectures solidified what I already kind of knew and felt every day – the fact that my work and school is exactly what I am here to do.

Wellbeing Domain Improvement Plan

After reading Rath’s Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements and taking the assessment offered in the back of the book, I was given an “Overall Wellbeing” score. I was given a series of questions and my scores gave me a lot to think about areas I should applaud myself more in and one’s I would like to improve. For Overall Wellbeing I fall into the Thriving section versus the Struggling or Suffering. My Score, 75 out of 100 made me feel content. This score is calculated from The Five Essential Elements which are; Social, Career, Community, Physical, and Financial. Each element is given a score out of 10 according to the questions asked: Social: 9, Career: 9, Community: 7, Physical: 7, and Financial: 4.

Obviously, my low score of 4 in the financial section is not ideal. I am working on improving my financial status and how to budget the money that I do have and make. I would also like to work on the Career section. While I scored a 9 I feel that I may need to retake this assessment. I do not feel like my career path is perfect right now and currently exploring different ideas on what I should do after college and in life. The Physical and Community elements I would also like to work on. I love being a part of my community and feel that my physical wellbeing is extremely important. Without the physical element none of the others can flourish. I always think of each day as a chance for improvement and narrowing down what I can work on is the first step to growth. Right now I have not created an exact Personal Mission Statement. I have been working on it for the past few months and have thought a lot about my purpose and my mission in life. I believe I have been granted a life full of endless possibilities, paths and purposes. I do not believe I have just one purpose. I would describe my philosophy as a collection of purposes that I wish to lead my life with. I want my world to be creative and kind. I want to spread this notion by working with children and helping others of all ages. I’d like to use my love for knowledge to learn about any and all things both near and far. I will use my love for communication to bring things learned to the people and the communities in which I belong to. I would consider being able to express my creativity through all forms of art and communication as the best gift I’ve ever received. To show thanks to this gift I want to share it with others while learning from them. I feel that these assessments, both the Gallup & VIA have given me some direction. I have a very active, flowing mind that sometimes goes in a non-developmental direction. While I do not put myself down for this or consider it bad I am very thankful to have been introduced to these assessments. They have helped me narrow down what I am good at and realize that I have things I would like to work on and improve. They have also helped me see that I am better off than I thought. I have a tendency to be hard on myself, expect a lot from myself and think badly of myself when I fail. Through learning about happiness with combination of many different developmental learning tasks I have realized my entire life I not utilized what I am good at.

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

– Albert Einstein




I wasn’t able to attend class this week but I enjoyed reading the Managing Yourself: Turn the Job You Have into the Job You Want article. ? This article resonated with me the most. I just began working a new job less than 2 weeks ago and I already see several things I dislike. After reading this article during the week I returned to work and began thinking of how I could view my task, relationships, and perceptions which = job crafting.  Right now I am just thankful for the income. I know this job is temporary and I keep the bigger picture in my mind. I already see a lot of work on relationships will need to be done. Honestly, I’m not interested in being friends with my coworkers just remain professional and cordial.  I have no issue with the task I’ve been given because it is all about the children. As far as perception I try to make sure I am projecting a positive and enthusiastic attitude even though there is much I dislike.  These observances have helped me in all jobs I worked. I’ve worked in corporate America, public and private schools, and retail.

Article 2 talked about changing your actions, not your circumstances. I thought this was profound. I immediately thought of how I react in those times.  You aren’t always able to control what circumstance you end in but you can always control your reactions while simultaneously gaining happiness.

I love my job – positive concept handwritten on black chalkboard with volume red heart symbol

Article 3 asked “What role work plays, in the context of your life?” I immediately answered everything. My career aspiration is to become a special education teacher. I want to teach persons with disabilities how to live with their disability not let their disability over take them. Even now as a caregiver I implement that mentality. I leave work and think about what else I could’ve done that day. As a teacher everything you see becomes a lesson or something you could incorporate in class. When I’m out shopping something catches my eye and I think oohh I could use that for this!   

Learning Self Worth through my Strengths

Going forward I want to start extending compassion to myself. I want to learn how to accept love and affection as much as I am able to give it. My personal mission statement is to “ foster active kindness, fierce compassion, omnipresent gentleness and militant positivity.” I was thinking about how I can improve on this statement and was drawing a blank for a while; the way I interact with friends, family, colleagues, and strangers is all dictated by these values. The only place I wasn’t expressing these values, I realized, was towards myself. It is a whole lot easier for me to be actively compassionate to others than it is to be kind to myself. I have high standards- I know I can achieve greatness, so I do not allow myself to strive for anything less than my best. I give 110% to everything that I do- it is emotionally painful for me to give anything less. I need to learn that I will not always meet my expectations- and that is okay. I am a work in progress, I am learning and growing and I would never talk to another being the way that I talk to myself.


One of my favorite poems by Sierra Demulder holds the line


“ Your body is not a temple. Your body is the house you grew up in. How dare you try to burn it to the ground. You are bigger than this. You are bigger than this”



Another thing I would like to do to improve the quality and authentic of my personal and professional development plans is to be more selective with my time. Because I am an activator who has a strength of input and is zestful, creative and appreciates excellences, I want to do everything and help everyone. I am constantly assisting people with projects or creating my own. I have so many interests and ideas it is almost impossible to keep up with them all. I want to start being more purposeful with my time, actions and words. I speak out a lot because I process things out loud. This is good in brainstorming spaces but can be a drawback in certain settings (such as annoying everyone in class with my constant commentary haha). I really feel like I take up too much space- I am working on this. I have always felt that I was too much; too emotional, too passionate, too meta-cognitive, too talkative, too energetic, too loud. The inside of my head is a constant barrage of “ stop being so much- you are going to make people leave.” I have been told before by others that I am overwhelming- this is my greatest fear. I am working on allowing myself to take up space.


“You are a child of the universe, no less than any of the stars; you have a right to be here.” – Max Ehrmann


I am working on learning this. I will use my strengths of gratitude, kindness and generosity, bravery, capacity to love, forgiveness, and positivity to try and overcome this doubtful and critical voice in my head.

My Mission

Confucius once said “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” and I’ve always tried to live by this. I know that I’m still young and I have a lot of time to decide on what I want exactly to do,  but I’ve never been attracted to chasing a career in a field that I wasn’t passionate about- even if it would make me more money.

My personal mission statement is to help create events that unite people from all around the world together to promote creativity, love, and compassion. This is a long-term goal and I know that I’m going to have to work very hard to achieve it. However, in many ways my professional goal is my personal goal. Creating these experiences will allow me to utilize my strengths and being able to build a platform that spreads so much positivity will be personally fulfilling.

Recently I’ve been a little impatient with where I’m at right now and I know I need to make some changes. My classes haven’t taught me anything I didn’t know before and in many ways I feel like I’m wasting precious time and money. I’ve decided to take a semester off from school to allow myself to get some work experience within the field I want to work in.

Dr. Wu-Pong questioned us on how we were incorporating our goals within both our personal and professional lives.  To me, my personal life and my passion of music has guided my professional life and I hope that I never divert away from this path.  Learning about mindfulness and the value of strengths has also really allowed me to be more aware in taking control of my life. Practicing mindfulness has helped me discover my purpose and focusing on my strengths will hopefully allow me to achieve my goals.





SOH – Bliss 2016-03-25 01:25:07

SOH – Bliss 2016-03-25 01:25:07

As of right now as graduation gets closer and closer, I’m thinking and stressing more about changing my environment and spending habits. For me, starting to become financially successful is most important right now. I realize that I’m going to be in the real adult world in a couple months so I know that I need to cut back on some of the things that I used to do. Those things really involve habits that impact me financially. With that information, I know that I need to start to really save and budget myself. I feel that getting in the habit of making better financial decisions will help me in the future. 

What I want…

I’ve enjoyed taking this class because its given me better insight on how to treat people with anxiety and depression (that aren’t myself and I can’t hold them to my standards of treatment).

Doing the personal mission statement activity was extremely helpful to me. It gave me tangible goals that I could hold myself to and an action plan that I can follow.

I want to be more thoughtful in my actions. I want to think more about what I say and how I treat people. At the end of the day, if you don’t have quality relationships, then what do you have?

I’m pretty happy with my career path and how I’m treating/ handling it. I find myself to be very professional and pleasant. But I really want to change my personal life, and I think I’m at least one step closer to that now.

Week of March 21

Week of March 21

This week was rough, as I was unable to attend class at all, but I’m so glad it’s almost over because this weekend is Easter, I get to spend time with my family, and my birthday is on Tuesday! I’m glad to finally be back in Richmond and relax a little bit now that the band season is over. Shout out to everyone who encouraged me and helped me along the way so I could keep up in school while living out my passion


Making small changes are honestly so difficult to make but once you start, they’re a chain reaction and all come together for a big change. Currently, I know one small change I want to make to benefit my future, even though it’s not necessarily about my school work now, is to pick out one thing each day that I want to teach to my students. This builds a huge bank of knowledge for myself to pull from later when a conversation slows down, when a student asks a question out of the blue, or they want more information on something related to the curriculum. Kids are curious, so as teachers, we need to build up our internal library.


A small change I wish to make to improve my authenticity of my personal development plan is to do something every day that makes me feel spectacular, but without anyone else. There are lots of things I do that make me feel important and valued with other people, but not enough by myself and realizing my own self worth. It could be wearing a cute outfit, eating a home cooked lunch, or reading a book that I love. Doing these kinds of things for only myself will help me learn to love myself without needing it to come from other people. There are days where I’ll feel awful because I’m not pleasing someone else or I feel like the whole world is out to get me down. At these times, I can learn to count on myself to boost my mood and push through the day as best as I can.


The article that resonated most with me is Sheldon’s, about changing your actions and attitude, not necessarily your circumstances. This is something that in my future career, I’ll have to focus on a lot, both for myself and for my students. One situation where I would have to be mindful of this is if I have a student who is consistently acting out, doesn’t want to work, or isn’t grasping a concept as quickly as I would hope they would. The circumstance of having a troubled student can’t be changed, they were placed in my class and I can’t just hand him to someone else because he’s “too difficult”. Instead, I have to make the best of the situation. It will require more work on my part, such as researching other teaching methods or sitting with the student to figure out the root of  his behavioral issues. Changing my actions here are the only way to handle the unchangeable circumstance. On the other hand, this is a lesson I’ll definitely want to teach my kids. It’s so easy for them to just resort to saying “I can’t do it” when they just don’t want to. I’ll remind them that having a positive attitude is the first step in success and without it, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Something I see a lot of is “alternative phrasing”, where a teacher will list several very negative phrases, like “I can’t”, and then lists ways to rephrase it so it’s either neutral or positive, like “maybe I’ll try it a different way”. Such an easy concept is hard for a child to grasp sometimes, but it can easily be made a habit when you work with them on it early on.

Blended personal and professional mission statement

This week we focused a lot on this concept of a personal mission statement. A statement that includes ones goals, values, ambitions, and overall personal and professional plans for one’s life. The mission statement is not so much a hardcore map that one has to exactly follow, but it gives a better understanding of what you want to do or be in life and how you can contribute to the world.

Going forward, I do not think I would make any changes now or in the distant future because I am happy and content with myself and I am reaching the goals that I set out for myself. However, I think it is always important to reflect on oneself and try to improve upon certain personality characteristic or new ways to achieve goals in our personal and professional development plans. One of the personal yet professional improvements that I am trying to do each day is to take some time out and try to be inspired or look at something creative everyday. This not only gives me a break from the design aesthetics of my major but gives me a new and fresh perspective that gives me new ideas on product innovation or design. Another improvement is that I want to come into situations without any judgment of bias. The reason for this is because I have been accepted into one of the hardest Master’s Degree Programs for Advertising at the VCU Brandcenter, I have heard a lot of stories and things that people say it is a lot of work and you might pull all-nighters sometimes. To be honest, this intimidates me a little bit and makes me wonder if I will be a success at the school. However, I always have to remind myself that other people’s experiences don’t dictate my future and that as long as I never give up and I work hard I will be a success. This is a motto that fits perfectly into my personal mission statement of creatively giving back to others. I think Dr. Wu-pong thought my personal mission statement sounded too professional, but I think it’s more so that my professional life and personal life has blended so much because my professional life is something that I am passionate about. Again, working on my attitude towards my future of graduate school and finding time for myself to be inspired or just take a mental break will definitely help me creatively help other people by making me stronger and more creative so that I can help create products and apps to make everyone’s life a little easier.

personal mission

personal mission

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

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

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

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

street post with accomplishment blvd and mission st signs

9: Mission in Progress

This week we talked a lot about our personal mission statements as well as different goals and purposes.  Although this lesson really made me think and try to piece things together- I found it a bit distressing. I was glad that I wasn’t the only one that felt this way. Many people have the general idea of what they want to do in their personal and professional lives. Putting it into words is another story. I think many of us have a broad spectrum of things that we want to achieve/accomplish but it’s difficult to pinpoint what those exact things are. Helping people, making a difference, finding and using one’s own personal strengths, and reaching one’s goals are all things that seem to be a commonality between myself and my peers. There are a few that know exactly what they want and how to get there. (Envious!). Some have no idea or are almost there. And that’s okay too. I was very happy to have Dr. Wu Pong’s words of wisdom throughout this week. It was helpful to hear her talk through the activities that she gave us and I liked talking with my classmates as well.

There are a lot of changes that I’ve had in my mind prior to this assignment. I think they would help me reach my goals in my personal and professional life.

1.) Be more vigilant!- I often find myself waiting for others to take control/for the situation to unfold/open-up. Things will never get done if I don’t take the initiative. I think this is also a form of hesitation that I should really work on. Apathy is a real pain x-x


2.) Be positive-  Now more than ever I am a little more pessimistic than necessary. I think this also comes with the theme of mindfulness that we talked about last week as well. It’s important that I stay motivated and inspired


3.) Be mindful!- as stated above we talked a lot about mindfulness and being aware. I don’t take things one step at a time like I should and I often get frustrated. This drags myself and others down and that’s never productive.


These things have helped clarify what I want to do in a way. I’ve also noticed that every personal and professional goal that I have starts from within. If I take the time to work on myself- everything else usually pieces itself together.

Lookin’ at the world like,”Where do we go?”

I’m nearing the end of my junior and I get asked by lots of people what I plan on doing after I graduate college, and I tell them the same answer, “I don’t know”. I think about the Personal Mission Statements that we’ve been working on in class, and I realize that my success isn’t measured by how much money I make, but, by how fulfilled my life is in the end. Don’t do things in life to become happy, but rather, do things in life BECAUSE you’re happy. It’s that kind of happiness that’s contagious and draws people together. Looking at my own personal mission statement, I realized that I need to use my gifts to their fullest advantage because I was blessed with them for a reason. Now, what does this have to do with finding a career? I’m not entirely sure, but what I do know is that perseverance and a great attitude are key components in being successful in life, and I know that from my own mission statement, it isn’t about what I can get from a career that drives me. For me, it’s more about what can I give? If I go into this career or pursue this job, in the end how can I be giving back?

[My] Path to Success



Throughout my life I feel like I have allowed myself several opportunities of imagining my future and what I want it to embody: what it is like, what I do, who is in it with me, but now that it is more relevant and closer than ever, I still feel like I have a few minor changes to undergo in order to make my role as an educator as rewarding as possible.

A change I wish to make & maintain moving further into my future is becoming a more skilled leader. I feel that although I have a natural instinct for connecting and nurturing, I lack the management it takes to efficiently lead a class of 25-30 five-ten year olds. I can turn myself into more of a frontrunner by learning to speak out and take control in all kinds of situations. Expanding my voice would make me feel more comfortable sharing ideas and solutions. Gaining control won’t only establish me as a person of authority but I also expect it to increase my self-confidence.

After learning an abundance of my greatest strengths in this class and how I can use them as tools to reach professional success, I also realized something I never have before. I realized that a lot of my strengths stem from my relationship between myself and others, and rarely from the relationship I have with myself. I have to say this is a crippling realization because of how much personal responsibility I will have as a teacher. One specific self-relied skill I have in mind is my organization. How I organize the material I will teach is so integral to keeping a steady learning environment for both the kids and myself. How prepared I am is dependent on my skills and the trust I have in myself to run a comprehensive system. I have made small steps such as buying a planner and keeping a sticky note on my computer screen with all of my class assignments for the week. My tendency to clutter is what really needs to be fixed; what if I lose the student’s assignments!? No one likes those teachers.

The personal mission statement (PMS) exercise we completed in class resonated deeply with me because of how most of my life, I have focused a lot of energy towards helping and developing others. I would recommend this exercise to both purposeless and purposeful alike. It really offered me a sense of relief and solidified my purpose here on earth, both personally and as a grade school teacher. Not only did it make me realize what my passion and duty is here on earth, but it really motivated me to discover conditions under which I am at my best, my happiest. It gave me a different sense of the life I want to strive for and live, and model off to friends and eventually the children I teach.

Finding your purpose is such an essential component to knowing who you are and getting comfortable in your skin. I remember being extremely insecure about my future my first year at VCU because I had come in undeclared. The reality of it is, your future is something that you have to grow into. It’s something that is mainly guided upon your experience and growth as a person, you have to feel it and let the path ahead guide you. And this isn’t something that happens right away or on a fixed schedule—this is something that is happening to us throughout our lives constantly. Perhaps the beauty of it is that we never stop learning new things about our self-potential.

What’s your purpose?

This week we focused a lot on finding purpose and trying to create a mission statement.  The reason behind the mission statement is to better understand what you want to do or be in life.  This is not necessarily just about a career but life itself.  Dr. Wu-Pong continuously asked individuals, “Is this something you do at home with your friends and family?” Finding your purpose in life is not just about finding a job but about figuring out what it is that you are seeking to do with your entire life.

This helped me learn about myself through answering questions but also prompting others.  Talking things through with a partner was insightful.  I was able to see things more clearly with the prompting and advice of someone else.  This week allowed me to get closer to finding my mission or purpose and see what I could do to better implement it into my life and make sure I am executing my mission.  I hope this week was as great and helpful for you guys as it was for me!

P.S.  We have some really great goals/missions/aspirations/dreams!

Moving Forward

Moving Forward

As I move forward into my junior year of college  I still do not know my views on my professional development plans. I really need to stay focused on my professional development plans after I graduate from college. I keep changing my mind about how I plan to use my college degree in business administration/management. I think it is important for me to determine what my career goals are and reflect on a vision of what I expect in a career but also to improve my skills along the way. In the Managing Yourself article, its about a woman who is not happy and does not feel she is doing what she wants to do.  I want to be able to find a career that I will enjoy but be also to survive off of.  This year has been a quite an  experience with me trying to balance school work, looking for a apartment and internship, also trying to find time to hang out with friends.

This week in class we were assigned to make a Personal Mission Statement. I never made one so it was a little difficult to make for me.  When I was trying to do it, I was lost I did not know where to start.  But after getting to class and being giving an handout I can now adjust my personal mission statement to make it the best as much as possible.  I love to help others and to lead them in the right direction in a positive way.  In Dr.Wu-Pong lecture she mentioned that your happiness is a choice you make everyday.

What’s My Mission?

What’s My Mission?

The one change I know I need to make is to put myself out there more. In my professional and personal life. However, I’m still not clear in how to do that. I’ve become so comfortable with how things are, that I don’t feel motivated to push myself to do more.

I like that Dr. Wu-Pong shared with us that she wasn’t always clear in  what she wanted to do. With the input of others, she figured it out. I feel like I know what I want to do, but maybe if I listen to other’s input, things will become more clear for me as well.

Dr. Wu-Pong mentioned something else very important: you need to think about your current happiness level; not what could possibly make you happy in the future. The reading on happiness reiterates this by saying that happiness improves thorough intentional changes, not circumstantial ones. If I want to improve the happiness level in my personal and professional life, I need to make active changes.

My major is psychology, and sometimes I feel like I don’t have the proper people skills to be in this field (even though I don’t want to be a therapist). Sometimes I can be too introverted for my own good. I need to take baby steps in putting myself out there more, and eventually my skills will improve.

9:  What’s the worst that can happen?

9: What’s the worst that can happen?

Work hard, play hard, and be humble.

Personal development not only requires effort and perseverance, but patience in order gain that momentum to grow your character and reach your goals.  With graduation just right around the corner, I couldn’t be more appreciative of this reflection.  This past year has been quite a journey.  I’ve never been so busy juggling school, applying for grad programs, interning, maintaining a social life, and making time for other compartments of my life.  Though, I can confidently admit that I’m content and comfortable about my personal and professional development plans moving forward.  I’m in a different place of my life than I was three years ago where I struggled to identify my interests and wishes about the future. One obstacle I faced was getting too caught up in the opinions of others — whether it be my family or close friends.  I quickly realized I was just living to meet the expectations of others than myself.  Had I done the exercise in identifying the roadblocks that prevented me from reaching our fullest potential three years ago… I probably would have realized it sooner than later.  One comment I loved most about Dr. WuPong’s lecture was that we have an invitation for our personal journey all around us — we just need to be open to those invitations.  I can’t emphasize how much this resonated with me.  Once I realized my interests and strengthens, it’s almost as if all the opportunities came looking for me instead of the other way around.  When you devote a lot of time into your work and it’s reflective of your passion, others quickly acknowledge and point that out.  In the reading by Ross, Dekas, and Wrzeniewski, the authors mention how meaningful work relates to changing a person’s self-concept and your self-perceptions.  Keeping that open mindset truly allows us to acknowledge what might had been in front of us this whole time, even in the most busiest circumstances.  Additionally, gaining a different perspective from others to help clarify career/school goals can certainly be beneficial.  Another reading adds that building trust and identifying the people who will accommodate you to meet your needs for job crafting is so important.  Certainly, setbacks will occur and things aren’t always smooth sailing.  However, changing the mindset to think of challenges and obstacles as opportunities for improving and goal setting is powerful.   Make the most of our situations and obstacles — my mentor tells me they are just blessings in disguise. 9:  What’s the worst that can happen?

Loving myself

Some changes that I plan to make in the distant future that will help me reach the goals I’ve set for myself are putting all of my effort into getting better and trying harder in school. I recognize how fortunate I am to be here at VCU and I need to be doing everything I physically can go be well and thrive, as opposed to rotting away in my bed. It’s already been a tough semester, and I’ve found more than one reason to stay in bed for an entire day before getting out of bed and being exhausted all day, but I know I need to change this attitude. Only I can help myself, and it’s as terrifying and simple as that.
Making these changes really solidifies how badly I want to get well so I can reach my career goals. It also pushed me to want to really show these small changes in the work that I do with my team members. These past few weeks have been extremely difficult, but hearing Dr. Wu-Pong’s lessons on my strengths, I’ve been finding the will to push myself out of bed. Please trust the process and understand that it’s been genuinely horribly difficult for me, but I’m physically trying my absolute hardest.

Thank you all for your continued love and support.

Find Your Mission

This week’s classes were so fulfilling to me and I feel like I’ve learned even more about myself. Putting all the brainstorming together and finding my mission statement made me feel more prepared personally, academically, as well as professionally. My mission statement is to instill compassion, a sense of wonder, and mindfulness in others. This is important to me because through these three aspects I feel like I have found myself. I recently re-found my sense of wonder and it has given me such a greater zest for life, and that’s something I wish for everyone. Mindfulness, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, has changed my life as well as my actions. I think in such a different way now and find peace in alone time when I once felt discomfort. My mission statement extends into my career because I want to teach Preschool or Kindergarten and, to me, the most important thing to teach children at that age is compassion, and allowing them to be curious and learn on their own through experience. I have so many fond memories of being outside and learning just through sticking my head up in the branches of a tree and seeing a bird’s nest with robin eggs inside.

We are all still growing everyday. (Literally our frontal lobe’s are still figuring themselves out) I have set personal goals to greater exude my mission statement to the world. First, I’d like to improve my mental wellbeing by being more mindful, acknowledging the strengths that I have, and finding happiness in small things. I’d also like to improve my relationships and surround myself with positivity. By using my strengths I will be able to reach these goals. I am driven, mindful, outgoing, insightful, and compassionate. These are strengths that took me a long time to realize and I’m so thankful to have looked inside to really appreciate them, and all other aspects of myself.

To finish my post I’d like to share a quote from the Tao Te Ching. This book has been a favorite of mine since my freshman year of high school. I highly recommend it for anyone who meditates or enjoys yoga- it’s the source of many of my daily mantras.

Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child’s?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from your own mind
and thus understand all things?

Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.