Blog Post 3: A Semester in Review

Blog Post 3: A Semester in Review

The most important lesson I’ve learn after sixteen weeks in this course is that I am perfectly capable of living the successful life I want to live and achieving the things I want to achieve; however, it is up to me to take what I’ve learned and apply it when I go about the rest of my life. After taking the VIA Institute Character Strength Survey back in September and considering the research from Dr. Alexis Harris and Edward Craighead in the reading assigned that week, I now know how to recognize and emphasize my character strengths, as well as weaknesses that I can continue to try to improve on.  I can choose to believe that the people in my life care about me without insecurity getting in the way of maintaining healthy relationships with people that are vital to my overall happiness and productivity as a human being. The Week 10 exercise had a profound effect on me; it was nice knowing that the people in my life actually care about me and like me for specific reasons. Learning how to properly meditate has certainly helped me improve how I cope with the stresses of school, making achieving my goals seem less daunting. The overarching principle that the type of life I would want to live is completely possible and in my hands, I just have to use the tools I have to live a happy and successful life.

From here on out, I will commit to being a more mindful person so I can not only achieve great things but feel great about myself as well. I had already made the decision to commit to living a more active lifestyle when I first started the semester because I knew I feel better physically which would, in turn, relieve some of the stress I would inevitably feel throughout the term. Earlier on in the semester I began to embrace the idea of daily meditation and I really did notice a difference in my overall mental health and level of focus; however, I took a hiatus from my meditations while I was home for a long weekend and just never did it again, so I will definitely plan to implement it back into my life next semester and beyond. I still need to work on strengthening my relationships with other people and not isolating myself.

In order to spread awareness of the benefits of positive psychology among my friends and family by giving them advice when they are stressed. I will try to tell my friends about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness when they are nervous about an upcoming test or project. I will make sure to give genuine compliments and do random acts of kindness for the people in my life so they know I value my relationships with them. I am going to try to have a more positive social media presence so hopefully peers will start to think more positively and we can reverse this negative attitude that seems to be a common theme on social media these days (no more memes about hating our lives even if we’re just joking).

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


Although I was happy before The Science of Happiness, this class has taught me how to live a balanced life. What I mean by this is that the mind and body work as one and psychological health is fundamentally linked to your physical health. There is no health without mental health, and I think many people live their lives forgetting about this major component to living a healthy life. In specific, I have learned that positive psychology is solely based off the science behind happiness and what it means to live a worthy life. In week 4’s reading Positive Psychology, it defined psychology as “not just the study of pathology, weakness, and damage; it is also the study of strength and virtue. Treatment is not just fixing what is broken; it is nurturing what is best. Psychology is not just a branch of medicine concerned with illness or health; it is much larger.” This stuck out to me because many people focus on the negative aspects of their lives (I know I did before this class) rather than the positive aspects. To go along with this, in Worthington’s lecture for week 4 he spoke to us about how to acquire virtue and options to forgiveness. He explained that our character strengths allow us to lead virtuous lives based upon our moral standards which is interestingly tied to how forgiving we are and how hard it is to forgive. In week 10 of SOH I learned about positive emotions and interventions, which mainly focused on how to feed off positive qualities. Week 10’s exercise challenged us to ask 3-5 people what they value/appreciate about us and reflect on their responses. This was one of my favorite exercises because it was so uplifting and empowering and made me feel super happy by the end. I started to give positive compliments to my friends. To rewind a bit in week 8 we focused on mindfulness, which the most effective tool I’ve taken away from this class that also ties your psychological well being. In week 8’s reading Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review, they defined mindfulness as a “receptive attention to and awareness of present events and experiences”. I think this has been my biggest take away because it not only important to my individual self, but it is essential to the workplace. This tool has allowed me to indulge in the small things to create a happier life overall. I’m glad we discussed this earlier in the course because it was definitely kept in mind throughout the semester.

Learning the science behind happiness means nothing if I don’t apply it to my daily life. I am going to commit to applying the tools and intuitions in numerous ways. I have started already by practicing random acts of kindness. For my final project we are given the task to spread awareness of what we learned over the semester into the RVA community and my group chose to set up a ‘Compliments with Color’ station at the VCU compass to spread awareness about mindfulness and positive psychology. We had set up a table where people could practice mindfulness by coloring and we gave out candies with compliments attached to them to brighten their day. We found that after they received their compliment and colored they wanted to spread their happiness by giving compliments to others in the community. However, for the future I plan to stick with the random acts of kindness and start doing mini mediation sessions. I plan to do this by downloading an app on my phone that will assist me in different mindfulness exercises to complete once a day. I believe this will decrease my stress levels and negative thoughts. To incorporate the physical well being aspect I am committed to completing 150 minutes of physical exercise throughout the week, including yoga, to improve my body and academic well being. By making these small changes in my life it will help me live a balanced life.

Sharing what I’ve learned through one post is not enough. I plan on spreading what I’ve learned verbally and through social media. I love talking about SOH with my peers, family, and friends and I find myself even happier by the end of the conversation. Beyond verbally connecting these insights with people, I plan on tweeting positive quotes and pictures to brighten up people’s day. I want to do this once a week and even include COBE in some of the tweets. I will also definitely recommend this class to others because everyone could use more happiness in their life. I am sad the science is coming to an end but excited that the happiness goes on!!!   

I chose the picture below because I think it is important to live and be fully committed to the ‘now’ which can ultimately change the future.


Wishing you the happiest!!!:)



Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2

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

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

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

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


Science of Happiness Post 1

Science of Happiness Post 1

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

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


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

Picture Source:


Science of Happiness: A Month in Review

Science of Happiness: A Month in Review

During the first real week (technically it was the second week, but syllabus week doesn’t count in this blog post) of our Science of Happiness course we were introduced to the topic of mental health so were assigned to read a scientific journal about the stigmas and misconceptions about mental illness and mental well-being; the article explained the differences between the absence of mental illness and the existence of mental health/well-being. Corey Keyes of Emory University went on the emphasize (more than enough times I might add) that the absence of mental illness does not indicate the presence of mental health; this statement conveys the idea that somebody can be living their day to day life with one or more mental illnesses and still have a fairly flourishing mental health and well-being, just as somebody without any present mental illnesses can be languishing as they live their lives. Our exercise for that week required us to take Keyes’ model of complete mental and record the results for ourselves and I thought it was quite enlightening. I was slightly surprised that the results of my survey suggested that I have a flourishing mental health, but I now know that whatever I have been doing is keeping me on the right path to well-being.

The second week of class focused on genetic factors that influence our behavior, which in turn, influence our quality of life. Our weekly reading authored by Dr. Danielle Dick, Dr. Amy Adkins, and Dr. Sally I-Chun Kuo discussed their twin studies which found that about 50 percent of our overall happiness is determined by genetic factors while 40 percent is influenced by intentional activity and 10 percent is influenced by context or environment; I wasn’t particularly surprised by these results since I had learned about this topic last year in AP Psychology. For our weekly exercise, we drew family trees to reinforce our understanding of how specific characteristics are often predetermined by your family’s phenotypes. Although I chose a very basic, physical characteristic (brown hair) to map out in my family tree, it still helped me understand that something very common in my family has a very good chance of determining my own features and characteristics, whether they be physical or mental; it is also up to me to choose how I play the cards I’m dealt to live a flourishing life. The activities of this particular week relate to Keyes’ mental health scale because it provides context and explanations for why somebody may be flourishing or languishing.

Our third week of instruction introduced the concept of positive psychology; the beginning of the week was centered around the fundamentals of forgiveness. Dr. Everett Worthington spoke to us on Monday morning about the power of forgiveness and strength it sometimes requires—his article that was assigned as our weekly reading breaks down to the steps to forgiveness more in depth. The rest of the week focused on explaining what positive psychology is and strives to do. Our second reading of the week summarized how positive psychology has evolved into a field of psychology that reinforces positive aspects of people instead of focusing on diminishing negative aspects. We took the PERMA Authentic Happiness survey provided by the University of Pennsylvania as our weekly exercise which breaks down one’s overall happiness into five main categories (I will also share my scores in each category for the sake of the blog): Positive emotion (7.33), Engagement (5.33), Relationships (5.67), Meaning (6.67), and Accomplishment (7). I was not surprised that my second lowest was relationships because I do consider myself more of an introvert, however, I was surprised by my lowest being engagement. I do not think this week’s activities relate to the previous weeks very much, but they do relate to the following weeks because it provides a foundation that will be built upon in the coming weeks.

The week dedicated to discovering our strongest and weakest character traits was my favorite week of Science of Happiness thus far. By taking the VIA Character Institute survey, I was able to acquire a list of all of my twenty-four character traits ranked from strongest to weakest. My top three strongest characteristics ranked from first to third were humor, love, and perspective, while my three weakest characteristics ranked from 22nd to 24th were forgiveness (I guess the previous week didn’t change my mindset too much), social intelligence (probably why I hated every second of having to discuss my character traits with people I didn’t know), and spirituality. Now I will be able to harvest my strengths on a more regular basis to help ensure that I continue to have a flourishing life, and continue to push myself to make my weaker characteristics stronger.


Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2

I feel like most of the topics covered in Weeks 5-10 relate to the way our external environment and internal behaviors contribute to our overall wellbeing. Romantic relationships, positive identity and relationships, yoga, and eat, move and sleep all relate to external factors. Mindfulness and getting to know yourself relate to internal factors. However – I feel like in a way all of the topics do with your internal behaviors and thought processes. The way you perceive things and how you behave is greatly influenced by the way you think.

I feel as if the biggest insight I’ve gotten from these topics is to really re-examine the way I handle situations. It’s also helped me to identify the toxic relationships and non-toxic ones, and helped me to figure out how to cut those ties. Another thing I’ve realized is how much eating, moving and sleeping affects you. I always felt that it was common sense that you need to eat, move and sleep, but it’s strange actually seeing the results and how much better I felt if I ate healthier, went on walks, and slept for the right amount of time.

One of the biggest changes that I’ve made is actually going on walks. It was so fascinating to me to learn that it’s proven that going on three 20 minute walks a week is proven to be more effective than anti-depressants. I’ve found motivational podcasts or storyline podcasts to listen to, or just uplifting music and just walk through neighborhoods. It’s honestly so amazing how much better I feel after? I also feel more energized, and it’s just so nice. 


Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

Signing up for the Science of Happiness was one of the best decisions I ever made.  The most meaningful topics to me were positive psychology, the negativity bias, and forgiveness. I feel as if all of these topics are connected – at least in my interpretation of them. I feel like they all had to do with the way you view things and your internal thinking, which has a huge effect on your overall happiness. I think that positive psychology is so interesting – the fact that there is an entire concept dedicated to helping people find and cultivate their strengths is so great. I never knew about the negativity bias before this class, and I thought it was one of the most interesting things we learned about. I know that it was a smaller topic, but it was something that really stuck with me. It’s amazing that something as simple as the way you think can make you perceive an event completely differently. Forgiveness was another really meaningful topic for me, first of all because our guest speaker Mr. Worthington was amazing – his story was so incredibly powerful and moving. I don’t know how he had the strength to forgive. I think that forgiveness is such an interesting topic. I myself have trouble forgiving, and I loved that we got to go in depth with the topic.

I have tried very hard to implement the things we’ve practiced in class – and they’ve worked more or less. I find myself trying to practice self-compassion and be kinder to myself. I’ve noticed that my thoughts have such a huge effect on my day to day life. Instead of being cruel and harsh to myself when I make a mistake, I try to think kindly about myself. Even when things happen outwardly and events happen that are out of my control, I try to think of the good that’s come out of it. I try to practice the Three Good Things exercise – well, a variation of it where I just try to think of everything good that’s happened every week when I’m having a bad one. I need to work on the self-compassion, but I’m getting there. Something I very much would like to work on is acknowledging my strengths and weaknesses and working to develop them. Another thing I would love to do is to learn how to forgive and let go. I think about Mr. Worthington’s story a lot, and I hope that one day I’ll have the courage to let go and forgive those who have wronged me. I hope I can forgive myself for the numerous mistakes I’ve made. Another part of the self-compassion thing that I think ties into positive psychology and the negativity bias is reminding myself that I’m only human.

I’ve actually utilized a lot of the practices on my friends (I find it more effective then trying to do them on myself!). When I catch them talking about their weaknesses, I try to remind them of their strengths. I’ve actually sent the VIA Strengths survey to many of my friends. I tell my peers the small facts that we learn during class – like how going for a 20 minute walk three times a week has been proven to be more effective than anti-depressants, and because of the class I can tell them about all of the resources the university has to offer, like the Well and University Counseling Services. I actually deleted most of my social media – as I realized it put me into a negative mindset and I was only posting about negative things. Hopefully, once I’ve fully detoxed from social media, I’ll be able to go back and spread what we’ve learned in this class.

I thank you for having this class – I truly have learned so much. It was such a joy attending class and gave me such a nice break from the hectic craziness of every day life. It was so amazing to have such a positive community full of people that truly wanted to learn about the science of happiness.


SOH – PeaceNHarmony 2017-05-03 09:48:44

SOH – PeaceNHarmony 2017-05-03 09:48:44

Taking Science of Happiness has been on e of the best decisions i have made. We have learned extremely relatable and necessary information to benefit my psychological, physical, and mental wellbeing. We cultivated about positive psychology, different reaction yoga has on the mind and body, guided meditation, stress relief, anxiety, depression and mindfulness. The topics that stood out to me the most was understanding the differences between mood states and depression, practicing mindfulness, and guided meditation.

In the reading Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review they give us statistical proof on how staying and being mindful is beneficial to our work environment, stress and anxiety levels, and increase or decrease in attention span. In two studies, mindfulness sped recovery from negative emotions after both a mood induction (Keng, Robins, Smoski, Dagenbach, & Leary, 2013) and public speaking (Brown, Weinstein, & Creswell, 2012). Mindfulness training has also produced a shorter time to peak arousal in a sample of patients with social anxiety (Goldin & Gross, 2010). Mindfulness has also been proven to increase positivity in emotional reactivity and general emotional tone, Dr. Good had also discussed how practicing mindfulness can increase awareness and attention span, and an absence of it can increase anxiety, depression and cortisol (stress hormone). This can also be directly related to mood states. Experiencing anxiety or depression is possible that it can be more of a permanent state, but its more common to experience these as mood states. Mood states are certain emotions we feel on a high level but only for temporarily.

I plan to apply these insights by learning more about myself and things around me always being mindful of what I learn, and using that to my advantage in every way possible. One change that I’ve made in my life is I’ve started regularly going to yoga classes and attending the gym with a friend every week. I made this change because I learned about yoga from SOH and after participating in a yoga session for class, I decided I would give it a try, and found that I really love it. It is calming, an escape, and really a way to center yourself before going out into this hectic world. The things that I want to change next include wanting to meditate regularly again. Last year I had a time where I was meditating daily but eventually fell out of it. Looking back I know it had a huge impact on my life, and knowing more about it now makes me very interested in getting back into it. I also want to start being more active about what I eat, and eating healthier. After I heard other groups in class talk about being part of the “eat” group, I thought that it sounded like a good idea. While it can be difficult, being that i do not eat 3 meals a day, I believe that eating healthy has more potential to improve your life than nearly anything else, and being diligent and watching what you eat is key to eating better.


Final Post


I think that most things we learned can be tied back to two topics, the Keyes flourishing scale and the Broaden and Build Theory. The Broaden and Build theory asserts that the positive emotions and habits cultivated when things are good can then be used when things are bad, resulting in positive coping mechanisms, which help mitigate the effect of the negative situation. Positive psychology interventions are ways to practice and develop these skills. Interpersonal relationships provide the kind of support that helps when dealing with difficult times.  Risk factors for addiction and genetic and environmental influences on other aspects of mental health place you on a certain side of the Keyes’ Flourishing Scale, your position on which can then be changed based on the decisions you’re making. The 50%, 40% 10% statistic also encapsulated a lot of the findings different professors presented.

I am personally focusing on practicing good habits, kind of in the same way you would work out for your mental health. I am trying to practice mindfulness more often (I do so when walking to class), and try and actively take not when something good is happening. One of the things I’ve noticed after taking this class is how much happiness I have in my life I haven’t really experienced because I haven’t noticed it. I’m also trying to pay more attention to when I am in my zone/experiencing flow. I’ve been sharing my insights via Twitter but honestly I think just talking to people about Positive Psychology is a better way to get the word out. I got to give a talk to Active Minds this semester, and being able to share what we’ve been learning was very empowering.


One of the more recent connections I’ve made from class is the potential of taking a positive psychology approach to religion. I can’t speak for anyone else’s, of course, but mine kind of maps out a way of life. Focusing on everything I should be doing and am unable to can be very overwhelming, somewhat similar to focusing on what is “wrong” with you with mental health. Instead, I’ve been trying to focus on what I am naturally good at, and taking the things I am not so good at as strengths I can work on. One of the findings presented in class that I found particularly interesting is that people reported satisfaction by working on their top five or bottom five strengths, so I am hopeful that this mindset will help me feel better about where I am in terms of practicing faith, but really I think it could be applied to any way of life.

The picture below summarizes what I’ve learned in this class. That 40% has been so empowering to discuss, and the picture below reminds me that no matter where we start, we can all move towards flourishing.


SOH: Blog Post #3

This year went fast, and I’m honestly sad to see Science of Happiness go.  This class gave me great information on positive psychology and how I can incorporate different aspects of it into my daily life. From this class, the most meaningful things  I’ve incorporated into my life were the guided meditation and yoga, information from our healthy relationship section, and information from our eat, move, sleep. As for why, these topics have actually helped me either physically or psychologically, personally and professionally. Personally, when I started logging what I ate, when I slept, what I did physically; I started losing weight and I honestly felt happier, and professionally, when simply just meditating, I was able to relieve any stress/anxiety I felt. These topics are sort of intertwined if you think about it. For example guided meditation and yoga can ultimately help foster and grow mindfulness in an individual, as well as healthy eating/relationships; but, healthy eating/relationships can help foster positive psychological feelings in an individual. Honestly,

In the article Health-Related Variables and Academic Performance Among First-Year College Students:Implications for Sleep and Other Behaviors  written by Mickey T. Trockel, Michael D. Barnes, and Dennis L. Egget, they write about how college students who have later wake up times statistically have lower GPAs, In their study, they look at several variables(exercise,sleep, nutrition) in college students and figured that good nutrition, moderate exercise, and good sleep hygiene is essential for a high GPA (). In class, Dr. Mountcastle seemed to echo those points put forth in the article. She talks about the need for choosing a healthier option when picking your food, although she did mention that longer sleepers did have higher GPAs compared to their shorter sleeping brethren.

Honestly I’m not a social creature, I made a fake Facebook account for the social media posts and it’s completely bare. I don’t really do social media and I’m probably not gonna be posting on Snapchat about what I’ve learned in this class, no offense. However, I do have a close-knit group of friends who have other friends and I’m sure that if I tell my friends about this class/these aspects, social contagion may kick in and maybe my influence will spread. A girl can dream though.¯\_(ツ)_/¯

To anyone reading this: Thanks for reading my post, and thanks for being a good classmate. Have a Good Summer!


The Science Ends But Happiness Goes On

Being part of The Science Of Happiness has been nothing short of an incredible learning experience on all fronts. One thing I took from it more than anything else was the idea of mindfulness, and how much it  plays into our mental state every minute of our lives. Mindfulness has a lot to do with awareness, but in particular it’s awareness about yourself and your surroundings. Knowledge becomes incredibly powerful once you apply awareness to those things that you come to be more knowledgeable about. This can be applied to anything. For instance, when learning about relationships we learned about how important communication really is for you and your partner. During week 9, I was assigned a move exercise. This turned out to be influential to me as well because I found out how much actively doing something and moving will take your mind off of things and overall make you a much happier person, but often you may not be aware of that unless you look back on it later and realize how happy you were. Another topic that was particularly meaningful to me was week 13, when we filled out the VIA strengths survey and then compared all of our results together. This assignment was especially meaningful to me because it helped me find out a lot about myself that I likely wouldn’t have found otherwise. My top three were Kindness, Perspective, and Appreciation for Beauty, which after thinking more on the topic I realized were all very true to me and what I value. All of these things can be related back to mindfulness and awareness in different ways. For instance, being aware of your own happiness while you’re out moving, or being aware of your eating and sleeping and what affect that’s having on your body, as  well as being mindful on how healthy your relationship is and how well you and your partner have been communicating.

I want to apply these insights by learning more about myself and things around me always being mindful of what I learn, and using that to my advantage in every way possible. One change that I’ve made in my life is I’ve started regularly going to yoga classes with a friend every week. I made this change because I learned more about yoga from SOH and decided I would give it a try, and found that I really love it. It is calming, an escape, and really a way to recenter yourself before going back out into the world. The things that I want to change next include wanting to meditate again. Last year I had a time where I was meditating daily but eventually fell out of it. Looking back I think that it had a really positive impact on my life, and knowing more about it now makes me very interested in getting back into it. I also want to start being more active about what I eat, and eating healthier. After I heard other groups in class talk about being part of the “eat” group, I thought that it sounded like a good idea. While it can be difficult, I believe that eating healthy has more potential to improve your life than nearly anything else, and being diligent and watching what you eat is key to eating better.

Now that class is sadly over, what I plan to do is spread what I’ve learned and inform other people about the class as much as possible. I’ve already spent time telling my mom and sister all about what I’ve learned within the class, as well as a number of my friends. In fact, I think my best friend in particular may even be a bit tired of hearing about the class because I always end up telling her about whatever we’ve learned recently. I want to tell other people to take this class because I think that it is an incredibly unique experience that I am gifted to have been a part of and I want as many people to know about it as possible. I also have thought about telling my friends back home what I’ve learned about this summer, as there are a few friends who I know will be interested to hear about stuff that we learned about in class.

I am incredibly, incredibly grateful to have been part of this class and for everything that it has taught me. I would take it again or a level two of the class without a moments hesitation.

Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

Yeleum Lee

Univ Science of Happiness Class

Blog Post #3


The Science of Happiness class has taught me extremely relatable and necessary information to benefit my mental, psychological, and physical wellbeing. We learned about positive psychology, different effects yoga has on the mind and body, guided meditation, stress relief, anxiety, depression and mindfulness. The topics that stood out to me the most was understanding the differences between mood states and depression, practicing mindfulness, and guided meditation.

In the reading Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review they give us statistical proof on how staying and being mindful is beneficial to our work environment, stress and anxiety levels, and increase or decrease in attention span. In two studies, mindfulness sped recovery from negative emotions after both a mood induction (Keng, Robins, Smoski, Dagenbach, & Leary, 2013) and public speaking (Brown, Weinstein, & Creswell, 2012). Mindfulness training has also produced a shorter time to peak arousal in a sample of patients with social anxiety (Goldin & Gross, 2010). Mindfulness has also been proven to increase positivity in emotional reactivity and general emotional tone, Dr. Good had also discussed how practicing mindfulness can increase awareness and attention span, and an absence of it can increase anxiety, depression and cortisol (stress hormone). This can also be directly related to mood states. Experiencing anxiety or depression is possible that it can be more of a permanent state, but its more common to experience these as mood states. Mood states are certain emotions we feel on a high level but only for temporarily. Guided meditation was also very beneficial to my everyday life because I did not see yoga and mediation to help me live in the moment and practice being mindful, but with guided mediation, it helps us focus on certain aspects such as breathing, and feeling our muscles relax from our neck to the bottom of our spine and appreciating the present.

It is vital for everyone especially students under a great deal of stress to be informed in these subjects. It is only helpful to ourselves to understand what mood states are, enjoy guided meditation and practice mindfulness because it improves and keeps us constantly in a positive mental, physiological, and physical state. I will apply the content of what I’ve learned by using the weekly-guided meditation link, and taking time at the end of the day and listing what I am grateful for. I have already started to list the things at the end of the day that have gone right and what I could have done for that to have happened and something I can continue to work on is trying to find time for myself in such a hectic schedule I have for myself. I plan on spreading this message in my future by continuing the weekly social media posts, it is a great way to spread positive messages to our friends in a way that doesn’t make everyone feel like they’re doing a school assignment!


Endings and New Beginnings

Before the course started, I was unsure what to expect with Science of Happiness. Unlike many students in our class, I am not a psychology major; I am a journalism major, a non-traditional student, and I wanted another class to complete my schedule. When I got the e-mail about Science of Happiness, I realized it would fit well. And because I struggle with depression and anxiety, I hoped it would be beneficial and validating. Thankfully, I was correct.

I have truly benefited from the discussions surrounding positive psychology. “Positive Psychology: An Introduction” (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi) discussed the value of things like future-mindedness and forgiveness in coping with depression. While practicing and emphasizing those will not cure depression, they can help mitigate it and aim to keep one more grounded, which goes a long way. Dr. Sood’s mention that not everyone has a traditionally sunny or positive demeanor was relevant and meaningful to me, too, however. My depression often manifests itself outwardly, and I am not always able to “pass” as happy or even content. Recognizing this as okay helps keep me from chastising myself for depressive symptoms being visible; it also helps me to feel more motivated to work on embracing the times when I do feel content or happy.

Having spent almost two decades of my life in psychiatrist offices, I often felt they were trying to “correct” my inherent wrongs rather than viewing me as a complex person who just needed some assistance and adjustments. Positive psychology has taught me to recognize and embrace my virtues and positive attributes. In particular, the VIA character strength assessment helped me realize some of my most positive attributes – appreciation of beauty and excellence, for example – are not weird quirks worthy of ridicule, but merely part of the unique way I operate and look at the world. Since receiving those results, I have become more introspective and appreciative of the positive traits that are uniquely “me.” To that end, mindfulness – especially through coloring and meditation – has helped me be more aware and present, which helps me to be more grounded as well as be more willing and able to appreciate the beauty and excellence around me every day.

Although I greatly enjoy meditating and coloring, I need to work on setting aside time to dedicate to doing them. After our “7 Days of Calm” exercise I completed for class, I was inspired to meditate regularly for a few minutes each morning. Unfortunately, I fell out of that routine, and it has since sort of fallen by the wayside. That is something I would like to set as a goal for the coming months.

I have spoken in detail to my partner, family, and friends about my enjoyment with the course. In an otherwise rather stressful semester, Science of Happiness has been an invaluable “break” from that stress and tension. It has helped me to start my days off on a better note, which is often what I need the most. I have enjoyed, too, posting on the Twitter account I created for the class. A few friends have mentioned to me how much they enjoy the insights and knowledge I share there, as they are working on their mental health journeys, too. As I have also done before taking this course, I plan to continue to discuss various aspects of mental health on my social media channels. That is something truly important to me, and I know it has benefited family and friends as well.

[Image from Mike Lynch’s “Positive Psychology: The Path to Living a Happier, More Fulfilling Life” at]

Final Thoughts

Throughout this semester I learned to hone the skills in learning to maintain my mindfulness skills, meditate for anxiety and learn the power of forgiveness. Mindfulness is the power of being present and living in the moment so you can better your stress and anxiety. Being present and taking a breath can really slow down your heart.

Learning to be mindful when your anxious can really reduce panic attacks, at least in my experience. It was really cool to learn about Amygdala “These almond-shaped clusters are the most active when you experience fear or aggression, due to the fact that they are responsible for triggering the body’s fight or flight response.” Which can “convince your amygdala that you are in danger” (Calm Clinic)

I appreciated hearing the science behind anxiety and how Pathologic anxiety can cause you not function in comparison normal anxiety which is adaptive and normal. Anxiety has the ability to keep you stuck in a mental space which is filled fear, stress and being stuck in the past. Anxiety can truly mess your perception of a situation. But my recognizing it and changing your automatic thoughts so your first thoughts are not negative but positive. This allows you to truly unpack an emotion.

I can connect mindfulness to anything. Stress management. Anxiety. Yoga. Meditation. It all trickles down due to everything being connected in its own way. Yoga requires you to be mindful and practice your breathing. Meditation is a form of being still and breathing to clear you head and thoughts. Meditation can reduce stress because you are being mindful, and can ultimately help you manage your anxiety

I think the most meaningful topic was what I based my main project on. How our relationships with our families can ultimately project into our romantic relationships. Its fascinating how the healthiness of one relationship can affect a future one.

I am going to commit these insights into how i treat future relationships and how i view my future as whole. As a professional i think understanding these elements can make me a better communicator and allow me to pass this knowledge on.

I’ve put my time to meditate on a pedestal. I used to not make time for it because I didn’t see value in it. But now that i’ve seen major results I am able to take it seriously.

I plan on sharing my insight in real life. I will probably continue to tweet about it.

Blog post 3


Joining the Science of Happiness class this semester has truly been a blessing. Throughout the semester I have gained so much strength, patience, and understanding from practicing techniques learned in this class from meditation to the importance of relationships and forgiveness. One of the major lessons I learned from this class was that in the positive Identity lecture done by Zoe Neale when she discussed the perceptions of self and others. This stood out to me because we were asked to turn to an individual sitting next to us and try to read which emotion they were trying to express and from the laughs and gasps going I could hear around me, I sensed that a majority of the students were incorrect. This activity really made the whole presentation click because at times what emotions we want others to see simply cannot be seen. Day by day our generation’s emotional intelligence decreases because we live in a fast pace world where taking the time to simply look into someone’s eyes ( human to human) and know how they are feeling becomes alien. Many of these emotions are hidden behind technology, drugs, alcohol, etc. and individuals are earnestly trying to live this picture perfect lifestyle seen on social media.

Some topics I can connect to from this are the importance of social relations and romantic relations. This is because in both of these being able to have emotional intelligence is vital. Without emotional intelligence, no person in the relationship would ever know when they are taking something too far or when something is not right and things may get escalate fast. Additionally, some of the other topics that were very meaningful to me were the eat, sleep, move, and positive psychology/wellbeing topics. They were meaningful to me because I believe that the mind, body, and spirit are one and need to be filled daily just as you fill your stomach every day. By meditating/praying, exercising, watching what you eat and getting proper sleep you are properly taking care of yourself.

To continue practicing positive psychology I will definitely try to be more selfless and give more than I receive. I will try to practice yoga and find news ways of meditating and releasing stress. Some changes that I have already made in my lifestyle are after I get out of classes I look up at the sky and just appreciate nature and the time that I have on this earth. I also practice positive identity and self-forgiveness by acknowledging my rights more than my wrongs and trying to allow myself to grow past my wrongs rather than dwelling on them. Some changes I still need to make are staying consistent with my meditating and practicing keeping my mind clear and not constantly thinking about unnecessary worries. Lastly, I plan on sharing this information by continuing posting on social media and finding new videos on youtube to also share. Because I have taken this class I now know the importance of true happiness and that it is not a means of finding happiness but it is me taking who/what I already have in life and finding happiness through that.




Crossing the Threshold

This semester I have been working so hard to uphold my grades as well as myself. I remember when I signed up for this class I was so excited to see the changes it was going to make in my life. As I reflect back on  the first weekly reading, I learned that I was not flourishing as a human being. According to the Keyes scale I was languishing and I was not satisfied with my results, so with this classes help I decided to change those results. I noticed that from the scale we took the first week of classes that I always look at the negative things in life and not so much the positive aspects. I knew that this class could change my outlook on life and how I saw myself as a person. The first topic that impacted my life was mindfulness. I have never felt so stress free and happy just by saving a couple of minutes for myself daily. Where I could just be Givenchy without thinking about my pile of homework, what’s in my bank account, what meetings I have to go to or, paying for my tuition. There is so much that passes through a college student’s brain on the daily basis, but mindfulness has brought along an escape outlet. I now have a routine to uplift myself and stay positive even when things aren’t going my way. Science of Happiness is a class that should be a requirement, because everyone wants to be happy and succeed mentally.  Another topic that changed my mindset was positive psychology.  “Positive psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive.” Positive psychology was founded on the belief that people want to live  meaningful and fulfilling lives, and to capture what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences. I feel as if I have definitely learned how to appreciate life more and conquer my problems rather than letting them consume me. I am pretty confident that mindfulness and the impact of positive psychology will continue to be apart of me.

Additionally, I plan on spreading the information I have learned in this class with my family and VCU peers . I have had the opportunity to grasps onto so much beneficial information in this particular class. I will say that the final project helped me reach out to people in the community and also to my peers about what I have learned in this course. Also my social media post every week have been helping people and to see their comments makes me feel like I’m giving back in a sense. I am appreciative that I could render information to help others that also helped me. I have come to the conclusion that I can share the information by telling others and also sharing my group project as a visual learning aid. I haven’t quite reached the level of happiness I want, but this is a growing process. I am willing to perfect my positive outlook on life, my meditation, and yoga moves.This class has been a true blessing to me. I would recommend this course to anyone because happiness is something that can’t be bought but can be taught. I look forward to growing within and becoming who I have always dreamed to be.

“Happiness isn’t Expensive”

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The Science of Happiness class gave me a detailed overview of necessary information needed to improve my mental health to help me enjoy life fully. We went over topics such as positive psychology, mindfulness, depression and anxiety, yoga, positive identity, romantic relationships and personality traits. Out of all these topics the major lessons I learned were the benefits of practicing mindfulness, how romantic relationships can be influenced socialization, and the differences between depression and mood states.

From the reading by Good et al. on mindfulness, I learned that mindfulness has both physical and psychological benefits. Practicing mindfulness has been seen to decrease anxiety and depression, increase awareness and concentration, as well as slowing down degenerative neurological issues involved with aging (Good). Dr. Salvatore discussed the influences involved with how adults function in romantic relationships in her lecture. The study she addressed observed the effect relationships had on someone’s life satisfaction. The cross-sectional study found that positive life satisfaction is directly related to close relationships. The way people interacted within these romantic or close relationships was impacted by their socialization starting from childhood and their social interactions as they aged. The study found a correlation between the socialization and competency in romantic relationships. However, there were instances where someone didn’t have a positive upbringing and they were still able to develop competency in romantic relationships. Depression is when you experience sadness in an engulfing way that impacts your day to day actions. With depression you can have states where you experience emotions in extremely high or low states. On the other hand, mood states are when you experience certain emotions but only temporarily.

All of these topics are beneficial to understand and be knowledgeable about because practicing good mindfulness habits, making good relationships romantic or not, and learning the risk factors of depression and differentiating it from mood states can all lead to maintaining a positive mental and physical lifestyle. I will continue to use these thing by meditating at least once a day, and just practicing just being positive. Also by sharing my knowledge of these topics it will help me keep up with it myself. Things that I’ve already changed in my life would have to be my awareness of my surrounds, I’ve become more mindfulness of the little things in life. Also one thing I enjoy doing is giving out compliments to people. It lifts my mood as well as theirs. Thinking about positive aspects in my life has also helped me overcome most of my anxiety issues that I experience. One thing that I could work on would be my commitment to actually following through with these exercises such as meditation and positive thinking.

To share this information I would continue by doing the weekly media post, because those were a great way to spread the word about this class and the things we learned. Plus everyone can benefit from those information.

Good, Darren J., et al. “Contemplating mindfulness at work: an integrative review.” Journal of Management 42.1 (2016): 114-142.

Blog #3

Blog Post 3

I really enjoyed taking this class and I learned many new things throughout the semester. Some major lessons learned this semester have been giving back, practicing mindfulness, and mental health awareness. I think this last third of the content also focused on how we can improve how we live our lives. I especially think forgiveness could influence our lives for the better. Dr. Worthington’s talk was incredibly moving and powerful and I have since tried to forgive others more readily. Now, from class content I know that forgiveness has two components: the decision to forgive and the emotional capacity behind it. I am a recovery and mental health advocate so  weeks 10 and 13 were some of my favorite weeks in class when we did learned about risk factors for substance use and about character strengths. In fact, I run an All-Recovery meeting at the Well; we do an experiential exercise for 10 minutes at the start of each meeting and the Science of Happiness class has played a very influential role on which group exercises I choose. For example, one week I made a poster of the 24 VIA character strengths and had the group members write down which ones they felt were their strongest and which ones were there weakest then we discussed them and it was a great success. I have also used group to educate others about well-being, healthy choices, forgiveness, and positive psychology. Furthermore, I was able to get many people in recovery interested in learning more about personality factors that influence substance use and have them take the SURPS survey.

I can commit to applying these insights to my daily life. I can commit to 1.) A daily gratitude journal  2.)  forgiveness 3.) eating healthier 4.)  sharing and practicing what I have learned. Through this class I started a gratitude journal with my roommate that was a good practice in happiness. I also started eating healthier and keeping up with exercising. Also, I find myself being more mindful everyday which keeps me grounded and I have been able to share this with friends. I plan to further the science of happiness content by using what I learned to continue meeting topics and exercise as well as posting on social media and by word of mouth.


Blog Post 3

Blog Post 3

I think that the most meaningful topics for me were the lessons on automatic negative thoughts, mindfulness, and gratitude. I have struggled with automatic negative thoughts a lot, making tasks like presenting, and even calling up to talk to a few friends difficult. I tend to think that my voice is annoying or that I try to call or text my friends and family to the point where I’m just being a bother. And although these thoughts have been proven to be wrong, its still bothersome to deal with. However, when learning that these thoughts happen to everyone, that they were normal allowed me to feel just a bit better. And with the help of the weekly exercise I’ve haven’t been having too much trouble with them. I still have them, of course, but I have found myself thinking on more of the positives in order to quiet these thoughts just a little. Mindfulness was another meaningful lesson for me because I am always fretting over the past or the future, and I realized that I don’t really enjoy the things in the present and so I miss out on a lot. After the lessons on mindfulness I have taken more time to really appreciate the things around me. Especially recently with the wonderful weather we have been having lately. I take my time walking to enjoy the warm weather, to admire how bright and blue the sky is, and even the chatter of other students around me. Doing so also helps with stress seeing that I am not spending all of my time wondering about my future or mulling over something I had done hours or even years ago. Focusing my thoughts on the now has allowed me to relax and prepare better for the tasks I need to do now rather than stress myself over the what ifs. Lastly, gratitude is another lesson I really enjoyed because I realized that with everything that has been on my mind (school, my career, etc) I don’t really take the time to appreciate the people and things in my life that allows me to be able to think about, and even stress about, the things I am now. I only get to stress about school because I have amazing parents who are doing so much for me by giving me the opportunity to even go to college. And it motivates me to work hard so that I can really give back to them in the future.

The lessons I had mentioned above would be really helpful in the career I hope to have in the future, which is a psychologist. Mindfulness would especially be helpful because by keeping my mind in the present I can really give all of my attention to my client. I can devote my attention and really listen to what they are saying, to gauge their emotions, and find the best ways to respond rather than fretting over saying something wrong or if I would end up doing more harm than good. I think that it will also help my clients if I were to share the exercise with them, if one of their troubles include thinking too much of the past or future. And, of course, the lesson on active listening would also be a lot of help to my career since for most of it I will need to listen to my clients as they tell me what they are feeling, etc. Some changes I made by incorporating what I learned is to make sure to devote some of my time to focus on the good things that happened rather than focusing on little things that I would eventually blow up into a bigger deal than it was. It also lets me appreciate the things that happened and what I did that day. However, I still have a bit of trouble hesitating on doing a lot of things (contacting a few people, etc) and so I still need to work on controlling my negative thoughts. Also I think that I need to incorporate more time to meditate, even just a little, so that I can have a way to relax after a busy and stressful day, especially since finals are coming up. And after learning how much your diet can affect you other than physically, a change I need to make is to be more mindful of what I eat.  However, seeing that a complete dietary change seems like a bit too much, I think I just need to take more care of how much junk I eat and find healthier snack options.

I would continue to share the insights and lessons I have learned by incorporating them into the conversations I have with my friends and family. What I mean by that is that I tend to find that a lot of people trust me enough to come to me looking for advice or for someone to listen to. And I could share these lessons and insights with them in hopes that they would be as helpful to them as they were to me. For example, most of the times they seemed to just be stressed, just like me, about things in the past or thinking about the future. So showing them how to stay in the present (maybe by meditation or even just going outside to sit with them to talk and have them enjoy the weather and nature) so that they can have a moment to relax and then maybe we can work though ideas on how to work towards their goal, etc.

Always stay humble and kind

Over the course of this past semester I have learned some major lessons, not only about myself but those around me. Some of the major lessons I have learned this semester is how important it is to recognize unhealthy behavior that is going on in your life. Recognizing why you aren’t happy, or what is getting in the way of making you a happier person. This was probably the most meaningful thing I learned because I was constantly blaming myself, while a majority of it was not being mindful of what was going on around me. I learned that I need to start being present in the moment in order to pinpoint what obstacles in my life are causing the stress, anxiety, and anger. Since enrolling in The Science of Happiness, I began taking the time out of my day to be present in the moment and practice taking deep breaths. Just three minutes, twice a day has helped me feel less anxious throughout the day. Another major lesson that I learned this semester is about forgiveness aka the hardest thing to do. Forgiveness has always been one of my biggest struggles, after listening to Dr. Worthingon speak about his forgiveness of others inspired me to really try and face those people who I’ve  had a hard time forgiving, I know that there is a lot of work that needs to be done because one lecture alone isn’t going to be enough to make me forgive those who have hurt me in my past. However, I have leaned that being able to take the steps to forgive someone is a starting point. I plan to share this information on social media by re-blogging, sharing, and posting about what I am doing in my life that helps maintain happiness i.e spreading random acts of kindness and challenging those to do the same.

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Final Blog Post

I would like to start off by saying that I went into this class as a way to get 3 credit hours and did not expect much out of it. However, this could not be farther from the truth. I gained so much experience from SOH. A lot of the guest speakers we had gave such powerful and insightful lectures with information that I will give my all to continue to use throughout my life. One of the topics that I think I will follow the most is mindfulness. I started out with no knowledge on the subject, and even having not heard the word before. However, as I started to understand it more I began thinking “where was this all of my life?” I have never regarded myself as someone who is an attentive communicator nor someone who is very grounded in focusing on the present. However, after being shown how to practice active listening my friends even started commenting on my change in conversation. Saying that they felt I was really appreciating everything that was coming out of their mouths. I have also been attempting to use metacognition as mentioned in Contemplating mindfulness at work. My mind is usually a jumbled mess with all of the volunteering, school work and social activities I need to keep track of that slowing down and trying to understand and sort through my mind has been helping me stay much more relaxed.

Something else that was extremely helpful and I am sure I will use was the Via survey. When we took the survey for our exercise I realized this is perfect for job interviews. I’ve never known what to say to interviewers when they ask what are your strengths and weakness and now I have the perfect answer.

Another topic that I am currently using daily, and will hopefully continue to use, is meditation. I have had chronic insomnia since high school and unfortunately I am too young for sleep aids because of how addictive they are. So, for years I would struggle to get maybe 3 hours of sleep a night. Someone once recommended meditation to me and I shrugged it off thinking that’s stupid I can meditate. However, after trying it in class a few times I became much better and I have my sleep average up to 6 hours a night which is astounding to me. However, something that I have not been doing very efficiently is focusing on the present. My mind tends to wander far too much to mistakes I have made in the past and possible mistakes I could make in the future. I need to work on letting those things go and learning from them so that I don’t repeat the errors I have made.

I think this picture wraps up everything I have learned very well. When I saw it I actually decided to write a sticky note out myself and keep it on the wall above my desk just to remind myself to slow down and in general be happy.

Blog Post #3

I think the major lessons I learned from this class were how to effectively deal with my own stress of everyday life to promote living a healthier and happier life over all. For example, the lesson on forgiveness was really important when to came to the personal relationships in my life. I felt so much better just giving the issues to God and knowing the everything will find a way to work out in the end. I always try to control things to work in my favor but that’s not always possible and sometimes forgiving someone is better for yourself than it is to hold on to the negative emotions associated with that person or situation.  If Dr. Worthington was able to forgive his mother’s killer and forgive himself after his brothers death, than can forgive others for their wrong doings and myself for my own.

Having the knowledge of how and why practices like mediation and mindfulness work give me more of a desire to actually practice them more consciously. Mindfulness especially is helpful to keep me from reacting emotionally versus rationally. I do tend to be quick to react of emotion when its anger. Reacting irrationally on anger is not something that is appropriate especially in the work place. So just knowing that I do have a way to calm myself down is enough to commit it. I have really been struggling with anxiety this semesters so committing myself to meditation has been hard. I’ve made more of an effort to meditate before I go to bed because I know it does help me unwind from stress built up through out the day. However, I still need to make more of an effort to use small moments in the day like walking to class to keep the stress at a lower level through the whole day.

I think just sharing a quick tip over twitter is the best way to spread the word. Twitter as a whole has seemed to develop a community that’s really interested in self growth. Having a factual basis behind the concepts make them more valid. Science of Happiness this semester has been a journey of self growth to make the effort to be a happier person because it is in my control. A lot of people just think that their happiness is solely dependent of their life circumstances but we can find the happiness we seek within our own selves.

Image Citation: Deschene, Lori . Digital image. Tiny Buddha. N.p., n.d. Web.

Final Blog Post

Science of happiness was a very rewarding class and taught me things that I had no prior knowledge on. My favorite topics covered in this class include positive psychology, romantic relationships, forgiveness, and mindfulness. Positive psychology taught me that the goal of this concept is to cure mental illness. However, it is meant to complement no replace the existing understanding of mental and physical health challenges which was mentioned in class. The lesson on romantic relationships was extremely interesting to me because I have a serious relationship and learning improvement strategies is always a plus. I learned that competence in romantic relationships is emergent. I could understand why some traits pertain to those couples that are unhappy. For example, if there is no trust, compassion, jealousy, and trust issues in your relationship then it is likely to not last. I realized that I wanted to have a happy relationship always and therefore those negative traits will never enter my relationship. I am a strong believer in the term “No Trust, No Us”. Forgiveness was a lesson I will never forget because I tend to hold on to things that end up hurting me even more in the long run. I am not a forgiving person but after our guest speaker talked about all the terror he witnessed I realized that there are not worth holding on to. Forgiveness and mindfulness go together for me because letting someone go and letting things go in general can take a toll on your mental health. I think that once I started practicing mindfulness and self-care I could let things go that normally I would hold on to for a long time.

Since I realize now that mindfulness and self-care can go a long way in making you feel good I have made a few changes in my life. For example, every morning I tend to do a silent mediation even if it is for only five minutes, that way I can collect my thoughts and get prepared for the day ahead of me. Another thing I have changed that I want to continue doing is I tend to get sad and down a lot but now I have started doing things that make me feel good, for example, I go to the movies, the beach, dinner with friends, etc. Life is short therefore you need to get out there and do the things you love with the people you love. I learned from this class that we are so focused on the future we tend to neglect the present.

I will gladly pass on the information I have learned in this class to those around me. Mainly, because I know that there are people in my personal social network that need to work on their forgiveness, self-care, and romantic relationships. I do know that it is not my place to tell someone what to do in their relationship so I doubt I will touch that subject but I am not afraid to tell someone when they are in the wrong or when they need to give themselves a little bit of love. I have always been told that no one can love you like you love yourself and that is an important concept to learn I believe. Science of happiness has taught me a tremendous amount of information about myself. I want to take a part two if available because this is information that EVERYONE should know. Your mental, physical, emotional health all matter. It is okay to know that.

I picked the image that says be good to yourself because that was something that this class taught me and I am so thankful for it. I was always so hard on myself prior to this class and I am thankful now that I was able to break out of that. This semester has been a long one but this class always made it go by faster!


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SOH Final Blog

Coming into this class, I honestly just needed a class to fill my schedule with graduation looming in my last semester here. I had somewhat of a blasé attitude in the beginning until I started realizing how much this class was so helpful in my life and my life choices. Learning Mindfulness has truly been one of the best things to happen to me. More often than none, it’s so easy to get caught up in life’s stresses, anxiety, and other factors that negatively impact your physical and emotional well-being. Learning Mindfulness has taught me to seek out the positive and how to limit the negatives in my life. Not only learning about Mindfulness, but also the close relationships readings.  The Collins and Simpson article on close relationships was probably my favorite reading (that and the article on sleep implications and behaviors). The close relationship article spoke more or less about romantic relationships, however, I tie it in with relationships in general. I am a hard person to give my trust to and I don’t forgive easily. I have my very “small circle” of people I hang with and though I’m generally a friendly person, I don’t like going outside of my circle because I trust that the people I hang around. This article had a lot of theory that helps to explain why I am like this and made me think long and hard about changing this attitude. A lot of this is generated from me not being a forgiving person. When people tend to do me wrong, I tend not to go back to being friends with that person or even being cordial with that person. Dr. Worthingham’s Forgiveness lecture was very good for me. To hear all of the things that he went through (his mother’s death, his brother’s suicide) and how he forgave the killer and himself (for what happened to his brother), I see that I should be way more forgiving and not isolate myself just because I feel like someone has wronged me. I don’t have to be buddy buddy with that person, but at the same time I don’t need to go through life holding grudges. Going through life being bitter and having animosity towards people is very toxic and contributes to negative thinking and believe it or not, it has a huge impact on your emotional and physical well-being.

I commit to myself that 1.) I will be more forgiving, 2.) I will practice Mindfulness, 3.) I will continue to do activities to keep my stress and anxiety levels down, 4.) I will be more conscious of what I put into my body and my sleeping patterns. 2-4 I have made significant strides so far. #4 has been the hardest of all. I feel like I never get adequate amounts of sleep and I feel like I’m always eating junk food and not enough healthy choices. I try to at least get 8 hours of sleep but consistency is hard with the amount of work I have sometimes. I like to listen to music and playing pick up basketball games so that’s my form of keeping my stress relief and I do that at least 4 times a week. The forgiving aspect is a work in progress but I want to be the best person that I can be so I am striving to achieve my goal in becoming forgiving.

Next semester I will be starting the Education and Counseling Graduate Program here at VCU. What I learned in this class has definitely showed me what I need to work on to grow as a person and as an educator. I definitely plan to preach Mindfulness, positive psychology, forgiveness, and positive thinking  to my current and future students. During summer school this past year, I was big on meditation. I’d give the students 10-15 minutes to wind down, listen  to peaceful music and get their minds right for the day. I don’t really do social media but if I happen to be on there, I’d just promote positivity.   You never know when you can like someone’s post or say something and it can brighten up their day.

I choose this image because this is what I want to live by at all times. Peace, Love, and Happiness. I think this sums up what everyone should strive for. In this cruel world in which we live in, the more peace, love and happiness you have just makes for a better world.                                  

Blog Post #3

This semester has been particularly grueling for me, which is probably the greatest reason I am so thankful for this class. After taking a year off, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The concepts in this class helped me transition back into a full workload routine, and also helped me with some of the guilt and pressure I felt for taking time off. Specifically, in relation to success: most people try to achieve success to become happy, but in reality success is more likely to happen when we are happy. This transition into positive psychology and mindfulness were probably the biggest concepts that I’ll be walking away from this class with because they have helped me so much in my daily life, but the lesson on forgiveness was also really helpful to me. This includes both the reading by Wade, Hoyt, Kidwell and Worthington that showed the outcomes of forgiveness, and also the amazing lecture from Everett Worthington. As we get older relationships get more complicated, and I am grateful for the understanding of how important forgiveness will be in many of my relationships for the rest of my life, but also how forgiveness as a choice truly affects me. I think that I give the act of forgiveness a lot more thought, both in my personal life, but at the current moment, mostly at work. It has made a great impact on my daily stress level to really just think about my frustrations at work, and then wash my hands of them and let them go—both a product of forgiveness and positive psychology interventions. I have really surprised myself with how well I have been able to keep up with them, as well as the use of the website I’ve shared this website with several of my friends, and will continue to share this website in the future, with the only advice being to really give it a chance. A lot of these concepts take commitment, but are well worth the time and effort. The time that I have taken to work things like into my daily routine have saved me a lot of time worrying and stressing, and also have helped me stay more focused and not distract myself so easily.

We know that mindfulness is most likely the next big health initiative, and I feel very thankful to learn about it now and be able to explain it to others. The social media posts throughout the semester were a great way of introducing this to other people, I had a lot of people reach out to me wondering what the heck I was talking about, and everyone responded very positively to the concept. I have already recommended this course to several of peers in other classes, and am very sure that I will have positive things to share with people in regards to this course for a long time to come.

As corny as this may be, the image that I feel describes what I’ve learned this semester is the same image that is used in the blackboard header, the road sign that says happiness. I have seen this image more recently, probably just because I am aware of it now, but it immediately makes me think of this course and its products. But most importantly, it reminds me that happiness is not a destination, it is a constant mindset and a way of life.

Image Source:×240.jpg


This semester, the most valuable things I learned were to be mindful, positive, and patient.  Simple things like meditation, and breathing exercises in class helped me out exponentially. I am easily irritated, and I never realized all i needed to do was simply breathe. Just the other day, I was really ticked off about something, and immediately I laid down, opened “Calm”,  and did breathing exercises for about 3 minutes. Just taking some time to breathe has impacted my reaction to stressful situations.

In the future I will continue to spread positivity. The final project positivity blast my group did really inspired me to spread compliments and words of motivation often. I didn’t think anyone wanted to hear our piece on positive psychology, but everyone loved it. I also have recommended SOH to incoming freshmen.

What are some changes that you’ve already made (and why), and what changes do you think you still need to work on making (and why)?

I have changed my attitude! It still needs work, but my patience has gotten a lot better. Small things don’t really bother me anymore, because I’ve learned a lot about positive relationships, and I’ve really analyzed the qualities in the crowds I chose to be around, and made some changes.  I could work on being an all around positive person, but that’s easier said than done! I also want to prioritize, and get myself together for the upcoming school year.

I follow VCU COBE on Twitter, so I will continue to hashtag them and spread around their messages to my social network. I am also a camp counselor, and I plan on spreading compliments to my campers every day.

Blog #3

Blog #3

I am so happy I took this class when I did! As a college student who suffers from anxiety, this class has presented me with so many resources and tips I hadn’t thought of. Learning about mindfulness has made all the difference in decreasing my anxiety. I now incorporate it into my everyday routine by meditating, going to yoga classes, and stopping to collect my thoughts. I have also learned just how important it is to practice it while I am studying for classes. After reading an assigned article, Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review, I learned that our minds wander half of our waking hours (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010 p. 6). Mindfulness can help us stabilize our thoughts, attention, and efficiency. If I am ever stressing out over an assignment or am having difficulties staying focused, I practice mindfulness to regain that focus I need. This is definitely a strategy I will continue to use throughout future semesters and eventually my career.

My favorite weekly assignment this semester was the three good things assignment. I didn’t realize how much I focused on the negative in my life until I completed this exercise. I take for granted the great things I have in my life. Now that I have acknowledged that, I tend to see the good throughout my day and I remind myself that I am blessed. Completing this exercise also made me want to put some good into the world and brighten other peoples day. I want to be the person who does things that people would put on their three good things list if they had to make one. This is also where positive psychology comes in. Positive thoughts turn into positive life events. If one can focus on more of the positives each day, happiness, positivity, and ones overall well-being can improve!

Along with having a positive outlook, it is important to eat, move, and sleep! It is amazing how much better we can feel when we focus on the health of our bodies. I have fallen into patterns of eating too much, not exercising, and not sleeping enough when I am stressed. I am a college student, so that means I am pretty much stressed all of the time. This assignment made me look at my habits and question them. It made me focus on what my body was telling me. I was extremely fatigued because I wasn’t provided my body what it needed in order to function properly. In an assigned article, the authors pointed out that a lack of sleep, nutrition, exercise, could all lead to poorer academic performance (Trockel et al. 200 p. 126). This is interesting because the more I would stress, the less I would take care of my body, which would result in more fatigue that may result in poor performance. It is a vicious cycle that I have luckily targeted and have been actively trying to improve upon.

I plan to share what I have learned in class to the public through continuing my social media posts. I will also continue to talk to my friends and family about what I have learned. There have been several times where my friends have been stressed out and I mention a few tips including I think this information is important to share, especially with college students! I will continue to inform my peers and keep practicing what I have learned myself.

I chose this post because mindfulness has been the biggest eye-opener for me in this course. It has taken time, but i have learned that it is important to not worry about tomorrow, or to stress about what happened yesterday, but to focus on how you can make today great.


Trockel, M. T., Barnes, M. D., & Egget, D. L. (2000). Health-Related Variables and Academic Performance Among First-Year College Students: Implications for Sleep and Other Behaviors. Journal Of American College Health, 49(3), 125.

Killingsworth, M. A., & Gilbert, D. T. 2010. A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Science, 330: 932.





This course has taught me so much! My time in this class has been very beneficial. I’ve learned so many things from the readings, weekly exercises, and presenters who came in to teach us new things about positive psychology. I’ve learned to focus on the positive things in life and to be optimistic as possible. Another main topic that stood out to me was mindfulness. At this point in my life I have so many stressors that I have to always be mindful or I feel like I would go insane.I learned about PERMA, which is increasing flourishing. PERMA is a multidimensional theory of wellbeing that includes both eudemonic and hedonic wellbeing. The topics that stood out to me were mindfulness and the science of yoga. Since the yoga session I have been doing yoga in my free time and I feel much better about myself and my level of stress has decreased. The activity where we had to log our food also stood out to me because when you log your food you can be aware of what you’re eating. I already monitored my food but it was in an app. When you actually write it down and write what your mood was when you ate it puts things into perspective for you. Rath (2010), indicated that exercising two days a week leads to happier and significantly less stress.

Another topic that touched me was the power of forgiveness. Dr. Worthington’s talk was amazing. I’ve read a lot about forgiveness and how to forgive. In the Wade and Worthington reading, I learned that forgiveness is not only the reduction of vengefulness or anger but it also positive thoughts and feelings towards the offending person. That sentence in my opinion really woke me up to see that I have the power to forgive and I am not gaining anything by not being a forgiving person. I will be set free by having positive feelings towards that offending person and letting go of my anger toward them. I feel like forgiving is the biggest problem for me but Dr. Worthington really put into perspective for me that I should forgive. This is something that I will continue working on beyond this class. I will let go of the anger that is inside of me and begin to forgive.

I always share this information with people who are outside of my class. Its just an interesting class so I always find myself talking to my friends and parents about the things that I learn. I will continue to have meaningful conversation about mindfulness and forgiveness with people outside of the classroom since I am quite knowledgeable about the subjects now.

SOH – Happiness in Review 2017-04-28 14:58:00

After taking this class this semester I believe that I learned so much that I didn’t really know before taking this class. I now understand the factors related to behavioral and emotional health, to include genetic andenvironmental risk factors on both mental health challenges and positive outcomes
Have a deeper understanding of their own strengths
and risk factors
Have an understanding of the field of positive psychology and the research behind factors that promote
Learn evidence based practices that they can employ in their own lives to address challenges they may
experience and promote
their own well
Have a better awareness of the diverse faculty researchers who work in the area of behavioral and
emotional health across the university and ways they can get further involved
Have an increased understanding of services across the uni
versity that are available to support student
mental and behavioral health

A long semi-disorganized reflection of a semester in SOH

I don’t think I knew it until now, but I needed to take this class this semester.  This past year, particularly the past six months have been dotted with a number of unfortunate and detrimental events. And, If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve never felt as intensely sad as I have in moments through this past year ever before. But on the other side of that, this year has also gifted me with moments of the most intense happiness I’ve known. And of course this is all only relative to what I’ve lived so far, and a year from now I could feel completely differently about this than I do now. But right now I find myself teetering between the extremes while looking for a place of balance in between. This class has helped me find some balance. I’ve learned that it is more than okay to struggle. That I have strengths. And though I have weakness, they are not superior to my strengths. I’ve learned not only to listen, but to speak more. Though may you have never heard me pipe up in class, I’ve learned to speak more with others in my daily life. To address issues instead of avoid, even though avoiding sometimes seems easier. I’ve learned to be patient with myself. Though I grant the utmost patience to others I never gave myself a second of it. It takes time to grow and I’m learning to give myself that time. Most importantly, I’m learning that I have to take care of myself. I have to look out for my own wellbeing, emotionally and physically. I cannot avoid taking care of myself by taking care of others because I’m afraid to confront the parts of me that need work, that need nourishing. The lessons on PERMA and forgiveness have struck me as the most influential in this semester. Reading and listening to someone tell me over and over again that I have the ability to reduce negativity in my life and increase positivity has become a comfort for me. It’s one thing to simple say you have the power to make yourself happy, but it’s another completely to look at the research. To read for yourself that people have done this and you can be a person who can say I have done this. It’s a commitment to an active effort to be better for your own good. Though I do not feel I have fully found my commitment to that for myself, I am trying and making strides. I am acknowledging negativity for what it is instead of accepting it as part of life, because it doesn’t always have to be. I am trying to curtail the automatic negative thoughts, or ANTS, in favor of positive alternative. I don’t think I realized how hard that can be, but I know it is worth the effort.  I didn’t realize this was something that could be done so easily until I took this class and was presented with all the tools I already had inside my brain that I didn’t know how to use. As for forgiveness, Everett Worthington’s talk stuck with me firmly. Forgiveness has long been a struggle for me due to past events that shaped my view of trust negatively. But I was moved by Worthington’s discussion of how he was able to forgive an unthinkable crime. At first I thought no way in hell could I ever find that kind of forgiveness in myself, but as the class went on I realized there will be a day when I may have to find that kind of forgiveness. And I found myself not only hoping that’d I’d be able to do so, but wanting to be able to do so. Listening to that week of lecture made me want to not only forgive others, but begin to learn to truly forgive myself. I haven’t quite figured it out yet. But I know when the time comes for me to make that conscious decision to forgive, I will have tools and supports to do so. I can’t say this semester has made me this miracle mindful person who spews positivity constantly. Of course it hasn’t. But I am bringing more doses of positivity in to my life. Taking the SURPS didn’t kick my vices either. I still smoke and drink and stress like many others, but at least now I’m aware of my high-risk tendencies. I still haven’ figured out how to meditate, I’m always just sitting with my eyes closed waiting for the three minutes to pass. But It’s a start to trying. It’s a start to being a better me. Being a better person in my social groups. Being a better communicator and a better listener. A start to building stronger relationships. A start to making changes that will make a difference for myself and the people around me. And if you surround yourself with the right people they might pick up on it and start spreading the ideas of being better too. I hope to see that I’ve learned becomes practice instead of simple attempts so I can bring a little more light to the people around me and too myself.

Image result for porter robinson shelter tour

the picture may seem a little disconnected, but this is the environment I find myself the happiest in so that’s why I chose it.

this was super long and very tangential, my apologies


Blog #3

Blog #3



The Science of Happiness journey has taught me a lot this semester both about myself and the general topic of the path to a happier life. Last fall, I stopped by the science of happiness class to see if it is worth taking in the spring. I talked to Mrs. Walsh about the topics and did the strength and weakness exercise. My weaknesses were maybe triple the number of my strengths. One thing this course has taught me through the various units from positive psychology to social wellbeing is to focus on the positives in my life– focus on what you can control and be optimistic. I found this message to be common in throughout the lessons. So, this semester, during the strengths and weakness exercise in class, I found that my strengths were double my weaknesses. This to me was amazing. I had been practicing being positive and working on myself all semester, and there it was crystal clear– I am starting to look at the positives in myself more than my weaknesses which is one of the keys to a more successful and happy life. I found most topics we covered this semester to be insightful and exciting. One topic that I found particularly meaningful was the forgiveness unit. In the Wade and Worthington reading, I learned that forgiveness is not only the reduction of vengefulness or anger but it also positive thoughts and feelings towards the offending person. To me this concept was astonishing. Then, after hearing the story of Dr. Worthington, I was further amazed. I always thought myself to be a forgiving person, but Dr. Worthington’s story almost changed my perception of the extent to which one can forgive. This concept really opened my mind and heart to treat humans as the fragile beings that we are. Another thing that stuck with me from this course was the idea of satisfaction. Sometimes you can do something fun and feel happy, but at the end of the day, what matters more than happiness is overall satisfaction which is a sort of comfort with who you are. This concept resonates in my mind as I move forward to achieve my dreams.

The application of the things we learned in the class can be one of the most challenging aspects. I like how there is always a practice exercise that exemplifies that application isn’t too much of a hassle–it can just be an extra 15 to 20 minutes a day of extra work. These additional few minutes, however, can be transformational. By exercising 20 minutes, meditating for 10, and talking to a close friend for 30 minutes a day my life can transform. I will be more positive, focused, and energetic in my daily interactions. So far, I have been meditating for a long time, I started doing yoga, taking 15-minute jogs in the morning, and became more aware of my positive and negative thoughts. I think this is a great start for me and I will work in my year off after I graduate to perfect these skills and add on more.

In regards to sharing knowledge, this is something I always find myself doing naturally. I always want to share the way to a happier life with my friends, family, and United2Heal board members. Recently, I started off my board meetings with a 3-minute mindfulness meditation to get everyone to be more focused and mindful of their thoughts and surroundings to start off the meeting right. I found this effective especially on a Sunday evening when most of my board members are thinking about their week ahead. I also plan on continuing to post my thoughts and knowledge on social media. I have noticed that a few people always like my weekly social media posts and I would like to keep them informed of my new findings and journey to live a happy, healthy life.

I finally would like to thank everyone in this class for such a great semester. I enjoyed talking to you on Fridays and enjoyed every lecture. I always recommend this course for my friends and my little sister who is a freshman. I wish I had taken this course from my freshman year.


Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

There are many major lessons that I learned from the content this semester. The first major lesson that I learned was how important mindfulness is. Throughout the day we tend to find ourselves going through the same motions. While walking to class I started to be mindful of my surroundings and recognize the things happening around me. I now take time to enjoy the things happening around me.  I learned how important it is to be in the moment and how practicing positivity can influence your mood. I started to live in the moment rather then worrying about the past. Another major lesson that I learned was how important positivity psychology is. I learned about PERMA, which is increasing flourishing. PERMA is “a multidimensional theory of wellbeing that includes both eudemonic and hedonic wellbeing” (Walsh). The topics that were most meaningful to myself were mindfulness and the science of yoga. I took the information that I learned on these days to my everyday life. I always wanted to participate in yoga but was always scared, until I went to the gym and learned some basic moves from the guest speaker. I will commit to applying the ideas I learned from this class by continuing to participate in gym classes everyday (thanks to this class!), practicing mediation each morning, being mindful when walking to class, and also using the information that I learned to help others. Before starting this class I did not realize how important working out was for me. The eat sleep move class power point explained how exercise can produce less stress, “exercising two days a week leads to happier and significantly less stress” (Rath, 2010). She also mentioned how “exercise sparks neurogenesis, or the creations of entirely new brain cells and helps with recall” (Reynolds, 2011). I started to work out each day by participating in gym classes. As King explain in the yoga power point was that the goals for yoga are to “learn the yoga practices, postures, breathing, relaxation, gain skills to manage stress, learn about ourselves and to build a community” (King). I have met many people through yoga classes and have made some really great friends. Working out has made a happier person and significantly less stressed. Some changes I could work on making is to continue working out throughout the summer and to continue to be motivated. This will push be to be a better person and give me motivation throughout my life. I plan to share the information that I learned throughout the class by continuing to share on social media and by telling my friends and family the information that I learned. I have already told a few friends who are struggling about how mediation and exercise may help with stress. They have been going to the gym more often and I do see a change in there behavior. I am so happy that I took this class because it has taught me how to be more positive throughout life. I will use what I learned throughout the course throughout the rest of my life. I enjoyed how the lectures were set up and also how fun the group project was . This image summarizes most what I learned this semester, and how important peace and positivity is in everyday life. 

Blog Post #3

  1. There are many major lessons I learned from the content this semester. The first lesson I learned content from was about genetic influences on behavior and how genetic influences can change throughout your life. The Weekly Reading by Danielle Dick from Week 2 was very interesting because it informed me about twin studies and how genetics and environmental influences are important in adolescence. Another lesson I learned about was active listening. The active listening exercise that we did in class really has helped me want to listen more and want to let people know that I’m engaged in what they’re saying. Self-forgiveness was another lesson that I learned from because I sometimes rarely think to forgive myself, I just shut down and didn’t think to uplift myself with forgiving. I enjoyed the speaker who came to talk about forgiveness because his story made me feel like I could forgive anybody. In the article for the Weekly Reading related to forgiveness, the authors stated that, “Participants receiving explicit forgiveness treatments reported significantly greater forgiveness than participants not receiving treatment” (p. 1). Therefore, when the time comes, I’m going to actually give myself time to look over a situation and find the time to forgive. The topic that was most meaningful to me would have to be Positive Identity because overall I’m extremely hard on myself and can be very negative sometimes. The powerpoint slides on Positive Identity have pushed me to be more positive towards myself as well as share that positivity with others. For example, in the slides, there was an exercise where we had to show a type of emotion to someone, and they had to guess what that emotion was, that helped me understand how others may feel when positivity is shared. I also learned that it is good to pay attention to others emotions and respect how they’re feeling and that goes hand in hand with regulating emotions.
  2. I will apply these insights by thinking about everything I’ve learned throughout this class and being discipline enough to do it. For example, if I get in a argument/discussion, I will actually listen to what the other person is saying instead of just waiting for my turn to say something back. Also, when it comes to a professional setting, if I’m having troubles at my job, I won’t be hard on myself I will remember to be positive and have a positive identity to push through. Some changes that I’ve already made is actually opening up to others and being myself. A lot of times I worry if someone is judging me and lately I’ve been happy/positive and only focusing on things that make me happy. I’ve made that change because it is not a good feeling to be upset or stressed over little things. You control what you can control and that’s what I’ve began to do. One thing I think I still need to work on is understanding when a relationship or a person isn’t for me. Sometimes I tend to wonder why certain things happen or why something is happening to me, instead of taking a deep breath, thinking about the situation at hand, and not letting it affect me. This is where I think yoga/meditation should come in, but I have not been meditating as much as I want to. Meditation really calmed my mood when we did it in class and when we did the Calm exercise for a week. This summer I plan to be more discipline and try to meditate 3 times out of the week.
  3. I actually have already started sharing the information I’ve learned with family members. My mother is a referee and I’ve gave her some tips on yoga and meditating and how she could do that before a game to relax and get prepared for fans who may give her a hard time. Also, in my past relationship, I shared ideas from the “Romantic Relationships” slide to better our relationship as well as better ourselves as an individual. I learned to actually understand my partner more as a person and learned how they grew up in a family setting. That information is so important to me because it’s so true and I understand why I am the way I am in relationships because of how I was treated growing up. My parents spoiled me a lot so now I understand why I get frustrated if my significant other doesn’t give me my way! However, I’ve improved on that aspect but it’s good to know why you do the things you do. I definitely plan to share this by also tweeting what I’ve learned because social media is what our generation is about. I actually enjoyed the social media tweets as well, I think people who follow me benefited from some of the topics I tweeted about.
Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2

After writing my first blog post I focused more on the actual lessons that I received in class. For example, I started focusing more on my well being and realized that my mental, physical, and emotional health all go hand in hand. When we discussed self-care I really got into the habit of “checking in” with myself and dedicating the time I deserve to myself.

Romantic relationships was an important topic for me because I had gone through a very toxic relationship a few years back and I really wish I would have had taken this class back then. I would have better understood why my relationship was in fact so toxic. However, I am now in a long-term, healthy, and loving relationship and I feel amazing. After talking about romantic relationships I realized how black and white essential skills are in order to have a successful relationship.

I really am enjoying this class and there is always something new to learn. I feel as though the things I have learned I will always value and it would be awesome if there was another advanced section to this class. I would definitely take it. In my first blog post I feel as though I had learned lessons but it was so new that I hadn’t had the chance to actually apply them. I recommend that every student goes through this class. You get so much out of it that will be an incredible asset to your future.

image is from :


Blog 2

Blog 2

The Science of Happiness class has been a genuinely positive influence on my life and daily habits. Having a lot of experience with mental illness in my family and personal experiences makes this class incredibly important to me. Much of what we learned in the past 5 weeks has been about personal emotional growth and relationships with others. Dr. Salvatore talked about building healthy relationships with other people means working on yourself as well. It’s too often that people think the other individual is the problem instead of looking for ways to change yourself for the better. Accomplishing healthy relationships means having a strong support system, which is a key component to being happy. Her lecture relates to Zoe Neale’s lecture on positive identity and positive relationships when she taught us about emotional intelligence and how to stabilize our feelings into positive outcomes. These also relate to the personality trait lecture with Dr. Vassileva. Recognizing our own personality traits as well as others’ personality traits can help us determine who is compatible with us to form healthy relationships. This can also help us if we believe ourselves to be susceptible to any disorder as well as our friends. We also learned about the science of yoga and practicing mindfulness, which relates to the correlation between physical and mental wellbeing. Exercising, eating healthy, and sleeping, all contribute to a healthy mind and body.

The exercises we do each week also have a positive impact. My favorite one was when we had to ask our friends or family for a few things they appreciate about us. I felt a little weird asking for compliments at first, but the responses I got almost brought me to tears. I was really happy that they noticed how much I care about them and it made me feel appreciated. I also liked writing about the happiest and least happy couples I know. It was a little humorous, but also useful to bring attention to the positive and negative aspects of a relationship from the outside. When you’re in a relationship, sometimes you can be blind to the negative things.

The weekly readings are incredibly educational and applicable as well. I especially liked the one on substance abuse because college students are very likely to abuse substances because of the stress of work load or to alleviate mental illnesses. I also liked the one on sleep habits among first year college students. Being a college student, the information was helpful.

After learning so much about what contributes to happiness, I had to make some changes in my habits. I’ve been trying to remind my friends and family how much I appreciate them more often, so they know that everything they do for me doesn’t go unnoticed. I’ve also been working on my listening skills, so they know I care. I’ve been eating healthier and trying to go to the gym more often. I haven’t been practicing mindfulness as much as I would want to, but it’s a goal I’m going to work toward. 


Image result for mindfulness


Beginning with week 5 we discussed romantic relationships with Dr. Salvatore. At first I felt like I couldn’t really connect with this topic because I am not and have not been in a typical romantic relationship in quite sometime. Our discussions focused on how parents and other relationships that we observe as children can affect the types of relationships we engage in as adults. I felt like I didn’t really have too much to reference, but then I started thinking that not being in a relationship can be just as influenced as the relationships as I do choose to seek. Zoe Neale furthered our discussion of relationships regarding positive relationships and how they can only result from a sense of positive self identity. In order to engage in positive relationships you have to have emotional intelligence. having the ability to differentiate between appraisal and expression is a skill that you have the ability to sharpen and control to improve your own positive self identity and in turn, the relationships we have with others. I’ve always felt that I have been naturally intuitive towards the emotions of others so this was a very interesting few weeks of discussion for me. Especially when we got in to active listening. As much as I am a communicator I feel I am also a listener. You truly have to listen if you want to truly communicate effectively. So often we have conversations that give so little because we are also distracted and being present in the moment and listening. Seeing that mindfulness is everywhere has made me want to actively bring more in to my life. I am trying to use mindfulness to finally break my terrible habit of biting my nails. It is something I have Wallas done since childhood because everyone in my family does. But by being very aware of every time I go to bite my nails and stopping myself, I hope to finally be able to break the habit.


photo source:

Happiness is beautiful

Over the last few weeks, we have covered a range of topics that relate to our everyday lives. Dr. Salvatore spoke about romantic relationships and how the relationships we develop in early childhood can affect the way we make and act in relationships when we are older. I found the studies that she spoke about interesting, because, I believe that as a child it is important to make healthy relationships in order to carry out healthier relationships as adults. Romantic relationships tie into positive identity that Dr. Neale talked about. In order to be committed into a romantic relationship, you need to be able to distinguish your emotions and know how to communicate with your partner your thoughts and feelings.

These concepts lead to Mindfulness, being presents in the moment and being able to connect with your inner-self and what is going on around you. The week when we focused on Mindfulness, I really enjoyed the activity where we completed the seven days of calm. Since enrolling in this course I have found most helpful and useful is being able to take time out of my day to just breathe. Focusing on your breathing and trying different techniques has helped me when I experience stressful situations through out the day whether I am at school or work. Breathing is a main focus when practicing yoga, in the past I would frequently attend yoga classes at the gym. Dr. King lead a insightful lecture when speaking about yoga and how it help her manage stress and depression. As a full time student and working twenty hours a week, I find each week getting more and more stressful. I have made a few changes based on the previous class lectures, I am now completing at least two breathing sessions every day as well as taking 15 minutes (usually before bed) to complete a yoga exercise.

Blog Post 2

The past few weeks in SOH has been a pretty fun/eye-opening adventure in many different areas of discussion; such as addiction, positive relationships, and we even went and practiced some yoga! So far the best class ever! Even though the topics seems random, they do have a common thread; the topics seem to deal with the topic of the relationship between you and yourself. The topics both give positive tips and tricks to strengthen your positive identity and relieve stress and show negative aspects of not having a strong inner identity. For example; with  Dr. Vassileva’s lecture on the relationship of personality traits and drug addiction, she both talks about the negative aspects of a weak inner identity and gives tips on how one could help with anxiety and thus build a stronger positive identity. In all, these last 10 weeks have helped me to gain some insight about myself: like how I can better regulate emotions/stress and how to strengthen my inner positive identity. I’ve made two changes in my life due to this class and they were mostly inspired by the yoga/7 day challenge and the eat.sleep.move week of the class. They were beneficial in both stress management and weight loss in my opinion, so I’ll be doing them for a little bit longer.

Work[s] Cited

Blog Post 2

Blog Post 2

Most of the material we have covered in weeks 5-10 has been different mental and behavioral habits charted by time. We recorded the amount of sleep, eat, and movement we got, different types of meditation skills from the guided relaxation websites, and the different things that made us happy or our day went well and why this may have happened. Recording our sleep/movement/or eating habits came into play with keeping track of what positive things happened in our day and why it might have happened. While keeping track of the positive things that have occurred to use daily also showed us a pattern of our eating/movement/and sleep patterns. We also learned about positive identity and understanding how to regulate emotion and read emotions sometimes not always verbal and the science of yoga. These two go hand in hand because in yoga we are taught mindfulness and different way to relax physically and mentally and i think this also helps to regulate our emotions and be able to read emotions in others as well. After discovering these connection between the different practices and positive relationships/identity, I would say that regulating emotions within us is extremely vital because without being able to do it for ourselves it will be much more difficult to do it for others especially with no verbal communication. One thing i would change about my daily schedule is to find more time for myself to relax and sleep more. From all the exercises i enjoyed the one week guided meditation the most and try to incorporate that throughout the week.

Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2

In week five we had covered Positive Psychology which focuses on different ways we can think and mentally treat ourselves in a positive manner, wether its counseling or just trying to make its habit to think everyday in a positive manner to better our mental and behavioral habits. This relates to the material we had learned in week 6 about Positive Intervention because we had learned how to use our positive psychology and to think positively even about others and learn how to help others who may have troubles in their life  in a way that will effect them in a better light. In week seven and eight we learned about depression and mood states, and anxiety. Depression and mood states and anxiety are all connected because these are mostly negative traits that occur during depression. Mood states and anxiety are things that come with depression and we use the new information obtained from week five and six to cope and handle when these mood states appear. We learned in week nine and ten about positive identity and positive relationships. We learned that in positive identity its important to understand our emotions and coping mechanisms, and how to broaden and strengthen our relationships with ourselves and others. This relates to positive relationships because we take what we learned from week nine on positive identity and apply it to building positive relationships. To build positive relationships we need to understand how to regulate emotions so we know how to deal with certain scenarios and read emotions in others. Based on these lessons and connections i have discovered I would change the amount of time i make for myself. I learned that it is important to have a positive relationship with yourself as it is with others. I would change the amount of time i make available for myself to relax and meditate so i can destress from school and work. 


Post 2


Entering this class I wanted to learn so much, understand just about everything. I wanted to get what emotions really were. Where did they stem from, why do people do regretful things when emotionally unstable.  we discussed the importance of having a well balanced diet, exercising regularly, and have a stable sleep pattern. We even had a class were we did yoga. It was my first time trying yoga, and i must say it was so relaxing. We meditate for 10 min before every class. This was seriously a great help, with being some busy and worried about whats next I forget to breathe and live in the moment. Meditating every class helped me a lot with the little meditating i get in. One week, we had to download a “calm” app and participate in the 7 days of calm challenge. It was such a huge help to meditate every day for 10 min to bring you back to the moment, regardless of the type of day you had.  It was also a huge help when it came to me having more patience and controlling my anger. Leaving this class the main thing i will remember is “If you want to be happy. BE” you, and everyone else that have spoken have showed me numerous ways to keep myself centered, to stay positive, and live in the moment,

blog 2

This year and this semester, time has gone buy so fast, and within that time I have learned so much information, that I can use in my future. There are several types of meditation, that we used in class, and some I never thought I would use, but I do, I found it to be very relaxing when I’m stressed or in a demanding situation. One of my favorite one is the 10-second-deep breathing, that really helps me focus and clam down. In this class, I have learned so much about myself, along with the mediation skills that we did in class and I participated in, has left with an overwhelming feeling of happiness with my spiritual, mental and physical health, in this thing we call “everyday life”. The best week in this class was week 7 when we discussed   managing stressed and adding more mindfulness to my life. Therefore, in conclusion, life is too short and the best way to live is to manage our lives by finding the best way possible, and this class has helped me do this.

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Blog 2



In the past couple weeks in class we’ve covered developmental impacts for a successful romantic relationship, role of positive emotions on positive psychology, influence of mindfulness on professional work settings, and impact of health related behaviors on college students. All the topics are surrounded by the same idea of emotion and conflict resolutions. These topics focus on a specific part of developmental enrichment that leads to the concept of happiness and mental stability. In the lecture by Dr. Salvatore I learned that your socialization of how you were treated and what you viewed/learned growing up influenced/predicted how you would behave in future romantic relationships. Someone could’ve been brought up with or without conflict and still have the capacity to have competence in romantic relationships. Being able to empath On the other hand, there is positivity and its impact on psychology. While these are both a sub categorical study of psychology, positivity studies the thoughts behind that emotion and its effect as a whole on the body, mind, and spirit. 

 Of all the exercises, the 7 days of calm activity was the most beneficial to me. Meditation is a concept that requires practice and patients while allowing you to destress. Mediating at least twice a week has become a goal of mine that will help me decrease my stress and anxiety. Overall, the past couple of weeks have taught me that to have an open mind, be positive, communicate openly, and finding ways to relax.

Muneera really loves her friends ok

We started off this second unit with romantic relationships, which was a perfect because it was Valentine’s Day week. According to Dr. Salvatore’s research, good, healthy relationships are a good indicator of happiness, and the functioning of these relationships is effected by previous ones through either socialization (how you’ve been treated) or social modeling (how you’ve seen others be treated).

In all honesty, I found the lecture itself a little bit alienating, because I felt the lecture operated on a more western ideology of love (which is totally fine, because we are in the West). I just didn’t quite relate and it made me a little nervous that she said the relationships we are in now dictate the ones we’ll have later, mostly because I have not and won’t be in one in the foreseeable future. We also discussed how romantic relationships can play a role in positive development, which made me worry I am missing out on something. Looking back at the reading and powerpoint, however, it seems like all close relationships are indicators of happiness and can influence later ones, and that we just focused on the romantic ones. It makes sense that, as according to the socialization perspective, if you’re treated well, you can treat others well in romantic relationships.

One of the things that Dr. Salvatore touched on is that being in a positive romantic relationship with someone who thinks highly of you helps you think more highly of yourself. According to the Build and Broaden theory Dr. Neale talked about, experiencing positive emotions like these open you up to more choices/resources in responding to situations. Positive emotions lead to broadened thinking when negative things do happen, and allow you to take advantage of resources to cope better. Like Dr. Salvatore said, positive relationships increase positive emotions, and social intelligence allows you to work on relationships through things like active listening. One of the positive experiences positive emotions might open you up to is self care. Yoga has all sorts of physical and emotional benefits. My positive experiences with this class thus far have definitely opened me up to trying this method of self care. The positive benefits of yoga correlate with the findings in Eat, Move, Sleep. I was in the sleep group, and there was a general consensus that as students we don’t get enough of it.

I think a part of the emotional and social intelligence discussed by Dr. Salvatore and Dr. Neale is knowing yourself and how you deal with things. Dr. Vassileva. I learned that although I am not very impulsive, I am fairly high on all of the other personality traits we discussed, and so knowing that information can help me assess my emotions as rooted in fact or as a part of my tendencies.

As for overall changes, I have definitely tried to apply the Build and Broaden theory to my life. I do find that positivity allows me to respond to potentially negative situations in my life with less stress. I’ve also been working on my active listening skills — apparently they have been improving! The image I chose (in order to continue my theme of bad memes) reminded me of the importance of active listening and the impact of positive relationships. Sometimes I feel like I am as boring as eating apples so I am super grateful for everyone in my life who puts up with it. Even though we aren’t usually watching friends eat apples, it is really so unbelievably easy to make someone feel valued and respected, and this comic reminds me to do so.

This comic is by Brett Brimmer of

Unpacking Weeks 5-10

Unpacking Weeks 5-10

Much of the content from weeks 5-10 was aptly timed. I have been struggling more than usual with my mental health, but not for any discernible reason. Some weeks are just like that, and all we can do is make the best of them. Thus, recent content and exercises were essential for me, even more so than they might have been another time.

Content from the past six weeks focused on mental wellbeing, which is a reflection of the entire course: knowing that for all the aspects of our lives we cannot control, there are just as many that we can. I enjoyed, in particular, the mindfulness and meditation focus in the “7 Days of Calm” exercise. I have meditated before, but incorporating it into a routine — even if only for a week — was supremely helpful. It is a goal of mine to work short meditations into my daily life, though that is a work in progress.

There is a also a clear correlation for me between my physical activity, depression, and overall mental health. This was exemplified through my “Eat, Sleep, Move” activity wherein I tracked my physical activity. Since I have been adjusting to a new medication, my physical activity has been fairly low; it drains my energy and makes me sleep more. While more sleep is not a bad thing for me, I noticed I feel less productive and less mentally well when I am not moving as much. I am trying to work out a gym (or at least walking) plan with my partner so we can help one another be more active.

Dr. Sood’s lecture on depression was an important one, too. Although I have dealt with it for most of my life, it is invaluable to spread and maintain awareness, particularly when it comes to how prevalent it is in young people. Relatedly, the Trockel, Barnes, Egget (2000) reading was helpful in identifying how depression can affect academic success. I have seen it firsthand, so having studies reflect that is important and validating. This, again, comes down to trying to control what we can while acknowledging what we cannot.

[Image from Her Campus article “Exercise and Mental Health,” 2013:]

Blog #2

The topics we have covered over the 5-10 week period all include ways in which we can improve our well being. I think one of my favorite topics would have to be positive emotions in positive psychology. In that weeks reading, the author noted, “Positive emotions serve as markers of flourishing, or optimal well-being” (Fredrickson, p. 2). If you can learn how to understand your emotions and improve upon them, you can better yourself in many aspects that we have discussed over the last several weeks. This can then allow for healthy relationships, increased energy, and happiness! I cannot speak for everybody, but when I take time to stay in tune with how I am feeling I am overall happier. As a result, I have better interactions with people, increase my mood, workout more, and feel like everything is under control. Although all of the topics we have discussed are aimed at specific aspect of life (health, relationships, emotions), they all revolve around our well-being.

The activity that has helped increase my well-being is the eat, sleep, move activity. Although I had the eating group, I participated in all three. I noticed that on the days that I ate better I exercised more and got better sleep. It seems as if it is a domino effect.

Over the last 10 weeks I have really learned what it means to be mindful and how I can incorporate that into my everyday routine. I focus on being mindful on my walk to each class. This has helped decrease my anxiety and boost my overall mood. I loved the experimental yoga class. I had always thought about trying yoga but have never followed through. That class was really calming for me and in turn, I had a low stress day. I am now seriously considering the yoga class!







Citation: L. Fredrickson, “The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions,” American Psychologist, vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 218–226, 2001.


Blog #2

The topics during the last 5-10 weeks have been very thought provoking and really provided valuable insight into my own lifestyle and the relationships with those around me.

When Dr. Sood spoke about mood states and depression she mentioned that “Not everyone has a sunny disposition”. This statement struck a chord with me because depression runs in my father’s side of the family and I have always viewed myself as having a more pessimistic outlook on life. When she discussed the psychological risk factors of anxiety and depression; loneliness, lack of social support, and early child hood trauma/abuse it allowed me to take a closer more objective look at my own relationship with both anxiety and depression. Initially I found this to be uncomfortable and it brought up certain emotions I was not ready to examine, however it enabled me to see things from a different perspective. Learning about the causes and susceptibility one may have to these mood disorders helped me understand them in a different way. Although anxiety and depression stem from the same biological vulnerabilities, there are ways in which a person who suffers from them can benefit from preventative care and an array of different treatments. Depression has been stigmatized in our society and there is this unspoken expectation for people to cope on their own, in silence. Part of understanding and coping with depression and anxiety, is simply talking about it and even more importantly each person has the ability to take care of their mental health, just as they take care of their physical health.

Dr.Sood spoke of challenging negative thoughts and practicing self-care through yoga, meditation, exercise, sleep, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques. I found this to be really inspiring because they are things I have control over and they are completely free. After this lecture I wrote down on a notecard “Did you make time for yourself today?” and this has encouraged me to view my “me” time as equally as important as going to a doctor’s appointment. I have become more aware of my negative cyclical thoughts and tried to combat them through positive affirmations. I practice meditation and also exercise daily to lift my spirits but I have started to implement more relaxation tools which help me create an environment of mindfulness.

I found the topic of relationship style attachment through socialization and social modeling to be very insightful. It forced me to examine the relationships I have had in the past as well as the relationships I had with my parent as a child. The group exercise in class in which we discussed what changes we would consider making in terms of our romantic relationships was a very uncomfortable one. It forced people to open up about a very personal topic and also be honest with ourselves, which obviously doesn’t come easy to most. I struggled with this topic as it caused past emotions to resurface but it was important to understand and examine them. I also appreciated the other exercise of examining the healthiest couple we know and comparing them to the most dysfunctional. These exercises were important because they created relationship awareness which I think is hard to do on your own.

The lecture on emotions tied in nicely to the previous topic of relationships, because the one which we have with ourselves is the most important and also affects every relationship we have in life. Emotions serve many purposes and getting in touch with them helps us understand ourselves better, as well as our own coping strategies. When we examine our emotions, it enables us to regulate them and adapt to changes in our environment. I learned that building positive identity is extremely important in knowing what motivates you as a person. When we have a better understanding of this and a solid foundation of positive identity it allows us the ability to navigate all interpersonal relationships.

This directly tied into the topic of active listening as well as the four measures of social facility; synchrony, self-presentation, influence, and concern. I really enjoyed the in class exercise of practicing active listening in which we paired up with a partner and each took turns telling a story using the technique of RASA; Receive, Appreciate, Summarize, and Ask. After this lecture I made an extra more conscientious effort of practicing active listening with the people I communicate with the most. It’s not easy to remain present and not let your mind jump to what your response will be in a conversation.

The last lecture  by Dr.Vassilera on substance abuse was fascinating and I found the survey for the Substance Use Risk Profile Scale (SURPS) to be very telling. Discussing the major four personality traits associated with addiction was eye opening. Talking about the science based aspects of addiction was interesting as I had never had an in depth look into addiction. One thing she said that stood out to me was “Thoughts are guesses, not facts” and the correlation between addiction and the “cognitive triad” which are negative thoughts about yourself, the world, and the future.

The pith of all of these lectures for me has been to learn to cultivate a healthy relationship with myself through getting in touch with my emotions as well as making sure to prioritize my self-care which has a positive impact on my mental health. Over the last few weeks I have been more conscientious about my thoughts and how they affect my well-being as well as the relationships around me. I always knew that meditation and exercise were important for me, but I now have a understand that these are preventative tools I can always build with.


This image was taken from:

Relationships With Yourself And Others

Relationships. These are the first things you ever form in life, even before you yourself are completely formed. Even when you are just an idea in your parents’ minds, they already have formed a bond with you. No matter how you are or who you are they already love you unconditionally. This first relationship helps form how you interact with people in your lives and connect with them.

Your competence in romantic relationships is highly related to early childhood experiences and how both your parents go about their relationships, marriage, etc.  The attachment perspective is the most statistically significant influencing factor, which was absolutely baffling to me because I always thought we were more modeled after our parents and learned most of our practices from them.

Weeks 5-10 focused not only one relationships in the romantic sense, but also increased general awareness of ones self and personal characteristics that help form our identities. The traits that make us who are we are more influential than I thought, seeing as how they may be ted into harmful habits like substance abuse in excess. I learned that traits, along with everything in life has to be in moderation.

Mindfulness manages to slip its way into yet another discussion, but this time with one about yoga and physical movement. The integration of mindfulness into calming activities such as yoga allows you to better your benefits gained from just one of these components alone. The mindfulness activity ta the gym was extremely fun for me because it forced me to just relax and be present for much longer than a mere 5 minutes. I’ve learned that I need to practice a mindfulness technique for at least 30 minutes or so for it to actually be effective because of how much my mind wanders and how I just start doing it well each session when I hit the end of my set time. Longer is better, but that’s just for me and it varies so much from person to person! Finding your ideal time span is key.


What has changed and the results

What has changed and the results


The topics from the past couple weeks were all intertwined through the discussions of science of  yoga and the neurocognitive behavior when it comes to impulsivity. I think that mindfulness and impulsivity are strongly correlated simply because if you aren’t in the right mind set its easy to be self destructive and live your life on impulse. Meditation comes in at the same time with yoga because it allows a person to think rationally before making decisions. Centering yourself can decrease anxiety and manage cognitive behavior patterns.

In the past we discussed anxiety, depression and mood states all of which tie into positive psychology. Allowing your mind and body to relax can help you assess issues you may have not been able to the first go around. Simply applying these methods can make a vast difference in your life.

In terms of “larger lessons” i’ve learned that meditation can help manage negative automatic thoughts.  Once you can manage your automatic thoughts you can relax and decrease your anxiety levels alot easier or really maneuver your anxiety

I’ve made a few changes to my daily routine which is trying to implement positive thinking and really take the time to ask myself why i feel the way i feel, and centering my body to relax my nervous system. Yoga is a great tool as well.

I think what inspired the changes was seeing results.


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(SOH) Blog Post Number 2

(SOH) Blog Post Number 2




The topics discussed in weeks 5-10 all relate in terms of how the relationship with myself,  body, and others can affect my well being. Across these weeks in class, we discussed personality disorders, positive relationships, the science of yoga, positive identity and much more. All of these topics somehow manage to relate back to one thing; how they relate to our happiness and wellbeing in life. For example in the science of yoga presentation and lesson, we learned how the mind and body are connected such that the body is always in the present moment and is a vital factor in calming the mind, bringing it into the present moment. This practice reduces stress, pain, aids in weight loss, and relaxes the mind bringing it in sync with the body to really appreciate the moment. Additionally, having a positive relationship, one that is not passive nor aggressive, but assertive also aids in stress relief and self-actualization. In light of this being emotionally intelligent ( positive identity) and being able to read and properly asses, my and others emotions relate both to having a prosperous relationship and practicing mindful yoga. This is because to be clear of mind when assessing emotions also aids in having emotional intelligence. These past weeks have truly taught me a lot and have altered my mindset and how I view myself. One popular saying that has stuck with me for a long time is, “the road to success is a long and lonely trail” and I believed that I was ready for that loneliness and disapproval of others to be able to obtain what I wanted in life. However, learning of the effects a positive relationship can have on your health and well-being made me question, “Is taking on all of the life’s challenges alone is such a great idea?” With that in mind, I started to assess myself and my scores from the SURPS test to see what type of a person I am growing to be and how to catch my faults to better my chances of having a positive relationship whether romantic, family-wise or even a friendship.

Some changes that I have made to my daily routine are, I try to be more assertive, I listen more, express my concerns, and am more attentive and not on my phone as a person is expressing their feelings. I have also been going to the gym more frequently and trying to control my impulse to constantly eat sweets (GUILTY!). These changes were inspired by me taking a step back after the 7-day calm activity and really assessing my lifestyle and noticing that I am growing up and need to take my life into my own hands. I realized that these practices that are being taught are not just random facts that we learn in class to then be forgotten the next week, but are literally the keys to a successful, happy lifestyle. I will take all that I have learned and definitely share them with my friends and loved ones, especially my younger family members who will be coming into college soon. I now believe that at every new stage in one’s life practicing mindfulness is just as important as eating and breathing.


“Relationship Building in Business.” Penny Tremblay. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2017. <>.


SOH Blog Post 2

SOH Blog Post 2

To me it seems in weeks 5-10 we focused more on positive psychology as it applies to ourselves compared to weeks 1-4 where we were overviewing concepts. With week 5 focusing on romantic relationships and interpersonal dynamics, it set the tone to search for happiness qualities we saw in other and ourselves. Week 6 furthered this exploration for happiness, by searching of validation from close others who praised us, thus building up a sense of purpose and worth. Week 7, we explored mindfulness and how it helps reduce stress, thus improving life quality when practiced. Week 9 we switched up our daily routine and put into practice what we have been learning about in our experiential yoga session and eat/sleep/move assignment. Finally, week 10 we took the personality trait and SURPS assessment to measure our risk level for developing a substance use disorder.

So far with the material we have covered thus far, the greatest message I have taken away from this is how multidimensional and important well-being is. Well-being, as we have learned before is more than just the absence of mental illness, includes the presence of flourishing. It also is comprised of physical, mental, and spiritual health.

I really enjoyed these last few weeks, especially the exercise where friends validate you, mindfulness practices, and the movement activity. Having friends tell you what they appreciate about you really boosted my mood that week. Reina and Warren-Brown were great at explaining mindfulness. I have been doing simple mindfulness practices this semester and I am proud to say that I feel like I am making some progress. The experimental yoga exercise helped solidify the connection between mindfulness practices and movement. I have only done yoga a few times and I hope to pursue it more. I am also enjoying the movement assignment for week 9 because it has encouraged me to get out to the gym with friends or pick walking to school instead of riding my bike. Week 10 learning about substance abuse risk was one of my favorite lecture weeks this far because I enjoy learning about that topic.

Second BlogPost


It is unbelievable that the semester is coming to a close; which means this class is almost over.  I have accumulated so much information from this class and I’ve applied it to my everyday life.  A lot of the topics relate or coincide with each other such as mindfulness and campus resources.  We touched the topic of mindfulness and how it can put you in the present moment. VCU campus resources play a key role in mindfulness somewhat, because they offer another outlet or resource as an release.  I have gained an abundant amount of information that has helped me cope with life. Mindfulness truly helped me with my school work and my personal life. I practice mindfulness so I wont become so overwhelmed with school and organization meetings. I have been making positive changes in my life since this class. I plan on keeping these changes in my life and building upon them. I plan to keep mindfulness as apart of my everyday life habits and trying to be more healthy.  I am looking forward to see what else is going to happen in this class in the next month.

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Patric Anderson Blog #2

For weeks 5-10 (Wow it has really been 10 weeks) all of the lectures have been extremely helpful for me. The lectures that have helped me the most were positive identity, relationships (particularly the Salvatore, Collins and Simpson reading ), and the eating, sleeping, and moving. The eating, sleeping,  and moving activity was probably one of the most helpful “projects” I’ve had in college. I can’t forget about the yoga lectures and activities. What always sticks in the back of my mind  is to take at least 30 minutes out of your day to be mindful or exercise.  Whether you exercise, meditate, listen to peaceful music or whatever helps you become more mindful, DO IT!

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, the eating, sleeping, and moving project really helped me. I was assigned sleeping and I can truly say that it made me very conscious of my sleeping patterns. I learned that I lacked consistency in my sleep schedule. I gained over 10 pounds (unhealthy weight) in the past 8 months because of my sleeping patterns and my critical thinking skills had decreased drastically. I had no idea that sleep could effect so much. Now I’m trying to be more consistent, I’m trying to get at least 7 hours of sleep. I’m trying to eat a healthy and balanced diet, and most importantly, I’m trying to be as positive and mindful as possible.



These past 5 weeks of the course have been fascinating and transformational for me. I have learned a vast amount of information that connects very well with each other. In week 5, we learned about relationships. We were required to reflect on good relationships and see what makes them successful. I enjoyed this because it allowed me to reflect on my past relationships and what the causes of the problems were. Week 5 connects with the other weeks because using methods from other weeks can help build stronger relationships. For example, using positive identity techniques, mindfulness, and caring for your overall self can play a huge role in having healthier romantic relationships that may lead to less problem. In week 6, we learned all about positive identity and relationships. I thought Fredrickson’s article was important in giving me a good background on positive emotions and how the broaden-and-build theory helps with building positive action in your life. The weekly exercise made feel appreciated since I got a lot of positive comments from my family and friends. Week 7 was one of my favorite weeks since meditation is a dear practice in my life. I had started meditating in January on and off. Meditating has helped calm my thoughts and increase my focus as I prepared to study for a big exam I am taking soon. The exercise was only part of my daily routine. The second lecture I thought was beneficial since the speaker really helped me focus on not judging my thoughts which help me focus even further. Meditation ties to the previous weeks since it is a great practice to be more mindful of all of your thoughts which seep into your daily life in many aspects including relationships. The most thing I enjoyed about week 9 was the yoga; it was my first time doing it. However, since that day, I have been doing yoga every morning for 20 minutes. It helps me start my day with less anxiety and more energy. Yoga, like meditation, is a great method to bring positivity into your daily life which connects with all the previous weeks. In this last week, we took personality survey to test the degree of impulsiveness, sensitivity to stimulus, negative image, anxious we were. Not to my surprise, I had a high score in the sensitivity to stimulus category since I always am I need of high-intensity stimulus to be focused. We also learned about addiction. I thought it was interesting that after one is addicted, he or she doesn’t take drugs for pleasure but more for a relief of the negative physiological reactions. I think through mindfulness and health practices one can learn to better control negative consequences of your personality.

I have made many larger connections on general outlook of life. I have noticed that everything we learn in class is directly related to how successful and happy I will be in my life. In the past, I have been talking to myself and dealing with my stress in harmful ways. I have grown to be mindful of my thought patterns. All the topics since the beginning of the week all intertwined to give an overall picture of how one should lead a healthy and happy life. The most important thing I have gained from this course has been positive self-talk.

Since the beginning of class and this year, I have made many changes in my life in order to life with a more happy and healthy life. I started to become more dedicated to my morning meditations because of all the benefits that I learned. I also started to do daily yoga after the day I tried it in class. In general, I am trying to have a more positive outlook because it actually changes my actions. Additionally, I subscribed to YouTube channels that give me constant reminders about have a healthy balanced life. I am more inclined to read and engage in articles about better wellbeing. Now, I have the need to share my knowledge. This is one very important aspect that I have gained in class since spreading knowledge is crucial because that can be lead to transformational experiences in many people’s life. It is important to invite your family and friends to practice these new habits with you.

Happy body, Happy personality, More Life

The past five weeks in this class of happiness have been very intriguing to me say the least and the impact it has had on me outside of class has definitely been noticeable. To start, in class we learned about how what you eat and put in your body has a profound impact on your livelihood and more importantly your daily personality. We learned about positive and negative personality traits and how those traits could be beneficial or hinder human development. We also learned about how exercise and in particular, yoga, can be an asset to the mind and body and can even make your personality more positive.

In regards to the larger lessons that I’ve learned since being in the class, I can say that we are definitely living in an era where people are beginning to grow tired of the traditional methods of psychology and how it relates to the pursuit of happiness and are now developing this new age psychology that is focusing on the better well-being of a person. More and more you see exercises such as yoga, deep breathing, and eating healthy as ways to reduce anxiety, negative emotions, and cravings. No longer are you seeing the simplistic psychology techniques which focus solely on the cognitive and behavioral aspects in order for one to achieve happiness. Techniques and advice such as reflective listening and keeping mind of what goes into your body are being used more in order to keep a stable mind and happiness. A person who implements positive psychology, exercise, mindfulness, and a good diet is a person who is likely to be a happy person.

As of what changes I’ve made in part because of what I learned in class, I’ve been trying to make sure that I eat breakfast more and eat less junk food. Usually I would feel groggy and tired by the middle of the day in that’s particularly due to the fact that I don’t eat breakfast as much as I used to. In order to make that change I wake up earlier than I usually do to make sure I get some food in my body when I wake up. I’ve also cut back on the amount of junk food that I eat because it only makes me feel bloated or it makes me crash. I’ve also been doing a better job of being mindful of how my body feels and handling my thoughts. My schedule is very busy and I always have a lot going on in my head during the day so being able to become more aware of blocking negative thoughts really helps me on a daily basis.


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Living a Healthy Life

Living a Healthy Life

The past 5 weeks all of the topics we have covered have helped further my understanding of living a healthy life. We learned about improving personal health by being mindful of personal habits, such as sleeping, eating, exercising, as well as the importance of having a positive identity. We also explored the different aspects that contribute to healthy relationships. Much of how we view and take care of ourselves reflects in our relationships to those around us. According to Fredrickson’s Broaden and Build theory, having a positive identity and cultivating positive emotions have long term benefits for dealing with adverse situations.

Over the past 5 weeks I have become more aware of my own personal habits. Especially seeing how poor my sleeping habits are after doing the sleeping journal exercise, I have put an active effort into sleeping earlier and achieving a more restful sleep. The Trockel, Barnes, and Egget reading made clear time the impact of sleeping on not just academic performance, but on every other aspect of life. While I aim to eventually incorporate yoga into my daily life I still struggle to fit it into my schedule more than twice a week. Over the past year I have made significant changes to my diet and I’m currently satisfied with my nutrition. Now I need to focus my energies on improving my sleeping and exercising.

Another change I have implemented has been trying to use active listening as often as possible. It is amazing to me how much more those around me have opened up and begun seeking me out to disclose more often. After Dr. Salvatore’s lecture, practicing active listening in class with other students felt almost uncomfortable because I was not used to such a high level of attention being put on me. However, using this technique on friends and family, it was clear how much they appreciated my undivided attention and thoughtful questions. Active listening has also helped improve the way I view myself in my ability to create a comfort for those around me and then see them reflect the same attention back to me.

I plan to continue being mindful of my habits and working towards making positive choices to improve the well being of myself and those in close relation to me.

Blog Post numero dos (2)

Blog Post numero dos (2)

During weeks 5-10 we have gone over a lot of things romantic relationships, positive identity and relationships, mindfulness, Yoga (eat, sleep, move), and getting to know yourself. These topics all relate to one another by each and everyone having to do with wellness and growth. During each of these topics we have learned how to go about them in the best way possible. For example, we learned what a healthy relationship is, what mindfulness practices we should use to be balanced, learned how to do yoga, and learned how to get to know ourselves. These topics differ because they all touch on different aspects of wellness. The entire 10 weeks I have learned a lot about nutrition and yoga practices. These topics really interest me because I am trying to become knowledgeable on nutrition so that I can reach my fitness goals so that was really helpful. When we had a yoga class I was very moved by it and will practice yoga more often when given the opportunity to do so. I plan to make some changes when it comes to my eating. Currently i am already eating healthy but I hope to make even better decisions when it comes to my nutrition. I will also add in being a skillful listener so that I can receive messages better when people are talking to me. I really enjoy talking about positive psychology because it really is not acknowledged as much as it should be in the public today.

Blog Post #2

We have covered so much more information that I’m not even sure where to start!
The research from week five on close relationships really resonated with me, and when discussed in class I realized that it did just as profoundly for others as well. The reading by Salvatore, Collins and Simpson was particularly interesting because it did a great job of explaining the different aspects of behavior in relationships, which seemed most relevant for me (not just nature/nurture or attachment/modeling). And after discussing the assignment in class it also really helped me take an objective look at my relationships. I valued this assignment because I put a lot of work into the relationships I have, both romantic and otherwise. It highlighted several things that I feel I do well and can continue to improve upon, such as communicating well.

This perfectly transitioned into week six’s assignment, when we had to ask several people what they like, value, or appreciate about us. I had already begun to think introspectively about my relationships, so it was interesting to hear responses that I may have anticipated, but I was also so touched and surprised by the responses. After asking the form question, the responses I received were so thorough and thoughtful, I couldn’t help but think that everyone should just have this sort of positive affirmation every once in a while from others!

I really appreciated the 7 days of calm exercise as well because I hadn’t been keeping up with it as I’d originally hoped. This is something that I have actually continued to do in the weeks after this assignment, and will continue to do for the foreseeable future. Taking the time to be mindful has not been an easy habit of for me to get into but I am still working on it, and the tools that this class has given me have definitely been a huge aid. I really noticed while completing my “eat” journal just how important it was for me to be continuing with these exercises, and also that it has been very beneficial for me to try to continue to use positive psychology methods when I become stressed. Over the course of the week completing this journal, I realized how important it was for me to take a moment, think about how I was feeling and think about ways in which I could break up my stress/negative feelings. So this actually became a positive psychology intervention for me!

Week 10 was a little different for me because it overlaps with another class that I am taking which really delves into substance abuse prevention. The Conrod reading was very beneficial in breaking down what I’ve learned even further, especially with the graphics used such as the one I’ve included below. I liked that we discussed how different personality traits affect substance use, because substance use disorders are just so commonly co-morbid with things like anxiety and depression etcetera.

Overall, the information that I have learned has definitely built upon the first four weeks. I have also been pleasantly surprised by how much of the information that I didn’t anticipate to learn about is actually related and comparable. The past 5 weeks have been a great opportunity for me to continue to figure out what works for me as daily positive interventions and mindfulness practices, and I am confident that through the rest of the course I will only continue to solidify and build on them!

Image source:
Conrod, P.J., & Nikolaou, K. (2016). Annual Research Review: On the developmental neuropsychology of substance use disorders. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57(3), 371-394. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12516
(citing the graphic on page 382, figure 2)



Blog #2

Throughout weeks 5-10 the topics we discussed in class really pertained to me personally. They were all different, but nonetheless, they informed me of my behaviors and my overall well-being. One thing that I have learned and have noticed are the affects that your environment,other people, and the stressors of having so many “tabs open” isn’t as healthy. As people, we are social beings and we may not notice how many different tasks we have lined up mentally,not to mention our diet, sleep habits, and amount of time we have to ourselves. We focus on so many different things throughout a second, that it’s hard to separate from ourselves and breathe. Yoga, meditation and other forms of relaxation are ways of coping and distressing to serve as a moment of winding down and knowing if you are being “mindful or mindfull.”All of the topics discussed weeks 5-10 talk about the different ways we should distress and actually acknowledging the ways we can contribute to distressing and knowing we have a lot going on mentally and in reality. We focused on the stress of couples and how they act towards each other, deciphering what it means to be mindful of what is going on, while doing finding ways to unload your brain because you have a min-full of things circulating. Aside from that, the amount of sleep, eating habits, and how things as simple as eating a marshmallow sooner or later when promised another one as a child, can tell what type of person you may grow to be;impulsive, or a saver (waiting) to get the ultimate reward as an adult. Throughout these few weeks, the insights I have gained and I am still working on is valuing the time I have to myself and shutting my brain off, to listen to calming music, and taking myself out of certain situations that cause me to overthink-especially when it comes to people. These were changes that I planned on making, but learning to let go of things that I can not change is something I definitely need to work on. Most importantly, I want and need to work on listening to understand, instead of responding; I need to learn how to take a step back and accept that people feel and think differently than I do.

Blog Post #2

During weeks 5-10, it has been extremely interesting to learn about romantic relationships, positive identity, positive relationships, yoga,   and eating, sleeping, and moving. I believe that romantic relationships and positive relationships relate to each other because positivity plays a role in how well your relationship will be. When it comes to positive relationships, I think social awareness is extremely important because communication, your energy, and how well you listen can either create a positive relationship or a negative relationship. I enjoyed the skillful listening activity where each person told a story and the other two people had to actively listen. I also think positive identity and positive relationship connect because when you work on yourself as a person, and show that identity to others, it can carry over into a relationship. The yoga and the eat, move, and sleep exercises somewhat connect to me because yoga is like a form of exercise. The way you eat, sleep and move can all affect how you exercise and how you get through your day. I feel like some people need yoga to start their day of, just like everyone needs sleep and food to be energized.

As for the entire 10 weeks of class, I’ve gained so much knowledge about yoga, how to actively listen, being discipline enough to keep track of all of my meals, how to communicate in a way that others will understand as well as thinking about others feelings based on how I communicate. I enjoyed doing the 7 days of meditation because it made me feel like a different person once it was finished. That was the first time I did yoga/meditation consistently and it really changed my mood and took me away from everything that was stressing me out.

I plan to have a positive identity a little bit more because I tend to let little things irritate me and affect my mood. I’ve been trying to get out of my comfort zone by interacting with others while expressing my emotions to them as well as understanding others as they listen and respond. I think expressing your emotions and how you express yourself through conversation in a positive way can help you grow as a person. Lately, I haven’t been staying in my shell, I’ve actually been being myself and expressing who I am in a positive way. I think meditation has inspired me to remember to let go of the negative things that may be happening and think about more positive things. Also, the personality traits slide  inspired me to learn myself more and understand who I really am. It was interesting to answer those questions and learn what kind of person I am through the characteristics shown and  based on the answers I chose.

Blog #2

  1. The reason I read about how Mindfulness and Close Relationship could be difficult in your life is because I see bad relationship on television shows. Some people might criticize each other and I learned about relationship because being abusive, having a bad habits and being racist mix up relationships. The researchers learned the patients jeopardize the things that they love or claim to love. Mindfulness is something that could help you to deal with that or get help from your family and friends. Many students spend their lives trying to figure out how relationships work. In class, I learned some skills. I learned how to be confident, listening to what they say and giving spaces.

2. In Week 10, Dr. Jasmin Vassileva explain when people feel stress everyday it is difficult to control yourself. I learned the few things and  we did take a deep breath, meditating and believe yourself. Have faith in you.

I learned that when people get stressed every day, they may do drugs and drink alcohol. They still need to go to work and school everyday, and if they use alcohol and drugs they may forget to do these things. There are many different personality traits you can possess and they may not all fit into one category. You have to complete your goals,  but drugs and alcohol may make you lose yourself and feel as if you have nothing else to do.  Drug and alcohol use are  a result of risk factors.  I hope people will remember who you are and not to put yourself a risk, like, lose your relationship, your job and your family health. If you quit taking drugs and drink alcohol, you starting a new chapter. Your personality type can be determined by many factors. Being positive and upbeat can influence everyone around you and negativity.

3. No, I have not made changes in my life. I like to do something new in the future. I could do meditating and exercise. I would be fit with a small group of people. Thinking about a fun experience, like, going to beach, movie theater and traveling to state, listening to music and draw more pictures.



F is for Barbara Fredrickson: Her Work On Positivity

Positive emotions, better health, more relationships – New study


Blog Post #2

Weeks 5 through 10 have covered numerous topics including; romantic relationships, positive identity and relationships, mindfulness, Yoga (eat, sleep, move), and getting to know yourself. The common ties that I have noticed across the topics are how romantic relationships and positive identity go hand in hand. It is important to take of yourself first or the negativity from within can affect the relationship with your partner. Positive identity, mindfulness, and yoga all go hand in hand because they are all promote self-growth and a positive outlook on life. It is important to practice mindfulness in a relationship because it can be easier to understand the person you are with. All topics are interrelated and can be beneficial in a good relationship with yourself or others. The larger lessons that I have gained in the past 10 weeks are how important it is to take of yourself mentally, and how important it is to be mindful. It is important to take care of your brain because stress has a huge effect on overall performance. I have made many changes with regards to this class including in practicing mediation and yoga. I have been making an effort to go to the gym and sign up for the yoga classes that they offer. So far the changes I have made have had a really positive effect.

Blog Post #2

A topic I noticed coming up frequently in the discussions from the past few weeks was recognizing you own overall mental health and stability. For example, Dr. Salvatore discussed how to maintain a healthy and functional relationship with another person, which involved looking at your own behavior and how you treat and interact with others. When paying attention to your own personality you can start to see if there are characteristics you possess that would cause disruption in a relationship. Such as being controlling or simply not noticing how you only focus on yourself. I think this topic ties in well with the lesson on emotions and how to manage them. If you are not able to be in control of your emotions there is no way you can build a stable relationship with another person.

Remaining on the topic of relationships, in class we discussed interaction as being one of the key concepts of being in a relationship. If you do not express your emotions or discuss how something is not working, then the relationship will most likely fall apart without either person knowing why. Another concept of interaction is not only expressing but also being able to listen to the other person. This concept is called active listening. Something I know I have had an issue with in the past is listening to someone when they talk to me and not getting distracted and changing the topic. Even though I was aware that it was an issue I never took any action to stop this habit mostly because I did not know how. Ever since the lecture on active listening I have been trying to implement the tools I was provided with to make myself a better listener. Starting with not speaking when someone else is talking and making sure that I am actually paying attention to them talk and not letting my mind wander. If I catch myself getting distracted I will quickly bring my mind back to the present. If information was missed while my mind was wandering I will wait until they finish speaking and summarize what I heard back to them so if I missed anything they will fill in the blanks.

I think these past 5 weeks have been the highlight of the class. The topics we have learned have made me feel healthier in a way. One of my favorite exercises was the exercise in which we had to talk to friends and family and ask them to say a few things they like about you. It was a little awkward at first but I definitely felt better about myself afterwards, and it changed my perspective. These 5 weeks have definitely influenced me the most and taught me more about myself.





williamsonvs blog 2

  1. In week 5, we learned about automatic thoughts. I learned about how not to worry about emotions as much. Risk factors include depression, loneliness, lack social support, and family history. Another thing I learned is how to regulate emotions. One thing that is different between automatic thoughts and regulating emotions is that regulating emotions is trying when you try to explain your feelings to someone else. Automatic thoughts are thoughts that you are not considering as much as you should. I also learned about appreciating foods by holding a single raisin. I learned about how to use my five senses when trying to appreciate it. I never really eat a single raisin by itself. I think that it was really weird for me to hold a raisin by itself because I appreciated the single raisin and it created happiness. I had sympathy for people who don’t have food everyday.


2.I have learned how to do meditation everyday to release some of my stress. I have learned how to regulate my emotions in my  everyday life. I have learned how to take track of my sleep for everyday life.

3.Yes, I am working on my negative thoughts and processing negative things people say to me. I am trying just to ignore the negative things people say as much as I can without saying someting back to them. I know that I cannot change other people and I cannot allow other people and things to control me, so it has inspired me to make changes. I decided to take control of my thoughts and I don’t allow other people to be in control of me.


Blog post #2

As we continue through the semester I can really see how each new topic we learn can connect to the other, sometimes in subtle ways and others are obvious. It has shown me that everything we do, whether it’s out diet, our sleeping habits, our relationships, emotions, etc that they are interconnected and impact the other. For example, what we eat can boost our mood and in affect influence the way we behave throughout the day with our friends and in class impacting our relationships with them. And how with exercise and better sleeping habits a lot of things, physically and mentally, can be improved if we combined everything we have learned and put into effect.

I think the most interesting and perhaps, surprising, thing I have learned is just how much our diet and exercise can affect us. For instance it can affect our mood, memory, sleeping habits, etc. I always knew that your diet influenced our bodies a lot, but I never knew just how much and how. In the psychology class I am also taking this semester we did learn, briefly, that some individuals have to be on a strict diet to keep their symptoms from getting worse but I was astounded by how much a diet can help. For example, how the ketogenic diet can reduce and even possibly get rid of seizure symptoms. Another topic I did find very helpful for me personally, as I stated in the last blog post, was the lesson on automatic negative thoughts and how I can slowly learn to overcome them by focusing on the good things that came out of the things I did that my negative thoughts would have kept me from doing in the first place. It also helped that I wasn’t the only one experiencing those thoughts and that I wasn’t just being ‘weird’. Another lesson I enjoyed was on emotional intelligence. I always thought that I was able to gauge another person’s emotions well, more so when I knew the person a little better than a complete stranger. However, my own emotions can be a bit of a mystery to me at times and I’m not very good at expressing my emotions so I wouldn’t say I have high emotional intelligence.

One of the things I think I will try to change and incorporate into my life is my exercising habits. I tend to mainly go to classes, the library, and then back home so I don’t really do much. However, I think I can start by incorporating some relaxing walks outside once in a while to take in my surroundings. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with me. I can also start going to the gym with my roommate once in a while since I don’t really like to go alone. Another thing I think I can change in my daily behavior is to spend more time reading in order to relax after a stressful day of classes. To devote some time for peace and quiet so that I don’t end up overwhelming myself with negative or nervous/anxious thoughts. I will also try to better my sleeping habits and try to go to sleep earlier, and getting the right amount of sleep rather than too little or too much as I tend to do now.

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Anxiety & Automatic Thoughts

The past four weeks have been exhausting for me. I’m taking 18 credits and this is by far the only class that allows me to breathe. I’ve learned a lot through learning cognitive behavior skills that are actually logical. Understanding the science behind behavior really does make assessing your thought patterns easier. I have become more analytical yet clear headed through steering bad thoughts. Automatic thoughts specifically have really tied into my daily life, whether it be being anxious about something in the future or trying to stay present. I can easily be negative but by changing my negative first thought into a positive first thought I have the ability to manipulate perception and live a more optimistic lifestyle. There wasn’t anything I found surprising, however I see this class filled with life tools that are accessable and easy. For example, meditation. Its so easy to do, and theres so many ways to go about it! Especially through guided meditation and practicing mindfulness.

Post numero uno

The first four weeks of class really has flown by and I have gained a lot from each class. In my opinion, the topics in class kind of mesh together because they all deal with forms of happiness or how to maintain a sense of well-being. For example, the Keyes’ Model of complete mental/health flourishing helps us understand if we are flourishing or not and if we aren’t that it is okay because we can make it to be flourishing. The Genetic influences on behavior also connects to happiness because we have learned that genetics and behavior play a huge role in our happiness or our genetic predispositions. We now understand that the environment does play a huge role in our everyday lives as well as our happiness. Depression, anxiety and mood states relates to happiness/well-being because the lecture helps us understand what the difference between mood states and being depressed are and how they are not the same thing. It also teaches us the signs of depression and how serious depression and anxiety actually are. Positive psychology ties into everything listed above because without positive psychology we wouldn’t be able to study what makes people happy. Being happy should be treated just as a health condition. It is important to get people’s endorphins pumping to get happy!

There were a few surprising things that I learned from the first four weeks. One was that I did not know how anxiety felt for some people until we watched the video. It gave me a greater understanding of how it affects people in their everyday lives. I’ve also learned mindfulness skills from Linda. Mindfulness is very important to everyday life and it helps when trying to cope with every day stressors like school, work, personal relationships, etc. I also found it interesting that our environment has so much to do with how we are. I always thought most of it was genetic.

The activities in class that I personally feel apply to me and were meaningful are the times when we meditate.

What You Focus On Expands

“What you focus on expands”

That’s one thing that has stuck with me the most in the past four weeks of this course. I think it was something Dr. Hancock mentioned, but unfortunately, I do not remember for certain if it was her or not. But that idea is really the premise of many of the techniques and perspectives on mental health that we have discussed so far. It is also a concept I would like to actively try to remember and apply to my life outside of class discussions as well.

Our readings and discussions on positive psychology as well as those on the role genetics play both highlighted the idea that what you focus on expands. If we have control over 50% of what contributes to mental wellbeing, then what we focus on is in our control to benefit our wellbeing. So being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and reactions can help you focus on positive things to contribute to a flourishing mental health. Of course, that alone is not always enough to bring someone to the flourishing status, but it does amaze me how much of a difference it can make.

Before this course started I was aware of a lot of the anatomical and genetic factors of the brain because I have taken psychology courses and anatomy. So, a lot of that material has been a nice review. Other topics, like mindfulness, I had also heard and read a little bit about, but I’d never taken it into consideration. I have to admit, I’ve been kind of skeptical of meditation and mindfulness. I’ve been a little hesitant to fully believe the ideas of positive psychology as well. I found it difficult to really understand the power of thought. The power positive ideas have to change your mood and overall outlook on life. But this course is definitely starting to change my mind. Reading about the actually science and the research done in our weekly readings gives me a solid foundation of evidence to believe it. But more so than that, the videos we’ve watched about people who have actually done this and been helped are convincing me.

I’ve become more aware of my thoughts, particularly the negative ones since Dr. Sood’s lecture and the automatic thoughts exercise. I find it is helpful to acknowledge the thoughts as negative and establish that is better to not focus on them, but adjust to more positive ones instead. I tried explaining this to a friend last night as a soothing method. He was in a pretty bad bike accident last night our way home from work. Long story short, he was the one at fault which was all he could focus on for the remainder of the evening, besides the severe pain he was in. I repeatedly encouraged him to stop thinking about the mistake and focus more on relaxing and letting his body start to heal. Eventually he began to listen and was able to get some sleep for the night, which he originally thought would be impossible. Focusing on something more positive made a noticeable difference.

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Be Aware! Post #1

Be Aware! Post #1

Mindfulness! It is a necessary and great concept that has been trending for a few years now and is slowly gaining in popularity. Mindfulness is not only being aware of your mental state, the state it is in, and what you can do to improve it. So if it isn’t in a great state we can recognize what may be causing it and how we can stop it. What these past few weeks have really drove home is awareness! Being aware of where you land on Keyes flourishing scale, being aware of your behavior, and what is caused by genetics and what is caused by environment. Being aware of what is depression and anxiety and your mood states. Being aware of the concepts of Positive psychology and how you can use it to help you and your mental health.

Mental health is so so important in a stressful world like today, it is as important as physical health and no ones wants to give up their dreams and ambitions because their health took a turn for the worse when all of it is avoidable!

As someone who is dealing with a mixture of stress and mental disorders I am excited to learn more techniques beyond just the easy meditations and exercises. Just being aware of what is going on in my head and not just blowing it off as my weird mind is actually opened my eyes to conditions I may have gone unaware if I was not in this class. This is just the first step, in just the four weeks I have been in this class I can tell it is helping and I am excited to tell you more about it!

(Image source)

Be Aware! Post #1

Be Aware! Post #1

Mindfulness! It is a necessary and great concept that has been trending for a few years now and is slowly gaining in popularity. Mindfulness is not only being aware of your mental state, the state it is in, and what you can do to improve it. So if it isn’t in a great state we can recognize what may be causing it and how we can stop it. What these past few weeks have really drove home is awareness! Being aware of where you land on Keyes flourishing scale, being aware of your behavior, and what is caused by genetics and what is caused by environment. Being aware of what is depression and anxiety and your mood states. Being aware of the concepts of Positive psychology and how you can use it to help you and your mental health.

Mental health is so so important in a stressful world like today, it is as important as physical health and no ones wants to give up their dreams and ambitions because their health took a turn for the worse when all of it is avoidable!

As someone who is dealing with a mixture of stress and mental disorders I am excited to learn more techniques beyond just the easy meditations and exercises. Just being aware of what is going on in my head and not just blowing it off as my weird mind is actually opened my eyes to conditions I may have gone unaware if I was not in this class. This is just the first step, in just the four weeks I have been in this class I can tell it is helping and I am excited to tell you more about it!

(Image source)

Peace and Happiness

Peace and Happiness


PEACE: freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility. Upon entering this class I started on this journey where i was trying to find myself.  It started a coupe months ago. I was going through a rough patch in my life and I forgot how it felt to smile. One day my friend asked me,  “What makes you happy?”  When I set back and thought about the question, I kept coming up with no answer. In that moment i promised myself I will know what makes me happy. I started off my getting a self meditating book. It gave me key point when it came to meditating and other ways to relax throughout the day. As I continued my journey and continued to search for that inner peace I realized the biggest secret to being happy is simple, just be.  I picked this class because I wanted to further my knowledge on happiness.

The very first thing that grab my attention in this class was the statement, “If you want to be happy, Be.” So far we spoke on several topics; genetic influences on behavior, positive psychology, keyes’ model of complete mental health/flourishing, depression, anxiety, and mood states. All the which bring us back to the word, mindfulness: “…the ability to know what is going on in your head at any given moment without getting carried away by it.” -Dan Harris.

We spoke on mental flourishing through the idea of P.E.R.M.A; “P” is for positive emotion which basically are strategies that cultivate positive emotions.   The “E” stands for engagement, being highly absorbed in, involved in, or focused on life activities. “R” represents, Relationships, feeling valued by others in close, mutually-satisfying relationship.  “M” express, Meaning which is having a sense of purpose often related to a belief in something larger than the self. Last, “R” which symbolize, Accomplishments which sometimes are referred to as achievement, but pursued for the sake of mastery for one’s own sake rather than external reward.

It was also noted that, the cause of Human behavior is 50% genetics influence, and 50% environmental influence. Different types of genetic influences can be Mendelian disorder, chromosomal disorder, and complex traits. Mendelian disorder is single gene, highly penetrate, serve, and only affect a small % of people. Chromosomal disorder, insertions, deletions of chromosomal sections, serve, and affect a small % of people. An example of chromosomal disease is down’s syndrome. Complex traits, have multiple genes, environmental, affect a large % of the population, susceptibility, not destiny. Examples of complex traits are, depression, alcohol dependence, antisocial behavior.

At  one point, one of my bestfriends suffered from depression and anxiety , so when we discussed it in Science of Happiness, it kind of hit home. everyone has been sad before and have described it as depressed. Well, depression is a different sadness. It interfere with your day-to-day life. As well as, your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. You constantly are feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless. anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability. there are different treatments such as multiple medications and therapy/ counseling.  They’re several ways to restore balance including mind, body and spirit. A video was presented to show what is feelings like to have anxiety. To listen and watch through the eyes of a person with anxiety i could never imagine living with the feeling daily.

The most meaningful exercise we did is this class that was more related and I plan to continue on using,  is when we had to write down three good things that happened to us and why. This assignment was the easiest to relate to, because often we find ourselves counting to 10 or taking deep breathes to relax. Yet, we rarely take the time out to look on the brighter side of things. Yes, we may breathe and relax for the time being, but when we get home or is asked about our day the same feeling of stress return. How many times have you set back and took a horrible situation and looked at the brighter side of it?

Blog Post #1

I feel like Keyes model of complete mental health/flourishing relates to depression, anxiety, and mood states because they both focus on how we feel and what we can do to change those feelings. Creating happiness is positive psychology, satisfaction with life, and even your mental health. You need positive psychology to push through the anxiety or mood states; you have to find that thing that makes you feel good about your life, as the model states. I feel like genetic influences can somewhat relate to anxiety, depression, and mood states because genetically, you can have people in your family who suffer from depression, which can more likely put you in a position to experience depression. Also, even though something may come from genetics, the environment that you are in, plays a major role on who you are and how you may respond to situations. The information that was new and surprising to me was positive psychology and the acronym “PERMA”. I thought it was very interesting how each letter had a word that could actually play a role in someones life because you need positive emotion, engagement with activities, relationships with great people, meaning or something that has purpose to you, and accomplishments. One activity that was meaningful to me was writing down when something good happened, and why it happened. This was meaningful because I’m normally extremely hard on myself and I struggle to think positive, but this exercise made me want to find more positive things that happen throughout my day. I look forward to challenging myself to continue to practice the exercises in this class as the semester goes on.

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Blog 1

Over the past four weeks, all of the topics we have discussed have been a part of a broader spectrum of not only our well being, but our unconscious efforts of stressing and distressing. Mental health is one thing that many may overlook, taking the many signs of depression, anxiety, and stress as no big deal. For some, these three factors tend to get confused with the feeling, rather than the actual case, causing people to self diagnose and disregard treatment. Most of the time we have to many “tabs” open in our minds and need to take a breath. Not only are feelings a big part of our well being, but our genetics and environments play a major role as well. Behaviors, disabilities, and tendencies are susceptible to be apparent in offspring and other families, but may not be addressed clinically; still a major influence. On a positive note, positive psychology shows us how we can change things in our everyday lives and our minds, if we simply replace a negative thought or comment with something positive.

Considering that I have been in exercise science classes and my team was enrolled into a program Called “Positive Performance,” I learned a lot of the information that we have been learning over the past few weeks. The content that I found meaningful to me was listening to music, meditating, and thinking more positively. I tend to say negative things that actually motivate me and I have so much on my mind, but I started listening to meditation music, closing my eyes, and breathing deeply.

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Awareness Is Key

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One thing that I really took away from the first four weeks of class was the importance of the concept of awareness. This was really first brought to my attention when learning about the Positive Psychology Interventions. On the slide, it said that over time PPI’s begin to become less effective as the person becomes happier more of the time, which to me sounded good. So I raised my hand and asked, wouldn’t the be a good thing since the treatments are working then? To which Mrs. Walsh responded “yes, but only if you are aware of the fact that you’re happy more often.” So the key is awareness about the situation that you’re in, which I realized can be applied to many different things other than PPI’s.

This idea was expressed to me more when we did the three good things exercise, because it made me look a lot more positively at how things are by making me focus on the good things that have happened recently. I really don’t do this much and I find it really easy to look at things negatively, and focus on what’s wrong and what’s making me unhappy. It’s easy to forget all of the good things that have been happening recently, so after I completed this exercise I could thing “Wow, all these good things and more happened in just the past four days, that’s great.”

The lessons about the Keyes flourishing scale were eye opening in a few ways. I liked how the scale has a further analysis, and isn’t just black and white;sick or not sick. For instance, how someone can be considered flourishing with a mental illness, and languishing with no mental illness. The concept of flourishing with a mental illness alone is a bit perspective changing to me, and helped me realize that even when you can be winning in life and be happy, motivated, and enthusiastic overall, you can still suffer from a mental illness and you need to come to accept that not everything will always be perfect.

Learning about genetic influences on behavior was interesting because while I knew about hereditary genes beforehand, I was very much more into the nurture side of the argument of nurture vs. nature. However after learning more about it in class, I have slightly changed my views and now look a bit more at genes for their affect on you than I did before. The exercise we did where we built a family tree based on something hereditary opened my eyes to a few things too, because I called my mom to ask what runs in our family and learned a lot more about mental illness in my family and where it comes from and in what forms.

Also when learning about depression and mood states, I learned a few new things too. For instance, what is actually considered an “episode of depression”, and especially all of the ties between anxiety and depression. When talking about treatments, I was pleasantly surprised to see Ketamine infusion on the slide because drugs are a very interesting topic to me and I like to learn as much about them as possible. I’ve read a lot about studies being done relating to medical potential for recreational drugs, one of which being ketamine (even though ketamine does have other medical uses as an anesthetic) and whenever I read about studies like this it has my interest peeked, so seeing it in a class was a special moment for me.

The first four weeks of Science Of Happiness have been eye opening to me in many weeks and I greatly enjoy my time in the class. I really look forward to the upcoming weeks of class and what they will hold.



SOH Blog Post #1

SOH Blog Post #1

Some of the new information i have obtained in the first four weeks of SOH is how genetic influences behavior. I was aware that genetics has some sort of play in behavior, but didn’t see who got what behavioral traits down the family line until we had drawn out a family tree to see what genetic traits and behavioral traits were passed down. This lesson also went hand in hand with how what type of environment you live in or are raised in effected your behavior. I had noticed in my family line that some of the behavioral traits that were not shared could have been related to what school we all went to and what kind of friends we associated with.

Learning about how much yoga/meditation benefited you was quite surprising. Throughout the lectures i would understand that focusing on ones breathing and peaceful sounds ( guided meditation) was helpful, but when we would physically do it in the first five minutes of class, I was less stressed and more eager to learn. I was also shocked at how much yoga could do for you physically. In one of the videos shown after lecture there was a disabled, over weight veteran who had trouble running, was able to be mobile and run after multiple months of yoga.

During the first four weeks of SOH we had went over the Keyes Model of Complete Mental Health. We had discussed that almost everyone will experience some type of mental health issues before the age of 55. We had also discussed that someone with high mental health can have mental health issues and someone with low mental health may not have any mental health issues present. We talk about emotional well being, social well being, and psychological well being, and how someone who may thrive in all three departments may still suffer from some sort of mental health issue.

Depression is something that most people go through. Most types of depression may only need a short term treatment, but in severe cases a more long term treatment may be needed. While most people may experience depression, only a small percentage is diagnosed to be clinically depressed. Anxiety is also a common mental health issue, symptoms may be short temperament, a feeling of pressure in your chest, and tiredness. Anxiety can be treated through meditation and in serious cases with medication. This can all be tied to something we also learned in class, Introduction to Positive Psychology. The purpose of positive psychology is to compliment mental illnesses and not replace them and they want to educate more people about these illnesses.

An activity i thoroughly enjoyed was briefly writing down the three positive things that happened in my day and why this may have occurred. Although nothing huge happened most of the time, thinking back at the end of the day and seeing why this may have occurred made me grateful for these scenarios even if i wasn’t grateful in the moment. It also helped me understand what i can do to continue these positive scenarios throughout my life.

Blog post #1

Blog post #1

I found it really interesting how the topics over the last few weeks are interconnected.  The flourishing scale can help use gauge our mental health whether we are affected by mental illnesses or not. It was still a very valuable tool to have an idea on your own level on mental health.

Mental health doesn’t mean being able to deal with the effects of a mental illness.  Its usually assumed that taking care of mental health is the same of taking care of a mental illness. Its also assumed that people with mental illness can’t be happy. The Keys Flourishing Scale shows that people with and without mental illness can have poor mental health and good mental health.

The lectures about mental illnesses and about genetics both heighten awareness genetic predispositions of mental illnesses. It was surprising to me that people can have feelings of depression without being diagnosed  or be can candidate to be diagnosed with depression. The subject that stood out the most during our lectures with Dr. Sood was panic attacks.

The topic of panic attacks leads into the most valuable lectures to me so far which we the mindfulness lectures. I’ve practiced mindfulness before this class and before coming to VCU, however I’ve been neglecting those practices. It wasn’t until after feeling the onset of a panic attack while in the lecture about them and having one after class, that I realized how important mindfulness really is.

During my panic attack my first instinct was to focus on the anxiety I was feeling and panicking more at the fact that I was having a panic attack. It was a moment of being distracted and catching my breath that enabled me to calm myself down.

These practices of mindfulness as well as catching my thoughts helped me during a time that my first thoughts were ” I can’t do this. I need help”.

All I needed was some self reassurance, telling myself to breathe and change my focus. Then the problem of panicking became smaller and smaller until it was gone.

Blog Post 1 – Let’s Flourish!




blog post one: muneera vs the void 

Although I’ve taken many classes throughout my college career, this first month in the Science of Happiness has taken me by surprise. For one, I actually retain information, most likely because I have to apply it. This certainly is not to say that I don’t apply knowledge from my other classes (Physiology taught me a lot about hormones, and as a chemistry major I am applying chemistry concepts every day), but I’ve always had to go back and put in hours studying before I ever felt capable enough with a concept to be able to begin to integrate it into my life. I credit a large part of this to the weekly discussions, as well as they social media posts. The discussions give me some practice ironing out new ideas which I can then go on to talk about when a friend asks me about a social media post. It’s a cool way of learning, one that definitely requires you to stay current with information, which, in turn, I think ups the chances of actually applying what I learn. I think I’ve heard myself say negativity bias a hundred times these past few weeks, but in talking about it to others, I am able to remember it myself when my thoughts are taking a negative turn.

Of the topics we have covered, I think Keyes Flourishing Scale has stuck with me the most. Before our class discussion, I thought the scale was a little silly – it seemed intuitive to me that I were to select S every day, I probably would not be shining example of mental health. The true value in the assignment, and thus the scale, came to me after I was able to understand the nuances in the theory. It’s not so much about where you test to be, it’s about where you can go from there. The scale is not homogenizing the results people with mental health disorders with people without them (because there are inherently different challenges between the two groups). It is not a jail sentence for those with mental health issues, and it does not diminish the struggles of those without them, as both groups of people can be categorized in and move between languishing, flourishing, and moderately mentally healthy.

About 50% of the reason a person may have a mental illness (and thus be put on that side of the flourishing scale) is due to genetics. Depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses are different than mood states of being depressed, or being anxious, in regard to their length and severity. Similarly, about 50% of what causes a person to be happy can be attributed to genetics. Ten percent can be attributed to circumstance, and the other 40% has to do with choices that we as people make. While I found this to be particularly empowering, I didn’t know exactly what kind of positive choices a person could make.

Positive psychology interventions are one of the ways a person can work on moving themselves to the flourishing category. While I do see the value in all of them, to be completely honest, I was somewhat skeptical of the ability of some of these interventions to work for me personally. I’ve never been much of a yoga person, and meditation does not come easily to me That being said, the data-based presentation of these methods has definitely convinced me to try them out. I am trying to be more mindful, and a fellow classmate and I are going to put gratitude notes and anonymous acts of kindness into action this week, and am excited to see how it goes. Earlier in the semester I had my coworkers do the 3 Good Things assignment with me, upon which one of them replied “that really did make me feel happy!” If the assignment itself did not help that week, hearing that certainly did, which I suspect is rooted in the philanthropic aspect of positive psychology.

One thing we learned that helped abate my skepticism of some of the PPIs was that it is not so much the action itself but rather how it forces you to change your perspective on life. It’s not like I’m going to close my eyes to meditate, open them and have everything be better, it’s that the moments of reflection help me take a step back and see my reality in a better way.  This shift in perspective is why I chose the image that I did. Although it is a little silly, it’s something I have saved on my phone to help me remember the personal responsibility and ability we have to move towards flourishing. Plus, bunnies are really cute.


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Blog Post #1

Think positive, do not negative

So what really is happiness I thought when I entered the classroom. The whole idea is temporary pleasures that doesn’t really have much meaning. So what if you’re happy? If you’re contributing nothing to the world. I really entered this class with a very skeptical mindset about happiness. I always thought that “ahh happiness is overrated.” As long as your life has meaning and you are making a good impact on the world then that is all that really mattered. But…. It’s not that simple. I really realized that in order to care and have an impact on the world you must care for yourself first. We are all human and we run out of passion, energy, and motivation. We need something that will keep the fire fueling. Working on things to make you happy I learned contributes to your fuel to keep the fire burning.

The first exercised we did was the Key Flourishing Exercise. Not to my surprise, my scores were low, it showed that I wasn’t happy but I didn’t really care to be happy. The exercise to me was more of an identification exercise but it didn’t really have much of an impact on the way I thought.

The first time I really started to reflect on my happiness was when we watched the Ted Talk on happiness. This talk was very interesting. One line that really stuck with me was that you have to be happy to be successful, not successful to be happy. The talk further discusses the role of positive psychology in our everyday life and how positive thoughts can influence our everyday actions. This really helped be aware of my everyday thoughts and my general pattern of thinking. I also thought the three thoughts exercise were very helpful. I loved how it made me want to look for happy events in my life which overall contributed to the awareness of wellbeing. I think the field of positive psychology is a great place for me to start my journey into happiness which will eventually lead to a more successful and meaningful life.

Science of Happiness Blog Post #1

Science of Happiness Blog Post #1

When I first joined the “Science of Happiness” I was really excited. I had no idea what to expect, but my friend had taken it the previous semester and said that she loved it. I’ve learned so much in such a short time about the concepts we cover. I’m a PR major, so I never get to learn about or discuss concepts like mental health and illnesses. It’s so interesting being able to learn about things from a scientific perspective.

I feel like all of the topics that we’ve covered have been building up on one another. We started learning about the Keyes Flourishing Scale, and how not being mentally ill isn’t the same as having mental health. We also learned about positive psychology. Then we delved into genetics and the nature vs. nurture argument, and how those topics influence mental health. Then we learned about mental illnesses and how to deal with them. All of these contribute to learned about how to develop and continue mental health.

The topic of positive psychology was so interesting to me. I found myself catching all my negative thoughts and trying to spin them in a positive way, which is something I don’t normally do. The class encouraged me to give it a try, and it was honestly remarkable how different the changes were. I felt like I was appreciating things more instead of being negative about everything.

I love having all the guest speakers come to class. It’s cool to feel more connected to the different programs on campus, especially because without the class I don’t think I would have ever interacted with the Well.

I’ve been trying to think more positively, because I’ve noticed how it impacts my mood and how the way I reflect on my day has changed from before I took the class. I’ve started to try to see the glass as half-full, not half-empty, and it’s amazing that one simple lecture could do that.

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The Key to Happiness: Balance

Throughout these past few weeks, The Science of Happiness class has become an eye-opening experience. The lectures, discussions, and activities are not only knowledgeable information but actually real life connections to realistic practices we can use to improve not only our mental health but our lives in general. Keyes’ mental health model of the flourishing scale was an interesting activity because I was surprised that you did not need to always have these positive thoughts about yourself to be flourishing. Dr. Sood’s lecture on depression, anxiety, and mood states resonated with me. I learned that being anxious or having anxiety sometimes isn’t the end of the world. On occasion, anxiety is needed to give us that little push in life. Like when your stressed about something, its that little push of anxiety, that fear, that helps us reach our desired outcome. On the other hand, there are mood states and depression which can be an extreme dragging feeling, or an extreme uplifting feeling. These two are very related, but notably distinct as well. A mood state are usually feelings that we express that are only temporary and are eventually able to move past. Unlike depression, where it is that same feeling that recurrently emerges, and that you’re not able to move past as easily. On the other hand, genetic influence can have a greater impact on mental health. Nonetheless, genetic dispositions aren’t always a bad thing, for me I believe it could be a motivating factor. Genetic dispositions only mean that there is a possibility, not a guarantee that you will be like that person. However, being unfamiliar to those feelings, I do experience mood states, and I believe having a mindful approach to those emotions can really help you understand and overcome those feelings with some ease.


Both Dr. Hancock’s and Professor Walsh’s lectures were both similar in the way they focused on positive and mindful practices that everyone could relate too and use throughout life. Mindfulness is the ability to be present. I believe that the positive practices interventions we learned from Professor Walsh’s lecture is beneficial to practicing mindfulness, and focusing more on the good things in life than the bad. Understanding your feelings, practicing positivity and mindfulness, overcoming your negative thoughts, gives you balance. Balance is the key to happiness, sad or negative feelings and thoughts happen and are okay when you are able to acknowledge and move past it. You are who you want to be, and by acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses you can develop good habits that lead to a positive well-being. Like they say, “Strength comes from weakness”. Being able to pick yourself up from your downfalls is a characteristic this class and these practices will teach you


Deschene, Lori (2015, January 14). 6 Tips: Work/Life Balance for People with Big Dreams. Retrieved February 12, 2017, from 

Blog Post 1

In the Science of Happiness, we learned about the Keyes’ Model of Complete Mental Health, genetic influences on behavior, depression, anxiety and mood states, and positive psychology. All of these contribute to the awareness of mental conditions as a medical condition that can be compared to someone with a broken arm. The awareness of how mental disorders work help eliminate stigma toward people who suffer from them. As someone who has a lot of experience with dealing with mental illness, I think people need to be more aware of the negative effects stigmatizing those who are suffering has on everyone involved.

The Keyes’ Model suggests that just because someone does not have a mental illness doesn’t mean that they are happy. In other words, the lack of a disorder does not mean happiness is present. The model presents the terms “flourishing” and “languishing.” Flourishing is the functioning happily in a person’s life and languishing means the absence of a mental illness, but not content. This is important because studies have shown that people who are flourishing in life do better at work, are physically healthier, and are more mentally healthy.

Human behavior is caused by both nature and nurture. Both genetics and environmental factors have an influence on behavior, including whether someone develops a mental illness. I thought the diathesis-stress model is interesting because it says that people are genetically predisposed and environmental factors can trigger or not trigger the onset of a disorder.

In class, we talked about the statistics, causes, and ways to help mood disorders. Mood disorders often start at a young age, but treatment isn’t usually started until much later on. Early intervention is the best way to help someone. Medicine can be prescribed along with psychotherapy. Something that I find helpful that was introduced to me in this class was the idea of mindfulness. Being present in the moment always helps me put my life into perspective.

Positive psychology is an upcoming stem from psychology that aims to not only eliminate peoples’ mental disorders, but go farther to help them reach fulfillment in their lives. I love the idea of positive psychology because it aims to make people happy, not just lift their mental illness. Many people think that if you aren’t suffering from a mental illness, it means you’re happy with your life. Positive psychology and the Keyes Model both suggest that there is more to it.

The awareness of all these factors of mental illness can help educate and raise awareness of the stigma behind it. People with mental illness often are afraid to come forward because of the reputation having a mental disorder has. People are unaware of how they work and think because they can’t be physically seen, they don’t exist.

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What stood out to me the most in the first four weeks was the lesson about automatic negative thoughts. For as long as I can remember I would have these random, negative thoughts whenever I planned to do something whether it was going out with friends or how I would feel doing assignments in class. I thought that this was just me being pessimistic or there was something wrong because no one else probably had these kinds of thoughts. So learning that these were something that many experience it made me feel less guilty about having them. And so it pushed me to find ways to not let them control my life.

One thing that had helped me was the Three Good Things exercise. It allowed me to take note of the things I was able to do/accomplish that I had doubts of beforehand (such as calling up a friend without losing to the negative thoughts that I was being bothersome). This helped me in fighting back these negative thoughts because it showed that they weren’t true and made me think that every little thing that comes to mind may not be valid. It also allowed me to focus on the good things that had been happening to me, big or small. During my first year here in college I had been too focused on the people who have been impacting me negatively. I was letting the things they did get to me too often and way too hard. After this exercise I had come to realize that there were better things to have on my mind and that I shouldn’t let things weigh me down.

Learning about the Keyes Flourishing scale was very interesting for me too. I didn’t know that a person with high mental health could possibly have a mental illness or someone with low mental health could be without one. It was something that opened my eyes more to the people around me. And although I knew that there are people who do hide things behind a smile, it made it more apparent that those who are always bright and happy in public may have things they are struggling with. That they don’t have everything together as I initially thought.

I was already aware that genetics played a role in ones behavior and the possibility of having a mental illness. And it was something that worried both me and my family seeing that it could possibly affect me or my siblings, but given the complicated family history we aren’t very certain making it all the more worrisome. However, learning that they don’t determine it 100% did take some of that away. Especially when I learned that its a mix of both environmental and genetic factors that play into it, and not solely one or the other as the nature vs nurture argument suggested. Learning about the how behavior could be genetic was slightly amusing for me because of it made me think about how similar my family and I were. Whether its our temper or maybe even our humor it was interesting to learn that genetics could have influenced this as well as being around each other that could have caused it.

In the end the biggest thing that I have learned is that there are better things to be occupied with than the little irritable things. And that there are many ways I can help myself think more positively and stay more in the moment than fretting about the past or future.


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SOH – Alea K 2017-02-12 17:04:49

The first four weeks of the science of happiness class have defiantly been influential. The topic that were discussed in class included what cause human behavior, genetic influences on behavior, mood states and introduction into positive phycology. All topic discussed are related due to the nature of how our brains work. It is important to understand genetics and human behavior in order to understand your thoughts or why you are thinking in the way you are. It is important to be aware of these topics in order to gain a more positive approach to everyday life. If people are more aware of their automatic responses they can change the way they react in these situations. These topics are also different because one certain topic can not fully describe why one is acting or feeling the way that they are. Something that was new to me was pathologic anxiety; I have never heard of this term before but it was interesting to learn about the threshold of anxiety and when it becomes non adaptive. An activity that was very meaningful to me was the concept of meditation. Before taking this class I did not realize how important meditation was. I have learned what kind of meditation works for me; and it does indeed reduce stress. 

Blog Post #1

From day one, I felt as though this class would be a very positive experience for me. In just a few short weeks, we have already discussed several techniques that have improved my mindset on a daily basis. Beginning the course with the Keyes model was an excellent step into understanding in what ways I would implement certain techniques in my life. This was the first time that I had seen this model, and discussing its different levels in class (like the possibility of having low mental health without being mentally ill) was particularly beneficial to my understanding of how mental health isn’t so black-and-white.

I also really appreciated the information about how success can relate to happiness when we discussed that most people try to achieve success to become happy, but that in reality we are more likely to be successful when we are happy.

I found this photo when I was poking around the internet for my first social media post, and how it directly related to material we had discussed in class.

I have appreciated that each week, the material builds on itself, and I continue to have a greater understanding of what I’m learning. Happiness has not always been something that I would describe for myself as “easy.” This past week we have just begun to discuss why even as a part of my chemical makeup. The science portion is pertinent in understanding how happiness may work for me, but I have really benefited from being delving more into positive psychology.

Both the three good things and the automatic thought process exercises have had a pretty positive impact on my effort to remain positive. The three good things exercise was not exactly simple for me to complete. I found myself making a conscious effort to find something positive in what I may have otherwise thought was a pretty dull day. For one day, one of my good things was “not wearing yoga pants to class.” I got up that morning, I made coffee, I got dressed and had a good day. I tried to not just coast into another day, and so I thought to myself that even something so small could be positive. Along with making an effort to find these positive things, the automatic thought process exercise helped me in trying to understand why my thoughts may spiral into the negative, and to make more of an effort in halting those processes.

Overall, in the first four weeks of class I have seen both overlap in the topics but also an expansion on them, and how they all relate to happiness as a dynamic. I am really thoroughly enjoying that I can take something away from each class, and am excited to continue to learn.


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first 4 weeks

first 4 weeks


When I entered this class I had no idea what to expect. I remember my advisor suggested it and told me it was a very popular class. I decided to take it and I LOVE it. It is a very interesting class and it offers way more than I thought I would get out of this class. For example, our first assignment dealt with the Keyes flourishing scale and it was a pretty cool assignment. I already know I am a happy person and I usually have very good days so it was cool to show that on that scale.

I think another thing I really love about this class is the mediation that we do in the beginning of each class. I now tell my boyfriend that he should do a little silent mediation each morning because it really does help. The days I don’t have this class I still do a silent mediation because it is nice to get yourself together and then begin your day. Highly recommend that everyone do something to center themselves each morning even if it isn’t mediation.

I really enjoy group discussions because they are so free and honest. We are all talking together and relating things to each other and it is nice to know that we all have something in common. One of the most important things I have taken from this class is that positive psychology is meant to complement the existing understanding of mental and physical health challenges, not replace it.

I am extremely happy I took this class because I know that everything I am learning in this class I can actually apply it to my daily life. I already do that as it is.

I look forward to the rest of this semester and learning more about myself!

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Flourishing Connections

All of the topics we have addressed in these first few weeks of class have been building upon one another to present a complete view of what mental health is. The Keyes Flourishing model demonstrated the complete model of mental health as being more than the absence of mental illness. Keyes suggests that mental also consists of well being and healthy functioning. In relation to positive psychology, the leading wellbeing model of PERMA breaks down the components of character strengths and virtues that develop us into flourishing human beings with both eudemonic and hedonic applications. Furthermore, Dr. Dick educated the class on the age-old argument of nature versus nurture in relation to the cause of human behavior. She taught us that genes are responsible for both mental health and well-being however; heritability is not 100% responsible for our gene expression. My favorite theory being the Diathesis Stress Model, which hypothesizes that, our genetic dispositions are triggered or “turned on” by life experiences. This model helps explain the phenomena of mental illness such as depression, anxiety, and mood disorders present in families. Just because your family may have a history of mental health disorders, does not guarantee the onset on one in yourself.


All of the content we have gone over in class so far has been familiar to me; however I have learned a few things that have built upon my previous knowledge. For one, I enjoyed learning about the Key’s Flourishing scale. I also enjoyed Dr. Sood’s talk on mental health disorders, specifically when she stressed the important differences between a mood state and a mental illness. A mental illness is different from a mood state in its intensity, frequency, and duration.

One of my favorite experiential exercises that we have done has been the Three Good Things Journal. Not only did it bring a welcome burst of positivity to the end of the day, but it also helped focus on the day’s positive events and thoughts. In fact, my roommate and I have started doing a similar activity in our daily lives. Every night this month we write at least one good thing we have done for each other or something that we both positively experienced together and put it in a small box to open at the end of the month. Our daily mindfulness practices have also encouraged me to try and meditate myself and I even went to a meditation Monday in between my classes. I am proud to say that I think I am improving with practice.


Grabbing the Intangible

Happiness. The word itself conjures up completely different images all depending on the unique individual. Even then, moments later, they may define the exact same word again as something entirely different. It’s this beauty that keeps us constantly striving to achieve it, despite all its fluidity.

The first few weeks of the class have been rather eye-opening. Until this semester I had never spent time reflecting on events throughout the day or testing myself and how I am moving along in life as with the Keyes’ flourishing scale. I was pleased to see that I was flourishing, but there is definitely still room for improvement and I feel like I’ve taken on a new outlook in trying to better myself after using it. I personally see the function of this scale as giving you a baseline test and causing you to try to better yourself regardless of the result, because while happiness itself is intangible, it gives you something to see in numbers and on paper. This will help you to see yourself differently and in a more positive light.

The most important thing I’ve learned so far has to be epigenetics and the changes that can arise just from a simple trigger in the environment. It fascinates me to see how things can be so easily passed down just from one generation and changed in the next due to the experiences of the one passing it on. In school we are taught about how long evolution takes so it just baffles me how easily it can happen so easily and so observably.

The mindfulness practices are slowly finding their way into my everyday routine and lifestyle just because It feels as though I can focus on something truly important to ME. It feels great to be able to just focus on the present and myself rather than focusing on a screen and doing things that aren’t of any interest because after all…YOU should be your greatest interest!

Society makes it far to easy to lose track of what actually matters in life. We create all these material possessions and create our own obligations that just draw us further away from ourselves and our own wellbeing. It’s honestly sad because our physical health is so important but mental health is never considered to be that important. Everyone will say mind over matter but they don’t realize the importance of the mind when it comes to health and that the two have to work together in order to be happy. Regardless of happiness’ nature of change, the best thing to remember is to be present and remain at peace with yourself.



Patric Anderson Blog #1

Over the first 4 weeks in class I have learned a variety of way to obtain “happiness”. One of the techniques that has helped me is mindfulness.  Mindfulness is being conscious or aware of the situation that you are in. Whether if you are upset and need to control your temper or happy and need to appreciate your life, mindfulness is a key to life. Other techniques can include meditation or yoga, music, art, working out, being around love ones and friends or even getting a new puppy. Whatever/whoever makes you happy (as long as its healthy) is what you should you do or be around. So how do I know if I’m really happy? The Keye’s Model of Mental Health  is a GREAT determinator. If find that you’re not fairing well in the mental health aspect of life, then it may be time for a new and more healthy lifestyle.

Genetics play a huge role in your happiness and your mental health. Anxiety, hypertension, depression, bipolar one, or bipolar two disorder and others are passed down from generations. Our surrounding environment can also affect happiness. Our family, our neighborhood, and our peers can affect us  negatively or positively and can affect our happiness.

This is where POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY comes in! Positive psychology is where your turn those negative thoughts, actions and ideas, into positive ones. It is best to put a plan forward in order to increase positive psychology. It takes practice to have an automatic positive thinker. I am now thinking before I act and finding time to add more positive things in my life to make me happy.

Four weeks in, where we are now.

What is happiness? Happiness to me is probably different than what happiness is to you. How we perceive happiness is through pre-disposed genes, environmental factors, and life circumstances. During Dr. Dicks lecture I learned that the largest influence on what makes us happy or unhappy is genetics, around 50% to be exact. So what about the other 50%? Well mostly that is up to you! According to Corey-Keye, individuals fall into unique categories based on their mental health status. Keye’s Mental Health Model emphasizes the need to increase individual’s mental health and strive to become more flourishing.

Positive psychology is founded on people who want to live a meaningful life filled with love, work, and play. Unfortunately, we all know someone, or we are that someone who just can’t seem to reach that happiness due to a mental illness. No matter how hard some people try they can’t seem to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses with 1 in 5 teens being diagnosed. Depression and anxiety are at an all time high, and the number of individuals being diagnosed keeps climbing. So what can we do to lower these numbers? Recognize the signs and symptoms at an early age; encourage people to talk about their feelings instead of bottling them up inside.

            Every week in class I enjoy starting off with a short meditation, it helps me to be able to breathe in a way that I can relax. I am often running from a previous class in order to get to SOH on time. Being able to take just three short minutes to collect my thoughts and not have my brain spinning in circles really helps me become present. On Fridays in class it is nice to have small group conversation and get to know your peers. Learning different experiences, thought processes, and advice from others can help you implement the way you handle life circumstances.

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Initial Impressions

Maintaining mental wellbeing has been one of my primary struggles for most of my life. Since being diagnosed with depression as a child and anxiety when I was a bit older, I feel I have often used trial-and-error to put myself in the best position possible. Mental health is critical to overall health, of course, and its relative invisibility should render it no less important.

Throughout these first four weeks, I have been overwhelmed in Science of Happiness, though I mean that positively. Learning about the science of why our brains do what they do is helpful on its own, but being able to apply it to everyday life while relating to peers is that much more meaningful.

I tend to have a negative self-concept, which can unfortunately prevent me from appropriately recognizing and crediting myself for progress I make with mental health. This was evident upon completing the Keyes flourishing scale. Due to my mental illnesses, I figured I would have subpar results; this was not the case. In spite of my struggles, I am found to be “moderately mentally healthy” right now. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I realize I am doing better than I give myself credit for. Luckily, this is something I can continue to work on.

Positive psychology is an interesting and valuable concept to me, too. During mental health treatment as well as in everyday life, I have often focused on what is “wrong” and how I can fix it. That has made me feel like I have to work more on “damage control” rather than remembering my positive personality traits and attributes and using them to my advantage. Again, I think we all need to learn to give ourselves a little more credit, so the spin with positive psychology doesn’t seem cheesy or fake to me; it just makes sense.

I think a central theme of this course might be how, with mental health, what we can control versus what we cannot is not the black-and-white dichotomy we often think it is. While genetics and heredity are out of our control, we can control our environments to some extent, and we can certainly alter our outlook and perspective. Meditating for a few minutes in the morning can help a person be more present for their day. Prioritizing sleep over watching another episode of a show we like can make a difference in how we respond to stimuli the next day. I don’t think we can force feed ourselves positivity and just expect things to change, but I do think we can be aware of our habits and inclinations and do a few things each day to make the inside of our heads a more pleasant place to be.

[Image source: “SlideShare: Mental Health in Law School.” ABA for Law Students. ABA for Law Students, 29 Mar. 2016. Web. 12 Feb. 2017.]

Initial Impressions

Maintaining mental wellbeing has been one of my primary struggles for most of my life. Since being diagnosed with depression as a child and anxiety when I was a bit older, I feel I have often used trial-and-error to put myself in the best position possible. Mental health is critical to overall health, of course, and its relative invisibility should render it no less important.

Throughout these first four weeks, I have been overwhelmed in Science of Happiness, though I mean that positively. Learning about the science of why our brains do what they do is helpful on its own, but being able to apply it to everyday life while relating to peers is that much more meaningful.

I tend to have a negative self-concept, which can unfortunately prevent me from appropriately recognizing and crediting myself for progress I make with mental health. This was evident upon completing the Keyes flourishing scale. Due to my mental illnesses, I figured I would have subpar results; this was not the case. In spite of my struggles, I am found to be “moderately mentally healthy” right now. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I realize I am doing better than I give myself credit for. Luckily, this is something I can continue to work on.

Positive psychology is an interesting and valuable concept to me, too. During mental health treatment as well as in everyday life, I have often focused on what is “wrong” and how I can fix it. That has made me feel like I have to work more on “damage control” rather than remembering my positive personality traits and attributes and using them to my advantage. Again, I think we all need to learn to give ourselves a little more credit, so the spin with positive psychology doesn’t seem cheesy or fake to me; it just makes sense.

I think a central theme of this course might be how, with mental health, what we can control versus what we cannot is not the black-and-white dichotomy we often think it is. While genetics and heredity are out of our control, we can control our environments to some extent, and we can certainly alter our outlook and perspective. Meditating for a few minutes in the morning can help a person be more present for their day. Prioritizing sleep over watching another episode of a show we like can make a difference in how we respond to stimuli the next day. I don’t think we can force feed ourselves positivity and just expect things to change, but I do think we can be aware of our habits and inclinations and do a few things each day to make the inside of our heads a more pleasant place to be.

[Image source: “SlideShare: Mental Health in Law School.” ABA for Law Students. ABA for Law Students, 29 Mar. 2016. Web. 12 Feb. 2017.]

Pathway to Happiness

Everyone deserves happiness. About four years ago I fell into a deep depression after dealing with a series of unfortunate events  that happened in my life.  At the time I felt as though I knew what was going on with me yet I was still in denial about it given my  happy-go-lucky personality; I was having a battle with my inner self and it only battered my soul. As a 19 year old not having prior knowledge or knowing anyone suffering with depression I felt alone, withdrawn, and my confidence was low. As a result my behavior began to become self destructive and I knew I needed help. luckily with time patience, resources and good people I was able to turn my life around for the better

My story, and many stories just like mine are at times difficult to hear and  to realize that these events happen to people who suffer everyday can be debilitating. Also, in a generation where a country like the United States can be thriving economically yet more people having been diagnosed with depression in recent years goes to show that there is still lurking variable not being accounted for that needs addressing.

However, cures such as positive psychology, which emphasizes the positives in one’s life as well as encouraging one to be positively active in the community, really sheds a bright light in psychology and the science of happiness. Doing activities such as thinking of three good things that happened during the day and becoming conscience about why they made you happy, or performing random acts of kindness can go a long way and can enhance one’s self esteem and how positive they feel about themselves.

Also the aid and medication given to patients suffering from depression needs to improve. In the reading by Michael Gross, he found in a study in Germany that patients with mild depression are more readily medicated and that three-quarters of patients with more serious cases of depression don’t get the problem assistance that they need. Instead of making money off of the increase trend of depressive patients and the vagueness of the DSM-5 definition of depression, psychiatrist need to be more well informed about who needs what that way there can perhaps be a reduction in the amount of patients that are depressed.

Hopefully, with these amends, more people can find the pathway to happiness and feel better about themselves. More people in the world need to be higher on the flourishing scale and not high in the languishing scale because in the end we all deserve happiness.


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The First Four Weeks

The First Four Weeks

So far, this course has truly taught me how to become more mindful and aware of the steps I can take to improve my happiness. We began the semester by finding where we each fall on the Keyes flourishing scale. This scale helps one determine the state of their mental health. Keyes uses the word “flourishing” to describe mentally healthy adults and the word “languishing” to describe no presence of a mental illness. I think it was a great way to begin the semester because this allowed us to know where we stand before learning content that can help us improve.


It was surprising to me to learn that genetics play a big role when it comes to happiness (50%). This surprised me because I have always heard different things due to the nature vs. nurture argument. It was also surprising to learn how common disorders such as anxiety and depression are. Both anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability and can vary in severity. There are different forms of anxiety such as OCD and certain phobias.


A way people can improve their mental health is through positive psychology. Positive psychology uses understanding and appropriate aid to achieve a satisfactory life. Some way people can practice positive psychology is through an act of kindness, practicing optimism, and meditating on positive feelings.


The exercise I have found the most beneficial in my life is the three good things assignment. By completing this assignment, I realized that I spend a good majority of my time focusing on the negative things that happen each day rather than the positives. I also noticed that by physically writing down all of the good things, I am much more happy! This is an exercise I will continue to use and encourage others to use because I believe if we simply focused on the positives, the world would be a much better place. Another practice I have enjoyed in mindfulness. I have found myself stopping, breathing, and taking in that moment. I have found that afterwards, I have a much more peaceful feeling. I have recommended mindfulness practices to struggling peers and have heard positive feedback!

Overall, I have learned so much in this course. The topics we have covered all connect because they contain information that helps us to understand as well as improve our mental health. They also differ because some are specific to certain types of mental health.


The First Four Weeks

So far, this course has truly taught me how to become more mindful and aware of the steps I can take to improve my happiness. We began the semester by finding where we each fall on the Keyes flourishing scale. This scale helps one determine the state of their mental health. Keyes uses the word “flourishing” to describe mentally healthy adults and the word “languishing” to describe no presence of a mental illness. I think it was a great way to begin the semester because this allowed us to know where we stand before learning content that can help us improve.


It was surprising to me to learn that genetics play a big role when it comes to happiness (50%). This surprised me because I have always heard different things due to the nature vs. nurture argument. It was also surprising to learn how common disorders such as anxiety and depression are. Both anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability and can vary in severity. There are different forms of anxiety such as OCD and certain phobias.


A way people can improve their mental health is through positive psychology. Positive psychology uses understanding and appropriate aid to achieve a satisfactory life. Some way people can practice positive psychology is through an act of kindness, practicing optimism, and meditating on positive feelings.


The exercise I have found the most beneficial in my life is the three good things assignment. By completing this assignment, I realized that I spend a good majority of my time focusing on the negative things that happen each day rather than the positives. I also noticed that by physically writing down all of the good things, I am much more happy! This is an exercise I will continue to use and encourage others to use because I believe if we simply focused on the positives, the world would be a much better place. Another practice I have enjoyed in mindfulness. I have found myself stopping, breathing, and taking in that moment. I have found that afterwards, I have a much more peaceful feeling. I have recommended mindfulness practices to struggling peers and have heard positive feedback!

Overall, I have learned so much in this course. The topics we have covered all connect because they contain information that helps us to understand as well as improve our mental health. They also differ because some are specific to certain types of mental health.



First Four Weeks

How can I achieve happiness in this world full of struggles,daily hassles, and unfair trials.  The Science of Happiness is something that is new on the market seeking to help individuals find their rightful place within themselves. Happiness can be found anywhere whether it is through mindfulness, music, writing in  an journal, or even doing yoga. Also, happiness can also be fulfilled by helping other individuals around you; to fill the void of sadness or emptiness. The Key’s Model of Mental Health is a great self assessment to see where your happiness is on the average scale. The scale depicts whether an individual is flourishing or languishing in a sense. These words coincide for how good we feel about our lives, or how we are functioning in life .

Additionally, it is surprising that our genetics can effect our emotions or mental health. Genetics has a huge impact on how we are mentally stable as well as our environment. Mental illnesses can be passed down from generation to generation, but they can be prevented through psychological help and a healthy lifestyle. Anxiety, depression, bipolar one, or bipolar two disorder can be genetically passed down . Also the debate between nature and nurture comes into play. Our outside life or home environment can influence us in a positive way or a negative way.

However, positive psychology can be used as a second win. Positive psychology is there to turn all of the negative intellectual thoughts into good ones. The acronym P.E.R.M.A., is an process to increase flourishing and well being. Positive psychology can decrease anxiety, depression, and stress. Positive psychology, a good environment, and a self authorized plan can increase individual happiness.


Making Connections #1

Making Connections #1



Take a moment and Imagine if you lived in a flavorless, colorless world. All your life you have only read about the world with both color and flavor but never had the chance to actually live there. Then, one day color was introduced into your life. Would you not want to go the extra mile and have a life of flavor also? This is how a positive psychologist thinks!
It is not enough to be in absence of a mental illness, but one must be able to overcome it to then reach mental health. “Umm Mental health” you may be wondering?  Mental health is simply a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being. Individuals may believe they are mentally healthy because of their lack of a mental illness, however having a negative mindset, and or the absence of mindfulness and emotional wellbeing also constitutes as not being mentally healthy. In order to measure an individual’s well-being in terms of mental illness, languishing and flourishing a scale called the Keys model of complete mental health was constructed.  This scale helps measure which state of mental health one resides in. Individuals who are considered Flourishing tend to be happier, more fulfilled, and are functioning well both individually and in society. Individuals who are languishing have no presence of mental illness but have a life characterized by the lack of interest, apathy, and listlessness. Lastly, those deemed to have a mental illness such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression tend to require some form of medication, therapy and have more negative views of life.

What can cause a mental illness? According to Lyubomirsky, Sheldon and Schkade  Genetics contribute to about 50% of  mental health, 40% intentional activities, and 10% context ( twin studies, results may vary). Certain disorders such as schizophrenia, bulimia, and depression all vary in the amounts of genetic influence they have on an individual but ultimately genetics do not guarantee that one will obtain such illnesses.

What Have I learned that surprised me the most? From the various presentations and readings what I found most interesting was the statistics and graphs that showed how much genetics had on an individuals personality. I always believed ones personality was based mainly on their social interactions and from watching their parents. Also, I was intrigued to find out the motives behind positive psychology. Because, personally I enjoy motivational quotes and speeches that encourage people to want to be better. So in hearing that positive psychologists aspire to do what I love, only made me appreciate the science of happiness more.

What was my favorite activity so far? Being able to sit down before every class and take a moment to just breath and meditate by far has been my favorite activity in this class. However, competing for first is the 3 positive thoughts journal that we had to write in week 3. I enjoyed these because, as I have previously stated I love positivity and motivation so meditating before class helps me wash away all of the negative thoughts I may be having before indulging in my work. With that, being able to think back and reflect on the little positive events that happen throughout my day only amplifies my appreciation I have for my life, and those who are in it.


  • “How to Motivate a Language Student in the EFL Classroom.” My English Language. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2017.