In the past five weeks, we have learned about social emotional learning, mindfulness, emotional resilience in the digital age, positive relationships, getting to know yourself.On first glance, there may seem to be no connection between social emotional learning and mindfulness, as one is learning how to properly comunicate with the people around you and the other is a practice of being in the present moment, but there definitely is a way to connect both of these topics to one another.
There is a need for the teaching of social emotional learning on college campuses because a lot of us lack those skills, although they are equally as important as any other instruction. Being able to accurately express your emotions is essential to your connections with people. Social and Emotional learning can also help foster positive relationships, another topic of discussion. Both of these topics relate to our discussion on emotional resilience in the digital age, as we need to be sure to strengthen our real-life positive relationships in person using social and emotional learning. A way to strengthen these skills is getting to know yourself and your likelihood of being impulsive, sensitive to anxiety, negative thinking, and sensation-seeking, as we discussed this past week in class. A way to strengthen these skills further (and from within, using what you know about yourself) would be to practice mindfulness, being in the here and now and more aware of your emotions.
In the first few weeks of class, we learned the basic topics (genetic, anxiety and depression, positive psychology, etc) that would later help us relate and understand later topics. For example, in class on Week 8 (as well as the reading on the study conducted examining the connection between depression, anxiety, sleep quality, and smartphone overuse), we learned about how smartphone overuse can affect our wellbeing and mental health. If we had not learned about anxiety and depression, how that relates to genetics and the environment a person is in, and positive psychology methods prior to this discussion, we would not be able to make connections or fully understand the content.
Since the beginning of the class, I’ve learned more about myself and my habits than I’d learned from a lifetime of personailty tests. I have also always struggled with anxiety and depression, so it has been unbelievably helpful to learn more about these disorders and how to help myself. It has given me a lot of hope for the future of my mental health. The tests and surveys, combined with the instruction and elaboration in class, have made me more self-aware than I’ve ever been.
I plan to use my self awareness to better myself through recognising my bad habits and working on replacing them with more healthy and positive ones. I also took a break from technology, spending more time with the people I love in person–inspired by the emotional resilience in the digital age discussion–and have spent more time in nature. This has actually also inspired my final article in journalism in which I am writing about my experience away from technology and in nature for a full 24-hours–something I’ve never done before. I was able to get a lot of fresh air, as well as vitamin D (which helps improve moods/alleviate depression). The trip was great for my soul and applied many of the things I’ve learned in class.
In a way, this technology break was also a practice in mindfullness. I try to spend a few minutes each day reflecting (whether through journaling or just thinking about my actions), which is my hurried verision of mindfulness on a daily-basis. I have also always enjoyed meaningful relationships with people, but through the class, I’ve learned that there is much more I could do to ensure that I am truly investing in positive relationships and doing my part to keep them that way. I have definitely been guilty of acting selfishly when it comes to my relationships when I could have taken an entirely different approach. Recognizing where I have failed (when I didn’t necessarily realize I had to begin with) has been very important and useful to helping me be a better version of myself in the future.