University of South Florida Alternative Self Improvement Project Discussion Hello,
The Alternative (Group/Partner) Self-Improvement Project will no longer be a Group Project – but will be a Project the Student completes with the encouragement and support of their Ally.
This Paper will be very informal. For the Group Project, students will extend the self-improvement strategy for an additional two weeks. In view of the required social distancing/isolation – you are going to select an Accountable Ally from your Group. As Allies, you and your partner will reach out and contact each other (phone, text, social app…) at least three times each week. Each of you will update and encourage one another. The GOAL IS NOT to finish the best or better than another student – but to offer (and receive) SOCIAL SUPPORT to determine if this impacts the outcome of your self-improvement strategy. Your self-improvement strategies do not need to be similar to your Ally’s.
Students will only annotate the Methods Section if the Methods have changed. The student will describe the Methods in detail. If there is no change to the Methods (beyond the addition of the Ally) the student may disregard this section.
Students will submit a Day 1 – Day 14 of the additional days of their self-improvement strategy. I
Students will annotate the days they interacted with their Ally. ( you can say via text messages and made up the dates between last week and this week) My ally called Lashauna Geffrard.
Students will annotate their Happiness/Well-Being Scale.
There must be a Post-Intervention Scale. Students may use the initial scale from the Self-Improvement Assignment ( I attached it) as the Pre-Intervention Baseline.
Students will discuss the changes (if any) in the Happiness /Well-Being Scale. Students will also discuss their overall feelings about the intervention AND the socialization Component.
There is no format other than what is stated above.
There are no references required
There is no page length requirement but the paper will be detailed and clearly written.
My self-improvement strategy will be to meet my financial/reading goals of this semester ( I completed book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell in these two weeks and I met my financial goal by eating at home). This will help in increasing my self-esteem as well as my happiness level of accomplishment. I am ally with Lashauna Geffrard because my self-improvement strategy related to productivity just like hers. Running head: META-REFLECTION
University of South Florida
22 April 2020
I engaged in several activities, but dancing and reading books are the activities that had
tremendous impact on my life. Dancing provided an opportunity to learn and appreciate
diversity. Dancing sessions provided a platform to interact with people I had not met before,
some, including the instructor, from cultures that are different from mine. The dancing styles
which blended moves from diverse cultures helped me to understand and appreciate that each
culture has a lot to offer in the art domain. Dancing was fun and thrilling, such that I found
myself wanting to learn and do more. The semester coincided with a period when I had been
experiencing anxiety and stress due to some personal challenges. I found dancing to be my new
way to release my emotional anxiety. Combined with serene music, dancing alone in my
apartment had a magical way of drowning my negative emotions, and this would give me the
incentive to seek answers to the challenges that I was facing and bring back good memories that
I thought had faded. I can say that I have since taken dancing to be a routine private activity. At a
time like this when “stay at home, be safe” is the clarion call, dancing is my new way to
workout. All I need is myself, no hassle of going to the gym or buying work out equipment.
Reading books, especially non-fiction ones, was quite interesting. The activity helped me to
edify my mind and expand my thoughts on the world view on different issues. Since I started
reading beyond my course books, I have found myself making better arguments and being more
eloquent in different forums. This has greatly helped to boost my confidence and self-esteem.
There is nothing more embarrassing that making half-baked arguments of opting to remain
silence when you do not have to. I plan to ingrain a reading culture in my day to day life.
The self-improvement projects came with abundant learning opportunities. For the past
one year before the semester commenced, I was battling struggles with identity, personality, and
queries about what my life will turn out to be as years speed fast. On many occasions, I looked
back and saw wrong decisions that were made, decisions that were never made, decisions that
could have been made better, and myriad lost opportunities. This reflection took a toll on my
psychological health. I could not concentrate on my studies and my performance was dwindling.
I was also over-reactive and easily irritated. My WHO-5 Questionnaire score was terribly low at
16 percent. A friend and my sister helped me to seek help from a life coach who taught me the
art of mindfulness. This is the greatest thing I learned from the self-improvement projects. I
realized that lack of mindfulness was part of the reasons I had made some wrong decisions in the
past, the reason I run into perpetual conflicts with those I disagreed with or those who slightly
provoked me, and the reason I was finding it hard to concentrate and pursue one thought at a
time to a logical conclusion. The life coach and I worked jointly to devise a mechanism that
could improve my mindfulness, that is, being aware of where I am and what I am doing at any
given time and be able to naturally avoid being over-reactive or overwhelmed by what happens
around me. I learned that by bringing awareness to whatever I am doing or experiencing directly
through my senses, or to my psychological state through thoughts and emotions, I could judge
situations better and make decisions that I was unlikely to regret over later.
Yes, my overall happiness has changed this semester. While I did not expect learning
delivered in the traditional way to have any significant impact on my life as far as happiness is
concerned, other than acquisition of new knowledge and drawing me closer to completing
school, the recommended happiness activities had an incredible effect on my happiness. I chose
the activities that I ultimately enjoyed; especially dancing, and the happiness experienced the
first time I undertook the activities has been sustained to date. I know this because my anxiety
has eased, and anytime I think it is crippling back, listening to some classic or country tunes
through my iPad or PC gives me an amazing relief. I also feel more inspired to go out or make
calls to catch up with friends and family since I decided not to let worry and anxiety inhibit me
from doing the little things that make life interesting. The counseling session I took with the life
coach helped me to change my perception about life. Life is to be enjoyed regardless of the
challenges inherent in it. Meditating, finding and doing things that make me happy, cultivating
resilience in times of adversity and appreciating what I have transformed me into a happier
person than ever before.
I also had the opportunity to take a test to help me to better understand what my
character strengths, what makes me happy, and visualize how my future life will be as a continue
holding the determination to be happy every single day. My salient characters are curiosity,
creativity and, fairness. The test results were surprising because I could definitely tell that I relate
perfectly well with each of the three strengths. I get restless whenever I have a pending question
about anything and like discovering new experiences (curiosity). I like seeking novel solutions to
everything. I also have a penchant for art (creativity). Finally, I believe that everyone should be
accorded equal opportunity and their dignity as people preserved at all times, no matter who they
are. I believe that justice for all is the most important fabric binds and defines a good society.
These beliefs exhibit fairness as one of my character strengths. I am happy to let these characters
define me, and no matter the course that my life takes in the coming years, I will be happy to
know that I will always carry them with me.
Well- being Assessment
University of South Florida
17 February 2020
Initially, I thought that going to school is all about striving to achieve academic
excellence. The life coach in the wellness center at USF made me realize that school is more than
just achieving academic success, and this changed my life. Recently, I have been having trouble
concentrating on my studies, often stressed, overreact to everything and spend much time
indulging in negativity, which has seen my performance drop gradually. The weird feelings,
behaviors, and practices drove me to take the WHO-5 Questionnaire and scored sixteen out of
one hundred. Zero in this test implies the worst imaginable wellbeing, and one hundred is the
best imaginable wellbeing (Bravo, Pearson & Kelley, 2018). My friends recognized this, became
concerned and advised me to see the consular center as well as the wellness center, who I visited
recently to their offices for a talk. However, I could not spot where the problem was and thought
it was something seasonal that would go away after a short while, even after numerous talks with
the life coach. Also, I am someone who does not open up easily unless to my sister. I am
intranational students that this made it hard to contact with my sister as I used to.
These weird practices, behaviors, and feelings that I thought were normal were hurting me
day by day and showed no signs of going away. My performance, concentration, quality
physical, social, and emotional life started deteriorating rapidly as my overreactions and weird
I hardly interacted with most classmates and had specific students who I believed
understood me because they could tolerate my overreactions and sometimes odd behaviors.
Additionally, I was losing weight and becoming more miserable. My friend noticed something
was not well with me.
One day after having dinner, my sister invited me to have a talk. My friend had contacted
her after trying to find what was draining me every day, affecting my performance and
interactions with students and teachers in vain. We had a long talk where I opened up about my
weird feeling and behaviors to my sister, who happens to be the most understanding person I
know. she understood my problem and, after a day, made an arrangement with the Wellbeing
service provider nearby for support. I had several sessions with the life coach and realized myself
and my problem. I was making decisions and acting without a second thought that led to
overreaction, weird behaviors, the negativity that had occupied a more significant part of me and
was seriously affecting my stay at school, all aspects of my life, as well as my performance.
The life coach made me understand a few and more essential things that I did not know. He told
me that school should help me be more resilient and connected with people from every sphere
with various characteristics (Gao et al., 2016). A student experiences much in school, which can
profoundly impact life in multiple ways and help achieve academic success and aspirations.
Thus, I need to be happy, kind, healthy, satisfied, and the like. Overall, I need to value my
The wellbeing service provider described wellbeing as overall development and growth
and quality of life, which encompasses all aspects of life, including interactions and decision
making (Ramler et al., 2016). School life, therefore, should help me build my skills and attribute
for wellbeing, which will ultimately impact my academic performance positively. He further
stated that I need to practice mindfulness and incorporate it into my daily activities and decision
to improve my wellbeing and academic achievement. Mindfulness will allow me to visualize my
life in a more relaxed manner and help recognize positive aspects of my life, which promotes
positivity (Kerrigan et al., 2017). It helps manage stress and helps avoid acting out and generally
stretches beyond the classroom. It will positively impact my social, physical, emotional, and
Studies show that mindfulness helps students to take a moment to process their feelings,
thoughts, and anticipated actions and reactions, which lead to thoughtful actions and reactions as
well as behaviors and practices (Zimmaro et al., 2016). This is what was lacking in me. It also
decreased anxiety and increases cognitive functioning. My goals are to be stress-free and to
manage stress and anxiety adequately. Also, I want to be positive in all aspects, initiate and
maintain positive interactions, have thoughtful actions, improve my cognitive functioning and
academic success. Generally, my broad objective is to achieve the highest imaginable wellbeing.
I hypothesize that mindfulness will reduce my stress and allow me to process my feelings,
behaviors, actions, and reactions. Besides, it will impact my social life and emotional life
positively and help me interact well with fellow students and teachers to get the best from
school. Lastly, mindfulness will increase my cognitive functioning and will improve my
I understand that mindfulness is about noticing and tolerating my body experiences other
than struggling to stop them immediately. I discussed with my life coach and jointly identified
the procedure and techniques I will use to change to a better and healthy life and incorporate
mindfulness in my every activity and action. Firstly, I will always take a few deep breaths
whenever I feel stressed or disturbed. The slow deep breaths will help me avoid panics,
impulsive reactions and calm me whenever I feel overwhelmed by emotions (Bravo, Pearson &
Kelley, 2018). Also, this will have a positive impact on my mindset, which has well contributed
to my detrimental behaviors, feelings, and overreactions.
Secondly, I will stop and think. I will often give myself a moment (pause) to think before
reacting to challenging and tricky situations, behaviors, or questions (Gao et al., 2016). Also, I
will reply, ‘I need to think about it first and get back to you as soon as possible, possibly after an
hour or give a date and time’ when I cannot get an immediate response to such tricky situations,
behaviors, and questions. According to Fredrickson et al. (2017), this will give me time to
respond thoughtfully without overreacting to situations. I will practice this not only in oral
conversation but also in written communications such as emails, texting, as well as phone calls.
Thirdly, I will often stay grounded. I will focus on the physical sensation of my feet on the
ground whenever I feel stressed out and imagine having certain roots coming out of my feet that
are grounding me to the floor. Wielgosz et al., 2019 shows that this brings a sense of calm and
control, like in the case of a strong and immovable tree that withstand a strong storm. Stress
overloads us and makes us feel like a computer running excess apps at once. This practice will
help me pair my focus, clear my mind, and utilize my clarity to make thoughtful decisions
(Ramler et al., 2016).
Fourthly, whenever I have a break from day’s activity, I will be taking a glass of water. I
will focus on the sensation of the water, hitting my lips, and going down my gut as I swallow it
(Ramler et al., 2016). This will divert my attention from one emotional sensation to the other,
help my body relax, get on with day’s activity, and have a more positive mindset. Fifthly, I will
often say positive affirmation in my thought, such as ‘I am very kind and compassionate to
myself and others, especially anytime I feel emotionally down. Continuous internalization of
these different thoughts and statements about myself and surrounding will make them true in my
mind and stick (Kerrigan et al., 2017). Such perceptions may be an excellent positive lens to see
opportunities, actions, and reactions and promote positivity in my life.
Lastly, I will always keep a gratitude journal. I will write down situations and actions that
I am grateful for. For instance, ‘I made the right decision not to react to John’s comment
immediately.’ Studies scientifically prove that cultivating gratitude improves one’s interaction,
relations, esteem, mental strength, health, relationship, and compassion (Zimmaro et al., 2016). I
will measure change through comments from others, such as fellow students and teachers. Also,
I will use the WHO-5 Wellbeing index to measure the change, and if I achieve a score above 90,
I will be sure that the change is effective.
My biggest problems were overreactions, negativity, constant stress, negative social
interactions with friends, and drastic change in performance. I can openly report a substantial
positivity in all these areas. As I had stated earlier, keeping a gratitude journal was one of my
techniques to implement the change. I have noticed that currently, I experience more positive
things. I have made many friends now, and my positive interactions with both teachers and
fellow students have increased. Also, I no longer react to situations as I used to do. Currently, I
often take a moment to think about it if I feel unprepared to respond, which has earned me more
respect both in school and outside — everyone comment positively about my positive and
change. I have also changed and still in the process of helping some former rude students,
something that I could not do before.
I have never been involved in any conflict since I began practicing and incorporating
mindfulness into my daily activities, which everyone applauds. Stressing, negativity, and anxiety
used to consume much of my time. Currently, deep breaths and other techniques that I use keep
me thinking of the positive moments that I got no time for negativity. I always anticipate good
things that anxiety has not time to consume my time. My journal is filled with happy things that
motivate me whenever I go through them and reminds me of my strengths and potentials. My
performance has improved, and I have been achieving greater academic success than before.
Indeed, wellbeing the foundation for more exceptional academic achievements and
accomplishing aspirations. Lastly, the many positive comments from fellow students, teachers,
and others give about my positive behaviors, and change makes me feel that I have made
All my hypotheses have been confirmed. Mindfulness has changed my life, health, and
perceptions of things. I am a new and thoughtful person who can think before acting and remain
positive even when things become tough. I am living testimony that all positive research about
mindfulness among students is helpful and can positively change every aspect of their lives as
well as academic achievements. The results I have achieved are consistent and prove most of the
previously conducted studies, and I am happy. I have learned that self-change requires one first
to know themselves and their problems. There are numerous wellbeing service providers,
counselors, and relevant individuals who can help one understand themselves and identify your
issues if you have trouble identifying who you are your problem (Zimmaro et al., 2016). It
becomes easy to plan the road to change and develop techniques as well as how to implement
them once this is successful. Self-change requires greater intrinsic motivation, which drives one
to accomplish all the goals they had made. It also makes one develop a positive mindset which
fuels them throughout their pursuit of wellbeing.
The greatest strength in self-change is the excellent intrinsic motivation (Ramli et al.,
2018). You are already successful in achieving your wellbeing goals and overcoming
weaknesses such as a desire for a former self once you are intrinsically motivated. The most
considerable difficulty in implementing and achieving wellbeing change is the fight against
former likes, blackmails and demotivation, and people not believing you at first. You have to be
prepared to overcome these in your pursuit of success, and they are often so vast and tempting
that without stronger intrinsic motivation, principles, and self-identity, you may fail. All the
techniques seemed easy to implement and very effective. I attribute this to my greater intrinsic
motivation, principles, positive mindset, goal-oriented, and self-identity.
Bravo, A. J., Pearson, M. R., & Kelley, M. L. (2018). Mindfulness and psychological health
outcomes: A latent profile analysis among military personnel and college
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Fredrickson, B. L., Boulton, A. J., Firestine, A. M., Van Cappellen, P., Algoe, S. B., Brantley,
M. M., … & Salzberg, S. (2017). Positive emotion correlates of meditation practice: A
comparison of mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness
meditation. Mindfulness, 8(6), 1623-1633.
Gao, Y., Shi, L., Smith, K. C., Kingree, J. B., & Thompson, M. (2016). Physical aggression and
mindfulness among college students: Evidence from China and the United
States. International journal of environmental research and public health, 13(5), 480.
Kerrigan, D., Chau, V., King, M., Holman, E., Joffe, A., & Sibinga, E. (2017). There is no
performance, there is just this moment: The role of mindfulness instruction in promoting
health and well-being among students at a highly-ranked university in the United
States. Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine, 22(4), 909918.
Ramler, T. R., Tennison, L. R., Lynch, J., & Murphy, P. (2016). Mindfulness and the college
transition: the efficacy of an adapted m…
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