Pranav’s Science of Happiness Blog Post #2

Pranav’s Science of Happiness Blog Post #2

Since the start of week 7 in SOH class, we have learned about Emotional Resilience, Personality traits, and Social Emotional Learning. In my opinion, they are interconnected to each other because they focus on human behaviors and emotional developments. These lectures has educated me that I have a lot to learn about myself. For example, I should track my sleep patterns, and time spent on social media because lack of sleep and more amount of social media uses can affect my personality and mood. According to American Psychological Association, personality is defined as individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. In the Week 7 reading assignment, we learned that there is correlation between the relationship of smartphone use severity with sleep quality, depression, and anxiety in university. The results in that article concluded that smartphone overuse may lead to depression and/or anxiety, which can in turn result in sleep problems. Personally, I don’t that much of a difference between these lectures; however the fact that they focus on different perspective of emotional, cognition, and personality traits. Overall the outcome of these lectures are they focus on a personal well-being and positive psychology, which relates us back to earlier content.

Since I have enrolled in SOH class, I have learned a lot about positive psychology and negative effects of social media uses. As a college student, I am stressed about my classes and grades so in order to take a break from studies I use social media. But after emotional resilience lecture, I have found out that social media impacts us negatively. Therefore, I have deleted and moved social media apps from my phone as recommended by Nina Schroder (Week 7). After completing Disconnecting for 50 minutes exercise, I have found out that if I hide my phone away during class, I tend to focus more on the lecture. Therefore, phone has been a distraction to my studies since my freshmen year. I wish I had learned it before that not using my phone for one hour is not going to affect my life at all. I have already made changes to one my daily habits – phone overuse. Before, I used to spend almost five hours and it used to distract me and affect my sleep pattern. But nowadays, I think I only use social media one hour in total, which is thirty minutes before lunch and fifteen minutes around evening, and fifteen minutes before going to sleep.

I chose the picture that is above because it represents that our young generation has social media in our mind rather than being interactive socially. We should limit our social media use, and should not post our personal life problems in social media because that makes us vulnerable to be attacked by strangers.

Image Source:

https://en.paperblog.com/low-gpas-may-increase-social-media-use-506880/

Live Your Best Life All 2018

Live Your Best Life All 2018

 

I think since I’ve learned about emotional resilience in the age of technology, SURPS and social and emotional learning it has changed my outlook on life. All the topics were intertwined and connected in various ways. Emotional resilence and the SURPS score we discussed in class were connected because our emotional resilience to technology can be related to our impulsivity score and our risk of substance abuse. Everyday most people including myself are impulsively checking our phone when there is no notification or need to; often time feeling the need to excite our life to compete with followers we may/ may not know on  our social media platforms          . If we actually act on these urges it may increase the negative effects we experience in our life.  Negative effects such as decreased  mental acuity, increase risky behaviors such as sex and drinking. However after hearing Dr. Ross’ lecture I think these can be overcame  by implementing social and emotional learning at the college level. College is a time of high stress many changes so in order to alleviate some of this stress  VCU and other universities could offer more  workshops for incoming freshman and other students throughout their college career. I think throughout my college career I definitely had to figure out how to be resilient on my own and learning to prioritize between academics and social life. The beginning of my college career I definitely struggled with spending too much time socializing with people who weren’t goal oriented and distracted me from my own goals. Luckily I was able to get back on track but this isn’t the situation for many college students who will end up spending six years in colleges instead of four or dropping out all together. Since learning about all these different topics I’ve definitely have tried to cut down on the amount of time I spend on my phone and computer if it is not school related and have noticed that the amount of time I need to study has decreased since I’m more focused. The reason I chose the Tupac meme because I feel many times people think they deserve the best in life without putting in the work.

the meme was retrieved from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/303218987382989757/

Blog #2: Testing My Happiness on a Scale of 1 to infinity

Blog #2: Testing My Happiness on a Scale of 1 to infinity

The image had the words from the song “Juicy” by Notorious BIG. When I listen to this song, I think about when I was in a place that is below rock bottom, and eventually getting so tired of being there that I clawed and fought my way out. In the song Biggie describes what his life was like before he was famous, what he had to do to get out of that situation and into a better one. Every tool I have learned in this class has helped me learn more about myself, how I see the world and given me some tools to better myself.

Three topics we discussed in class these past few weeks were: Emotional resilience in the digital age, Substance use risk profile (SURPs), and The Social and Emotional Learning Program (SEL). Emotional resilience in the digital age explored research studies that concluded that increased use of technology increases anxiety, decreases self-efficacy and self confidence. The Substance Use Risk Profile (SURPs) is a questionnaire that measures impulsivity, sensation-seeking behavior, and anxiety sensitivity in order to map out one’s proclivity for substance abuse and the type of substances one would gravitate towards. For example, I scored low in impulsivity, and medium in all the other categories. I was surprised that my impulsivity score was so low, but I was also excited to see progress. The third topic we covered, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), was a program done in grades K-12 all over the world. I noticed the focus of their program was to help kids get in touch with their emotions and express these emotions in a healthy way. Each program is different in their pathways to attaining those goals. For example, some programs have the kids do mindfulness practices, work on their communication skills, or do a daily emotional check-in.

Some of the common ties I noticed across these topics was the focus on the proclivity for risky behavior, instability, anxiety, decreased emotional resilience (like self-efficacy), and identifying how mood influences one’s outlook on life.

The topics covered from blog #1 were: Mindfulness, VIA, Depression & Anxiety (mood states), Genetics & Happiness, and the Flourishing Scale. From these topics, I learned ways to check in, notice when I’m struggling, and how the environment, my genetics and my outlook on life affect my wellbeing. I also gained tools to do something about it (e.g. meditation, stop and think before I act, and work on my strengths). Blog #1 topics were the foundation for what I learned these past few weeks because I can draw a common thread…and by “common” I mean complex af. I have learned how much the complexity of the environment and genetics can lend a boot to how I deal with my life and acquire happiness. The larger lesson I have learned so far are tools to check in (e.g. flourishing scale) when I notice I’m annoyed.

One change I have made is checking in with myself more often. I also noticed I was using my phone to look busy during uncomfortable situations or when I always felt uncomfortable when I didn’t have my phone in my hand. So I decreased my phone usage and put it somewhere where I didn’t see it when I wasn’t using it.

image from: https://lifewithsuz.com/2014/02/28/it-was-all-a-dream/

 

Don’t think about it too much

Don’t think about it too much

I feel the lectures from the various professors throughout this course so far have had an invaluable impact on me. From the first week where we assessed our own mental health and my results came back  much lower than expected so when I was reading the Keye’s lecture I evaluated how my results compared with the dimensions that reflect a person with flourishing mental health. I think one of my weaker strengths that influenced my score is that I have yet to reach environmental mastery and also developing positive relations. I think I have a harder time with environmental mastery  because I have a hard time controlling my emotions when I am in certain social situations. In addition I think I have a problem with positive relationships because, I feel like many times in our live’s we have people that may be family who are capable of invoking extremely negative emotions within us and it’s harder to cope because we can’t just “cut” people like this out of our lives.  However, since we’ve learned about being mindful, and how we can implement breathing techniques into our daily lives to control our first instincts including emotions of rage, sadness and annoyance.

What I also found interesting from our class lecturer’s is that there is no gene for mental health or illness; in addition how much of our happiness is dependent on intentional acts. Which means that everyday there is a new opportunity to increase your own happiness exponentially by deliberately doing acts that make you happy whether its going to the gym, talking to your best friend on the phone for an hour everyday which I usually do to keep myself sane. I think by doing at least one thing to keep ourselves happy everyday we can avoid episodes of depression. Most importantly I think to increase our overall happiness we need to not overthink and just be comfortable with who we are especially our weaknesses or strengths that are harder for us to express naturally.

citation for meme: https://memegenerator.net/contact date accessed: 2/11/2018

Pranav’s Science of Happiness Blog Post #1

Pranav’s Science of Happiness Blog Post #1

Image Source: https://schools.au.reachout.com/articles/about-positive-psychology

Since I enrolled in science of happiness class this semester, I have gained a lot of knowledge regarding mental health and mental illness, genetic influences, depression and anxiety, positive psychology, and strengths and virtues. In Keyes’ model, we learned that absence of mental health, which is also called “languishing in life’ is as bad as major depressive episode. When I completed the Keyes flourishing scale, I found out that my categorical result was flourishing. Flourishing means a person has positive affect, avowed quality of life, self-acceptance, personal growth, and positive relation with others. Genetic influences on adolescent behavior, particularly also show marked changes across this developmental period. Therefore, adolescence can be languishing, flourishing or moderately mentally healthy during the developmental period. I was particularly interested in the depression and anxiety lecture because I have been studying about it since last semester, but every time I listen to new lectures I tend to find new information regarding it. If we want to help our friends or family who have depression then, we should listen to them, show empathy or concern so that they don’t feel alone. I was surprised when I learned that positive psychology was introduced in the year 2000, which means there are ongoing research and studies about it. Positive psychology helps us identify our strengths and motivates us make the most of our life.

In these first four weeks since taking this class, my perspective regarding psychology has changed completely. I am interested to learn more about the positive psychology and how I can improve my daily routines. Our weekly assignments have been helping me a lot regarding my daily life basis and how I can be economical with my time as well as enjoy my daily activities. After taking VIA strength survey my views about myself have changed because one of my top strengths was kindness; which means I have ethical characteristics and a concern for others. I also learned about PERMA and how it increases our wellbeing and helps us live flourishingly. I was engrossed by the twin studies and found out that genetics has a vital role in our happiness that is almost 50%. But we can improve our mental health everyday by exercising, performing yoga, meditation and keeping ourselves active. I am very excited for this semester as we will be doing more group activities and learning more about positive psychology.

 

 

1- Thoughts on the Single Perspective

All of the topics we discussed share the same goal: to find out what impacts our happiness, how to increase our happiness while preventing/working with mental illness. The Keyes’ model of flourishing differs from the other topics because it surveys how mental health and mental illness can affect whether or not we are living life to the fullest (flourishing), bobbing along (experiencing flow) or experiencing little/no happiness (languishing). Lyubomirsky’s model shows how genetics only affects 50% of our happiness and rest is impacted by our intentions and life circumstances. Lyubomirsky’s model is different because it adds the piece about what we can do to aid in the pursuit of our happiness, which is very subjective. Depression, anxiety and mood states can be taken into account when looking at both models. They can serve as perfect examples of how genetics plays a role in how our body responds to them and how each individual reacts or deals with having these illnesses and how their happiness is affected as a result. Positive psychology relates to these topics because it moves past “person is burdened by illness, therefore give them treatment” and instead focuses on how to identify the strengths of the individual, then use those strengths to help the person thrive, regardless of any preexisting conditions. The next step is to use those strengths in everyday life to maximize happiness in the short term and the long term to ultimately create a meaningful life.

On the scale of “not surprised” to “WHOA!”, I would say very close to not surprised by any of these topics. All I could think was why all this research had the background of mental illness like PTSD, anxiety and depression, yet NO WHERE did these scientists and psychologists talk about how race impacts the prevalence of illness and happiness. Granted, people of color are still disenfranchised today, yet all of these studies are fairly recent. Keyes model is from 2002, Seligman has been publishing on positive psychology since the 90s, and Lyubomirsky’s model was presented in the 2000s. I find this disappointing and to put it mildly –lacking, so instead of blogging about the absence of this pertinent information, I decided to explore studies that looked at race as a factor. A book I found compiled several studies that explored different races and measured different characteristics that encouraged happiness and a meaningful life. One article I read looked at Hispanic and Latino communities. The characteristic that stood out to me was family-oriented values how it related to religiosity/spirituality. Family relations are paramount and there is a collectivist mindset that teaches that the needs of the family as a whole precede the individual’s needs and they found that these family oriented values were positively associated with higher self-esteem, well-being, life purpose, life satisfaction and happiness. Religiosity is an example of a culture specific strength. “Religiosity” is universal in that those who participate have a belief in a higher power. Pargament found that compared to non-hispanic whites, African Americans and Hispanics that said religion was integrated into their life on a regular basis tended to have lower rates of psychological distress. Jeglic et. al pointed out that even if  there is a universal set of positive characteristics that exists across cultures, these characteristics can and do manifest themselves differently and mean different things depending on the culture and the context.

The new information I learned is more helpful because it looked at how happiness is defined and measured within different cultures. It provided more context and shared more than just the dominant white, middle to upper class person’s perspective, their community values, and  family structure. There is nothing universal about how happiness in defined cross-culturally. Overall, the topics covered have also been useful as a reminder for me to check in with myself. For example, if I cannot focus, I take a second to figure out why. Am I hungry, angry, lonely or tired? Based off of my answer, I can come up with solutions. So if I’m hungry, I will go eat. The last thing I want to do is get hangry and take it out on an innocent bystander!

Citations: 

book used:

Chang, Edward C. (Ed); Downey, Christina A. (Ed); Hirsch, Jameson K. (Ed); Lin, Natalie J. (Ed). (2016). Positive psychology in racial and ethnic groups: Theory, research, and practice. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. xiii 339 pp., http://dx.doi.org.proxy.library.vcu.edu/10.1037/14799-000 

image used:  http://www4.pictures.zimbio.com/mp/PtcjP3kz4F3l.jpg