Flow

Hey everybody!  

Over the Summer I stayed very busy as an Orientation Leader for NC State and am currently applying to graduate school to pursue my Ph.D!  While things have been hectic I am hopeful that I am getting my schedule sorted out to the point where I can post more frequently again! :)

So I'm currently taking a course titled "Positive Psychology" that discusses research regarding positivity and how we can better equip ourselves with tools to create a better subjective well-being.  One of the most interesting topics of discussion is "flow", and its role in our daily lives.

Flow - The pleasurable experience resulting from engagement in an interesting activity that properly matches or challenges a person's skills and abilities.  (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990)

This is the zone.  The point where everything around you goes away and you are hyper-attentive to the situation you are pursuing.  While most of us have had this experience and know what can create these feelings, there is certainly an element of preparation we can do to maximize what activities we occupy our time with.  

We were shown this interesting chart which outlines some different feeling's criteria.  If you're skill level is significantly higher than the challenge level then you may create boredom.  Inversely, if the challenge level trumps the skill level by a significant margin the result may be anxiety.  Finding the balance while pushing ourselves to take on challenges as we develop creates that feeling of flow, and while it may be hard to anticipate the exact moments where we find ourselves in this zone - we can certainly set the circumstances up in such a way that encourages these experiences.  

I honestly cannot thank you all enough for sticking with the website.  Seeing people wearing APT T-shirts and spreading good feelings makes me so happy!  I am aiming to put out a new fundraiser in the next couple of weeks that will hopefully contribute more money to research, and I will certainly keep updates rolling!

Enjoy your week and Ill talk to you all soon! :)

Much Love <3,

-Austin

 

Summer!

Hey everyone!

So today I wanted to talk about my best friend, Summer! 

If you know me then you've definitely heard me talk about my dog.  She is a 4 year old golden doodle, and besides being incredibly cute, she has also helped me maintain a positive attitude!  I was in high school when we first got Summer, and during my senior year I had a little bit of trouble with depression and anxiety.  We were still crate training her at this time, but during the night time if I ever had trouble going to sleep I would go lay down next to Summer's crate and it really helped having a friend to be with!  Whenever I would come home from school even if I was having a rough day my dog was always excited to see me, and the happiness that I saw in my dog made me more optimistic.  

I'm not really sure if dogs know how much they help humans, but the amount of joy and stress-relief that they provide to those around them makes me very appreciate that I've been able to have Summer the past 4 years, and years to come.

The takeaway from this is that I believe its very important to really appreciate the things that bring us comfort and happiness, because always having something to fallback on makes the tough times easier!  Even if you are really struggling, try to find the thing that makes you smile and hold on to that.  In my case, thats my best buddy Summer! 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend :)

-Austin

Positive Influence

Hey everybody!  

I Hope that you are all doing wonderful, and enjoying the holidays. :)

With 2015 coming to a close I wanted to conclude the year with a post about my main goal for 2016!  I have a lot of plans for the upcoming year in regards to this website, school, hobbies, etc, but the main thing that I want to improve on from a positivity standpoint is evaluating how I am affecting the people that I come into contact with.  I want to put myself in other people's shoes and think about if I am having a positive impact on their life.

We often gauge our influence on others by the reactions that we get while we are actively with them, or speaking to them.  I believe that it is also important to realistically think about how we shape others when we are away from them.  How are we impacting the emotions or attitude of those that are in our life, and is that impact favorable and encouraging?  It can be easy to overlook the small gestures that help the people in our lives, but the simple things such as checking in and letting somebody know that you care can be a huge assistance.  

Look at your behavior through a mirror, and try to view it from the other side.  One of my biggest life goals is to treat others the way that I would like to be treated, and while I feel like I try to act upon that idea, I can always do better and strive to have a more positive influence on others.  I am a strong believer that we should tell people how we feel about them and say what we have to say while we have the opportunity, because you never really know how long you will have with the people in your life!

I started this program in September and honestly can't believe how many visits this website gets, and concluding the year sending in a 300$ check to support mental health research was truly an amazing accomplishment.  Thank you all so much for the support, I really appreciate it!

I am incredibly excited for what is to come in 2016, and I hope you all have a wonderful ending to 2015! :)

Much Love!

-Austin

 

Merry Christmas! Fundraising Update!

Merry Christmas everybody! :)

I hope y'all are having a great week, and a wonderful December!

In November I was given the opportunity to fundraise alongside the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, and I am extremely excited to announce how things went!  

After selling the APT T-Shirts for a month and a half I am incredibly happy to say that I will be sending in a check to BBRF for 300$!  This money goes towards research about various mental illnesses, and I am incredibly thankful for all of the support.  Contributing to this type of organization and working to help those with depression, anxiety, etc... makes me incredibly happy.  

When I started this non-profit I really wasn't sure what to expect.  I had an idea of my mission, and APT has honestly grown into something that I am incredibly proud of, and will continue with hopes of helping those who need some positive words in their life.  

There will be a new blog out tomorrow, but I wanted to keep you guys updated on how the first fundraiser was going!  I am so excited for the future of this project, and I sincerely appreciate all of the support! :)

Much love,

-Austin

 

 

 

Giving!

I hope everybody is having a wonderful December! :)

Today I wanted to let you guys know what I have been up to for the holidays, and a few things that I've done to try and help others during this stressful time of year.  I wanted to attempt and brighten some peoples days with spontaneous presents, and even if I never see them again I hopefully had a positive impact on their life!

If you know me than you probably know that I have a dog named Summer.  She is my best friend and has been an absolute savior when I am having rough times in my life.  Summer loves NC State, so I decided to bring her to the main area of campus for the afternoon to help destress some of the kids taking exams!  

We spent an hour in the afternoon talking to people about how their tests were going, and allowing people to pet my dog and get some puppy love.  Hearing people say that it really brightened their day and made them less stressed before their exam was a very wonderful feeling! :)

The second thing that I did was a little secret santa activity that I saw on a video!  I split 50 dollars up into 10 5s, and I put them in envelopes with a little note.  I walked around campus and gave these to 10 people I had never met before, and may never see again.  Seeing the reactions was certainly fun, and I felt like this was a great way to randomly impact somebody positively.  50 dollars is a lot of money to me, and I was thinking of a way that I could use it to help as many people as possible, and this seemed like a great idea!

The holiday season can come with a lot of expectations regarding gifts.  I thought that the most genuine way to give this season was to help individuals that I didn't know personally, and try to spread some happy feelings! :)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

 

Listening

I hope everybody had a great thanksgiving break!

Today I wanted to write about a very important skill that we can all improve on.  Listening and being an active listener to the people in our life can help us develop the ability to help others when they may be struggling.  

The type of listening that I want to encourage involves being extremely attentive towards the situation being portrayed.  Simply allowing a friend to speak about a problem will be a large step in the right direction, as turning thoughts into words can change their perspective on a dilemma. I believe, however, that going further and genuinely trying to be empathetic can play a huge role in working with somebody who is feeling down.  

Loneliness can produce a depressed feeling, and attempting to make the thoughts that people are struggling with seem less unusual can definitely help spread positivity. 

Some things to try...

  1. Always check to see if people are okay.  Sometimes simply knowing that others care about your well-being can create happiness, and possibly encourage finding more help if they need it.
  2. Respond to what is being said.  Body language and speaking compasionately can really help decrease an individuals feeling of solitude, and boost their confidence to share their feelings.
  3. Be the friend that you would want.  Treating others the way that you want to be treated is always an extremely applicable phrase, so do your best to help others when they need it.

Have a great rest of the week :)

Much love!

The Circle of Happiness

Happy Sunday! :)

Last week I was in a discussion group with a guest therapist from the NC State counseling center, and he talked about how being in his position of helping was a type of therapy for him as an individual.  This had me really thinking about the amazing benefits that spreading positivity and happiness can bring to everybody involved.

When working with somebody else who needs help you are seeing them in a very vulnerable state.  Some are more open to receiving assistance than others, but when working with individuals who feel helpless, I think it is a wonderful idea to try and be the person that you would want helping you.  Not only does this aid the person who needs help feel better, but it can also benefit the person spreading happiness!  Being a positive influence on a somebody's life is definitely a reason to feel joyful.  Contributing to the world in a supportive way increases the chances that these good feelings will be paid forward and spread around.  

I also believe that working with others can really benefit ourselves when we have times when we aren't feeling the best.  Having experiences with people who need help can give us important tools that we can use when we need extra motivation to pick ourselves up if we feel down.  I like to think that positive behavior comes back around, so if you see somebody in a vulnerable place I definitely encourage attempting to put yourself in their position, and help them find happiness! :)

Have a wonderful weekend!! 

 

 

Past Decisions

 

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Something that I have been thinking a lot about is past decisions and how we view them as positive or negative.  Too often we look back at something we decided to not participate in with only disappointment, but I believe it is more proactive to look at what we did accomplish during that time. 

There are always opportunities that we are going to miss.  It is obviously great to maximize the amount of wonderful experiences we can receive, however, if you look at past times and wish you would have done something differently, try to not dwell on what you bypassed, but focus on what you did obtain during that time.  For every occasion that we miss, there is an event that are participating in.  If we make a bad choice that leads us to feel we could have done better with our decision making then that is definitely a learning lesson to grow from.  

Making commitments is simply a difficult part of life.  We have so many unique events that are available to us each and every day, and sometimes it can be hard to tell which one will be optimal for us.  It is difficult to decide what will be the most advantageous before we make a decision, but it can be equally daunting when we evaluate our choices and ask ourselves "did I make the right call?".  The fact of the matter is that we can't change the past, so don't think "I should have done this", but instead "I learned from the experience that I did choose".

Evaluating previous choices and being critical can be extremely useful, but don't overthink, and simply take the best out of what happened!

Have a wonderful week! :)

Learning Experiences

I hope you are all having a great week!

I think that one of the most influential factors on our attitude in the present is how we reflect on the past.  We hear the phrase "live and learn", but I think we can expand on that and benefit from evaluation of previous behavior.  

When we look into past we need to keep a few things in mind.  

  1. We might not remember the full situation and change some details.  The memory is subject to human error.
  2. Your circumstances may have changed.  Its common to look back and wonder why you ever performed some action, dressed a particular way, etc.  Think about how your lifestyle was during that time period and evaluate the situation.
  3. You can't change the past, but you can learn from it and use those lessons to impact the future.  

Looking at past experiences and knowing you could or should have done something differently can definitely have a strong impact on our mental state.  Regret is an extremely powerful feeling, however, it is possible to turn these negative feelings into a positive outlook to towards the future.  It is not unlikely that past experiences will repeat themselves in some way or another, and when you encounter a situation that is similar to something that happened in the past you will be much more prepared to deal with it!  Your own past experiences can be one of the best references for handling the future.

If you have memories that you aren't happy about, do not dwell on what happened, but use them as tools to deal with the times to come.  Don't try to fight the past.  Learn, move on, and be positive towards the future!

Have an amazing day! :)

 

 

 

Helping Others

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!

In my previous posts I have talked about how important I believe it is to spread positivity to others.  One of the most difficult tasks that anyone can face, however, is trying to spread joyfulness to individuals that are having a difficult time in their current situation.  

I discussed how isolating the mind can make us feel when we get locked into a negative mindset. The incredible volume of functions that our brain participates in can be overwhelming, especially when we find ourselves dialed into adverse situations that can be caused from stress, social pressure, etc.  

When we see other people struggling to find positivity I believe that the best thing we can do is be empathetic.  When I find myself in situations of doubt, hearing comments such as "you'll get over it", can almost make the feeling even more detached, because it seems nobody really understands.  We all have worse days than others, and instead of trying to completely forget about the bad days, use them as references to empathize with others when you see them having a hard time.  

Spreading feelings of positivity can come not only from a joyful attitude, but also from letting people know that they aren't isolated in their feelings of doubt or sadness.  

Have a great rest of the weekend :)

Fundraising Partnership With Brain and Behavior Research Foundation

I am extremely excited to say that I have been able to team up with the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation to raise funds towards battling mental illness!

The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation has awarded over 340 million dollars to scientists around the world since 1987.  I am so happy to be able to work with this organization, and contribute to their available resources in order to benefit mental health research.  

The first fundraiser I will be doing is going to be a T-Shirt fundraiser, and you can see the pictures by clicking on the fundraisers tab!  ALL proceeds will go to the BBRF!

Thank you so much for supporting this website, and helping to spread positivity! :)

Much love,

-Austn

Spread Positivity!

Happy Monday! :)

I am so excited to have this website up and running.  I wanted the very first post on this website to be about something that I think we could all use more of on a Monday, and that is spreading positivity.

Being happy as an individual is so incredibly important.  We feel motivated, determined, and ready to take on the day's challenges.  I believe, however, that one of the best things you can do with happiness and positivity is spread it around to others!  

One of the most important things that I feel like I have learned throughout my nearly 21 years on this earth is that having a positive effect on somebody else's day is not as difficult as you might think.  We sometimes get caught up talking about the actions that require time and money such as taking somebody out to dinner, buying them a gift, etc... as the main source of happiness.  Those are extremely nice things to do for somebody, but on a daily basis you can spread positivity and good feelings by simply giving a compliment.  Some of the best feelings I get are when somebody says something nice about what I'm wearing, or simply asks how my day is going.  I think that the small things are some of the most meaningful, because they show that a person is going that extra distance to spread happiness to somebody else's life, and they might in turn pay that forward.  

The gestures that might seem unimporatnt can have a huge impact on somebody's life, so I encourage you today to spread some positivity!  If you see somebody and you like their shoes, shirt, sunglasses, etc... let them know!  You might make some new friends along the way.  Who doesn't like getting compliments? :)

Have a wonderful day, and thanks so much for checking out the page!

Much love! :)