The topics discussed during this semester have all built on top of each other. We have learned skills to help in all areas of our lives. Some of these skills include being mindful, having emotional resilience, being able to identify our strengths and weaknesses, and how to have more positive and meaningful relationships. Learning about how our genes affect our happiness through our attitudes and behaviors in the first part of this class helped open the door to understand how we can control our own happiness based on things that feel out of our hands. After this we learned about other topics that helped teach us how to grow the skills we were learning about like positive psychology, physical wellbeing, social emotional learning, and social wellbeing. We learned about these skills through readings and class lectures. We were then able to practice and put many of these skills into use through homework and own personal experiences. The most meaningful topic to me from this semester was learning about mindfulness and how important it is because a lot of the other skills and coping techniques we learned about would not work as well if a person was not mindful or didn’t know what mindfulness is. Mindfulness, to me, seems like the base building block of all the skills we discussed this semester. I found all the topics interesting and helpful in different ways. Our class discussions were very interesting when people wanted them to be and I felt that as a class we broke down a lot of the stigmas behind harder topics like unhealthy relationships and substance abuse. Overall, my experience of this class was very useful and eye opening in many ways. I found it refreshing to have a class that focused just on how to better one’s life and I feel that everyone at VCU should take this class or that other classes should use some of the information we learn about in their own material in order to benefit the students more.
This class has really helped me form an idea about how to achieve the best life possible. I have made changes already since the beginning of the semester by practicing mindfulness through a few different ways that we learned about in class. I have started doing yoga and pilates as a type of mindful movement and exercise and I also practice mindful breathing exercises every morning to start my day. I have found that doing these simple things every week has significantly improved my mental health and has decreased the stress I feel on a daily basis. I plan on continuing to practice mindfulness in different ways to keep it new and fresh in my life. I think I still struggle with some of the other topics we learned about like having a set sleep schedule and being mindful about when and where I eat my meals. I usually eat while watching TV and I also fall asleep on the couch watching TV before I got to bed so those are both things I need to be more mindful of. Also I feel like I still use my phone more than I should on a daily basis. I plan to work on these by trying to use more of the skills we learned about in class and also by limiting my daily screen time. I think using these skills and working on improving my weaknesses will help control my stress levels as I move into the next stages of my life after graduation. Having these skills in a professional setting will help me stand out and be able to connect and communicate easier because I will not be as stressed in the situation. These skills have and will continue to improve my personal relationships because they have taught me healthier ways to be in those relationships and how to be a more supportive and open person in general.
I have already shared much of what I’ve learned in this class to my family and friends and they have all began to make small changes of their own to help improve their lives. I plan to continue to spread this knowledge to anyone who will listen because I believe the skills we learned about in this class are needed to live a happy life. My goal for the future is to be in the psychology field in some way or another and I know these skills will be helpful for many people I will come into contact with. I am grateful for the information discussed in this class because it confirms much of what I want to do with my life which is helping people find a natural and heathy way to relieve stress and increase quality of life without having to rely on medication.
I chose the image above because I felt that it had a lot of the main topics we discussed this semester in class. This image shows that mental health is not based solely on one aspect of life but on many working together and that having the skills shown in the picture leads to a healthier and happier life.