About Me

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I am studying Psychology and Sociology at Utah Valley University, and working at a treatment center for troubled teens. I love life, being with people from all cultures, speaking Spanish, and traveling all over the world. I will never stop laughing, dancing, singing, enjoying, appreciating, and just being.

Friday, August 31, 2012

h a p p y campers :)

I have been loving my positive psychology class and I feel like I have found my new path in psychology.  This study and research and way of life is ME!  I can really identify with it a lot and I have so much interest in it.  I love those moments in life when you truly find out what you love to do and each day of learning and growth is more enjoyable than effort or work to you.  It is discovery and excitement.  It is lighting up a dark room and just filling that amount of dark space with numerous bright and flashing lights that just continue to get brighter and brighter.  It is quite thrilling!  So in this class we have been learning a lot about mental imagery and vision.  This method of thinking teaches us how to not just the "hows" to be happy but also to become successful and achieve the goals and things you want in your life.  Our professor talked about it all starts in the mind and that we literally need to paint a picture or set up a scene in the stage of our thoughts and SEE what we want to be said, thought, felt, and done in specific aspects of our day to day life.  We are the creators of that blank stage in our mind and we are the directors to our own plays in life so it is crucial to first have the vision of the play and then the action can occur.  He related this to the movie "Sherlock Holmes" and how he always played out the scenes in his mind first and then made them happen.  He also gave us a digram from our textbook that proves how much of our happiness and success is actually "in our control".  It states that 50% is set point such as genetics, disorders, etc. that we are just given, 10% is circumstance like where you are living, what country, and who you are with, and 40% is intentional activity which is your attitude and choice.  So we have 40% to deal with and change, adjust, fix so we can become more happy and successful.  How do we do that?  Begin with this mental imagery theory and apply it to anything you are working towards in your life whether that is getting a new job, getting a boyfriend/girlfriend, developing a new skill/hobby, parenting your children, mending a relationship with a friend, etc.  Begin to invasion every word said, emotion felt, the smells, the setting, the mood of each scenario and then go make it happen.  Do this not only once but over and over because it is also proven that "practice/effort and time" make perfect.  

There are also three happiness myths in the book that I think are very valid to acknowledge in life and the twisted perspectives on these, if changed, can alter the way we see, feel, and do things.

1) happiness must be found- stop waiting and looking for an exact definition of happiness in your life and CREATE your own happiness for yourself through things you enjoy and like to read, do, study, and apply.

2)happiness lies in changing our circumstances- stop playing the "victim" and "poor me...my life is hard" card and just embrace who you are, where you are, what you are going through or things that are happening to you, and just LEARN to love and be happy.  you cannot blame anyone or anything that you are not happy and you need to understand that joy and happiness is created within the MIND and soul and once thought out and "rehearsed", things do and will work out.
3) you either have it or you don't-  there is no such thing as some people are happy and some are not and that is just how it is. happiness is a choice and any human being has the ability to change that.  it all comes down to a persons ATTITUDE and not their APTITUDE.  You can choose to be positive or negative and that is the attitude you have and then the emotions that you feel, being happy, sad, hurt, ,oct, worried, confused, troubled, annoyed, upbeat, etc can be felt and processed with whatever attitude you have chosen for yourself.

So at my work we had the opportunity to go on a nature hike as a group and all the staff,girls, and therapists attended.  It was a spiritual and really moving experience as a whole and I think we all got a lot out of it.  Everyone set goals before we went out to hike that made us all invasion our day and experience together and what that would look like to us.  We then did the hike and all laughed, played, conversed, enjoyed, and just did with enthusiasm and positive energy.  Everyone was happy.  We all got in a circle at the end in the woods and linked arms and went around one by one reporting the positive about our experience.  We all were smiling, crying, laughing, and enjoying together in the end and we all created that moment together as a whole. We were the ones that made the choice to have a positive and enjoyable experience and we all did that.  It happened!  A lot of girls and staff were struggling in the house and had their own issues to work out but we all were able to deal with those things in a more positive and happy manner because we all choose to have a positive attitude and picture a good and happy experience occurring.  It works!

I also had the chance to talk with my roommates about this type of thing because they are all girls that have been through some really hard, challenging, upsetting, and unpleasant life obstacles.  As I heard their personal opinions and stories I was stunned and just in awe about how strong and how much power each girl had over her life regardless of the details of what had happened to them.  The all have made the choice to not be the victim and take accountability for the things that have passed, looked at it as a growing/learning experience, and as a new or second chance at life to try things again and do it right.  We all have power and we are all creators to our script.  Shit happens and life is indeed hard but this does not have to mean we then get to through ourselves pitty parties and sit in our crap for the rest of our lives feeling bad for ourselves and everyone thinking life was once pretty but now lost its color.  Life is still bright and exciting and has the potential to fill our souls up with joy but it all begins in our M I N D S and how we choose to SEE our life.  Open your eyes and picture what you really want for yourself and your path and envision what you can do to get whatever you want so you can, throughout the experience and journey, not just the ending, feel real, lasting, enjoyable, and pure happiness.

SO TRY IT!!!!  Start rehearsing your goals and aspirations in your life, specifically sorted out, in your mind and then go out and throw in some effort, practice, and time (patience obviously), and get what you want our of your own life.  This quote that I love that our teacher gave us before we ended class was...

"your ATTITUDE, not your aptitude, will determine your ALTITUDE." - Zig Zigler

to end on a spiritual note, I really wanted to share this amazing scripture that was shared in institute today that really gives us the VISION of who we are and who we must become.. 

Alma 13:3

 And this is the manner after which they were ordained—beingacalled and bprepared from the cfoundation of the world according to the dforeknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to echoose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great ffaith, are gcalled with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.

2 Nephi 10:20

 20 And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been adrivenout of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to abbetter land, for the Lord has made the sea our cpath, and we are upon an disle of the sea.
The path is laid out for us from a loving God and we must remember our holy calling, have faith, apply that POWER in our daily lives, and we will obtain greatness, glory, and more importantly eternal happiness!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

School is NOT for fools :)


I cannot believe it is fall semester.  I would never believe it because it is so dang hot outside.... I honestly wish I could wear a swimsuit to school and as I walk like 10 miles to each class outside, I could get a tan....HAHA!  I am so embarrassed at school because all my classes are so far away from each other and so I feel like a frantic stressed sweating mess as I am running to each class.  And I swear-everyone and their mom goes to UVU now.... I am pretty sure about a year or so ago everyone made fun of me and my "wolverine pride" and now everyone followed my trend and is hitting up the UVU.... so proud!!!  You all LOVE it!!  So I really do love school and I am happy to be back and learning.  I get so excited to bond with my teachers and fellow class mates and have good discussions and experiences together.  I am so glad I actually know what I want to do with my life and my classes are really enjoyable.  I am so passionate about Psychology and I love learning and studying human behavior, thinking, interaction, and emotion.  It is fascinating!!  

I had work this week and it was one of the most intense days of my life.  Being at school now and learning a lot about my field of work, I get to observe and apply the studies from school  at work with the girls from the treatment center.  This week has just been madness and it really has opened my eyes to some key factors that are crucial in basic human relationships.  At my job, we are constantly trying to strengthen, improve, heal, and lift the emotional needs of the girls in any way possible so that they are able to encounter their strengths, weaknesses, core issues, and change or better their negative and positive behavior patterns in their lives.  Normally it is very healthy and organized and everyone is slowly but surely finding themselves, finding closure, and making goals to a brighter and happier future.  Lately, with some things that have occurred, everyone is basically dragging to just physically get through each day with their basic needs of survival and not try to rip each others heads of from frustration and annoyance.  I thought of a good analogy for it...

Think of a hospital room that is filled with ten new born babies and only one nurse is on shift.  Now imagine that one baby woke up for any apparent reason and began to scream and cry uncontrollably which then "domino effected" every other baby in there and one by one they all began to cry.  Now just a minute ago, this nurse was walking down each row of these cute little innocent new born babies with a calm and loving heart and meeting each specific need to everyone without problem or panic.  This nurse is now in stress mode and is running around by herself trying to meet the needs of each one of these ten crying, upset, tired, and hungry babies.  To this nurse working alone, she is feeling that each baby is just in need of things like food or more rest and so she is just trying to efficiently physically help each of these new borns so that they do not die.  These babies need food and rest right....?  But as this nurse is running around hectic and frantic wanting to "save" these children, she is realizing that as much as the physical needs are important, each one does have emotional needs that need to be met and without them, even being rested and fed, they will not be able to "live" or "be saved".  

This was my experience at work with these girls.  I felt more like a sitter than a sister or mother.  I felt like I was being barked at with orders and just going around and doing without any emotion or thinking because everyone was "dying" and demanding physical needs to be met.  That is fine and of course we need to feed our kids, get them dressed and showered, get them doing their homework, get them some medicine, get them in bed on time, etc. but I realized that the actual thing that was lacking more than all of these routines and aspects of the girls lives was emotional needs being met.  They needed love and needed an understanding and unconditional heart of concern and care for them.  They lacked someone listening to them or validating their feelings.  The desired any kin of physical contact like a hug or rub on the back.  This is what we all need!  I find it so mind blowing that we are so worried about starvation of the body and lack of sleep for human being and how dangerous and unhealthy it is but what about the humans soul....??!! doesn't that live too inside of everyone and doesn't it need some nourishment just like our bodies thirst and hunger for food and water?  We truly need love and a APPRECIATION to make it from day to day.  we need people to tell us they are there and love us and worry about us.  We need to be "saved" on a daily basic by emotional needs such as physical contact from people we care about or healing words of appreciation and affirmation.  All these things are important!!

So I went around to all the girls that night and hugged them, kissed them, said positive and encouraging things to motivate them, told them I am proud of them and appreciate them, and was here for them for anything they need.  That is all it takes!  Is it that hard to remember to do that daily to the people in our lives that we care about so that we can function day to day and have positive and happy exeriences?

WE CAN DO IT!  Let us focus on three key things to make sure this happens and so that we are meeting peoples emotional needs...

1) consistency-  Don't appreciate, give love, attention, and affection one day to someone and stop the next.  Keep it up and care enough that people can learn to trust you and know that you will always be there to give them those emotional needs that they need!  This is CRUCIAL!
2) S M I L E- be happy and show everyone, especially these loving and cared for individuals, that you are happy and you are glad to see them!  smiles are contagious and will rub off on the people that need and lack some positive emotion and gladness.
3) eye contact- be there in that moment with that person and don't be distracted or looking somewhere else.  this will show that you are not going anywhere and your attention is on them so that they can feel and know that emotionally they are safe and can trust you.  FOCUS!
4) use their names- names are a powerful thing you know!  using someones name when speaking to them or addressing them will make them feel cared about, loved, and appreciated.
5) validate- repeat back what people are saying to you and try to let them know that you understand how they feel and where they are coming from!  you don't have to agree but you should let them know that what they are saying to you matters and is worth your time.
6) appreciate-  let that person know that they are doing a great job and you are really happy and grateful for the person they are, the work they have done, and they things they share with you.  regardless of who you are or what you are doing in life, you want to feel important and appreciated!  so let people know how lucky you are to know them and how good they are doing at anything.  this will enhance trust and love in that person as well as their personal performance in anything that are involved in.

LIFE IS GOOD.  Fall is here and with work and school, I am so thrilled to even be alive and learning and growing.  It is just such a fun ride on that path of self-discovery!  Keep reaching out to others and remember that the emotional needs of the people around you, and your own for that matter, do need to be met as much as possible and you can do something about that.  Just love, love, and LOVE, and life will surprise you with more L O V E along the way bringing you so much happiness and good experience!! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012


So I attended group therapy at my work yesterday and did a really cool exercise that impacted me and I think could help out a lot of other people. We all went around the circle and we had to say three different feelings we were experiencing that day. A lot of people said, "tired, annoyed, confused..." or, "happy, peaceful, proud..." etc. After we expressed how we were feeling we then had the chance to express why we were feeling that way and then the therapist asked us if anyone specific was the reason we felt that way. If we said yes he would ask us how many people and if those feelings were negative or resentful. If we said yes to either of those, he would ask us to please take the amount of rocks for how many people were involved with those negative or resentful feelings we had. After we got through all the group and we all had our 1,3, or 10 rocks in our laps, the therapist read this story and as he read it, I just look at my few rocks and really tried to apply the story to what I was going through and the bad or negative feelings I had towards those few people.

Pockets Full of Rocks

(Originally printed March 1985.)
It started when the boss yelled at him. From then on, things got kind of, well, rocky.
Malcolm Tent was still a young man when he began putting rocks in his pockets. It started one day when his boss, Mr. Gump, got angry at him for something that wasn’t his fault. He couldn’t yell back at his boss, because he might get fired. In fact, there wasn’t anything he could do except be angry inside. “But,” he thought, “I’m not going to forget this. No way.”
On the way home from the bus stop that night, he thought to himself, “I’ve got to remember how angry I am. I don’t want to forget this in the morning.” Suddenly he had an idea. There was a small rock on the sidewalk in front of him. He picked it up and said softly to himself, “I’ll keep this rock in my pocket to remind me of how unfair Mr. Gump was.”
And that’s what he did. That night he put the rock on his dresser with his keys and his comb. The next morning, when he got dressed to go to work, into his pocket went the ugly gray rock.
All that day and the next, the heavy bulge in his pocket reminded him that he should be angry at Mr. Gump. Strangely, Mr. Gump seemed to have forgotten about the whole thing. But not Malcolm Tent. Oh no. In fact, during the next two weeks, Mr. Gump made Malcolm angry several more times, and Malcolm decided he’d better get a rock for each time so he could keep better track of these things.
And so it was that Malcolm Tent’s trousers began to look baggy and strange. But at least he remembered not to forgive Mr. Gump or be friendly or anything like that.
Maybe if Malcolm had only collected rocks when he got angry at old Gump, this thing might have died out and been forgotten. But there was the taxi driver who drove right by and left Malcolm standing in the rain. Into his pocket went a shiny, rain-slick pebble from the gutter. (Of course, Malcolm had no idea of the taxi driver’s name, but it didn’t matter.) Then there was the grocery clerk who short-changed him. And the newspaper delivery boy who threw his paper into the lawn sprinkler. And the neighbor whose dog barked late at night. And … well, Malcolm discovered that there were all kinds of people and things in the world that can bother you.
Speaking of discoveries, Malcolm also discovered that when all of your pockets are full of rocks, a plain old belt won’t hold up your pants. (He discovered that fact while his arms were full of grocery sacks.) So he made himself a sturdy pair of leather suspenders to help hold up his pants.
But soon the time came when he didn’t have enough pockets in his pants, so he had to wear a jacket everywhere he went—the kind of jacket with lots of pockets. And it wasn’t long before the jacket looked as funny as his trousers. And smelled just as dusty. And got even heavier because it had more pockets.
Anyone else might have given up at this point, but not Malcolm. He bought one of those big sturdy briefcases like salesmen use. After all, when you start to look for them, there are all kinds of things in life that can bother you. And when you are always tired from lugging so many rocks around, you get angry even easier.
Years went by, and Malcolm’s collection of reminder rocks spilled out of his pockets and briefcase and all over his house. He had rocks on the kitchen sink, and in his closets, and all over the floors. A few times he even put a rock in his bed so he could remember to be angry during the night. Let’s face it. Malcolm had become a strange, unpleasant man. And most people avoided him when they could, which made him even touchier. Rocks are not very good company. They are hard and dusty, and in the winter they are very cold.
Now, Malcolm might have gone on to become a mean old man completely buried in rocks. But one day he received a phone call from a geology professor at the university. Dr. Igneous had heard of Malcolm’s large rock collection (who hadn’t?), and he wanted to bring his geology class on a field trip to see it.
“Well,” thought Malcolm, “at last here is someone who appreciates my rocks. Wait until they see all of these reminders of how often people have wronged me.” An appointment was made for the next Saturday, and Malcolm spent the next few evenings dusting and arranging.
At last Saturday came, and at two o’clock in the afternoon the doorbell rang. There, on the porch, stood Professor Igneous and seven of his best students, all dressed in their best field-trip outdoor clothing. Several had rock hammers dangling from their belts, and one or two carried cameras. And everyone carried a notebook and pencil. Professor Igneous himself looked rather ordinary. But he had a ready smile. And his face was deeply tanned from spending years out of doors. As a matter of fact, there was something about his eyes, too. They looked deep and dark, but they had a sparkle that said he enjoyed life. And when he looked at you, it was the same look he gave mountains and rock formations—as though he were trying to peer inside. This was a scientist who liked people at least as much as he liked rocks.
As the professor and students stepped into the rock-filled living room, Malcolm expected to hear oohs and aahs. You know, like you hear at a fireworks show. Instead, there was an uncomfortable silence. The group just stood there looking around, nudging a few of the rocks with their toes. Then the students looked at their professor, waiting for him to say something. After all, this was not the collection of beautiful gems and minerals they had expected. These were ordinary hunks of limestone and sandstone and quartzite. Why, there were even chunks of broken asphalt and concrete!
Finally, Professor Igneous spoke: “Ahem,” he cleared his throat. “Perhaps you would be so good as to explain your collection to us, Mr. Tent. I can honestly say we’ve never seen another collection quite like it.” In the background, his students nodded in agreement.
“Well,” Malcolm began nervously, “I, uh, well … that is …” It had been a long time since he had said much of anything to anyone.
Professor Igneous could see how nervous Malcolm was. The poor man kept swallowing so hard his Adam’s apple was bobbing up and down. (Some of the students thought he was trying to swallow one of his rocks.)
Trying to help, the professor said, “Why not begin by telling us why you chose these rocks.” He picked up an ordinary gray rock that looked like most of the others. “Why did you choose this particular piece of limestone for your collection?”
“Oh, is that what it is?” Well, I think that’s the one I picked up when the laundry didn’t have my shirts ready on time. Wait! No, I think that’s for the time my favorite TV show got canceled. Or was it the time I ran inside to answer the phone, and the caller had the wrong number? Or …” Here he paused to search his memory. There were so many rocks! And they were so much alike—gray, hard, cold, dusty. Suddenly, Malcolm realized that that was all Professor Igneous and his students could see. To everyone else these were just plain old everyday rocks. Malcolm had to explain, to make them see.
“There’s more to these rocks than you might think. Every one of these rocks represents a time somebody made me mad or hurt my feelings. I picked up these rocks as reminders.”
Now the professor and his students were really amazed. They all began to speak at once: “I never heard of such a thing.” “How long have you been doing this?” “Can I take a picture of you with your rocks?” “Some field trip!”
Professor Igneous spoke again, and everyone became quiet. “Well, Mr. Tent,” he began slowly, “I must admit you’re the first person I ever met who collected rocks for that reason.” He paused and looked around. “You’ve been very kind to invite us into your home. And we don’t want to take up too much of your time. But do you suppose that while we are here we might see your other collection?”
A blank look came over Malcolm’s face. “I don’t have any other collection.”
“Oh, I see. I just thought you might have collected something to remind you of the nice things people have done and said. But, well, never mind. Perhaps we ought to be going now. Thank you so much for allowing us to come into your home. I think my students have learned something important.”
He gathered his students around him, and they moved toward the door. Then, turning to Malcolm once more the professor said, “We still have some time left this afternoon. Could you perhaps direct us to some of the other people with similar collections?”
Once more Malcolm was caught off balance. “I don’t know of any other collections like mine.”
“Oh. I just thought that perhaps some of the people you know would have collected something when you … I mean … if you ever … uh … annoyed them.” Then, quickly, he added, “Yes, well, good-bye, and thanks again.”
Without waiting, the professor and his students turned and marched off down the sidewalk.
Long after they were gone, Malcolm stood there, looking just like one of his rocks—cold and gray and very still. Within him, the professor’s words echoed. Around him, the house was silent. Too silent. He suddenly realized how pleasant the students’ friendly chatter had been. How long since he had had a friendly talk with anyone? Come to think of it, did he even have any friends anymore?
Then, before he could stop it, the thought came into his mind: “I’m becoming just like my rocks.” As Malcolm sat alone in the dark, he finally realized what unpleasant companions rocks are. And how unpleasant he … Well, some thoughts are hard enough to think without actually saying them.
For several days, for hours at a time, Malcolm sat still as a rock, thinking rock-hard thoughts. You might have thought he had finally become petrified. But deep inside him, something was waking up and beginning to grow, like a seed in the spring soil.
If you think it’s hard to find a home for kittens or gerbils or such, you should try finding someone who wants a bunch of very ordinary, dusty, gray rocks. In fact, just try gathering them up when they are scattered all over. Malcolm tried to hire cleaning ladies. They all told him the same thing: “I don’t do windows, and I don’t pick up rocks!” A “Free Rocks” sign in his window brought no results. Finally he realized that this was something he would have to do himself.
The neighbors still talk about the time Malcolm backed a rented trailer up to his front porch, and about the tremendous cloud of dust that rose as the rocks flew out into the trailer. They also talk about how much better Malcolm looks, how his clothes fit so much better (has he lost weight?), and how he actually smiles now.
Malcolm’s neighbors also point with pride to his attractive yard, with trees and flowers and bushes planted everywhere. They don’t have any explanation for his sudden interest in gardening. But one neighbor, Mrs. Kratz, did notice that after she had taken a piece of cake to him, Malcolm went out to the flower bed and planted a single seed.

The therapist then gave us some seeds and told us to go plant them outside somewhere so they can bloom.  He also expressed his love and care for us and the things we are going through with certain people in our lives and he expressed that he hopes we can all do everything in our power to let go and get rid of our rocks.  This made me really think about the power of forgiveness and unconditional love and how important it is to apply it in our lives daily because if we are not doing it, we can truly and personally be effected negatively and carry around unneccesary burdens, hard feelings, negative emotions, and hate for people that could be fixed and addressed if we just make the decision and let go of the rocks.  I am still holding on to my few rocks and I am definitely going to work on myself this week and figure out what I can do to "let them go" and move on.  ROCKS ARE HEAVY!!  Rocks are gray, ugly, un wanted weight that holds us back from ever being free.  If we were going on a hike up a mountain, would we want to take all these rocks in a back pack and carry them the whole journey up....?  No!  Just as Christ told us himself... 
(Matthew 11:28-30)
28 aCome unto me, all ye that blabour and are heavy laden, and I will give you crest.
 29 Take my ayoke upon you, and blearn of me; for I am cmeek anddlowly in eheart: and ye shall find frest unto your souls.
 30 For my yoke is aeasy, and my burden is light.
And as the Lord spoke to Alma and his people... 
(Mosiah 24:13-16)

13 And it acame to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
 14 And I will also ease the aburdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand asbwitnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their cafflictions.
 15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord didastrengthen them that they could bear up their bburdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with cpatience to all the will of the Lord.
 16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.
This talk also demonstrates this principle perfectly..

"The Merciful Obtain Mercy"

Second Counselor in the First Presidency

When our hearts are filled with the love of God, we become “kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving.”
Let us hand over our rocks and let go.  It is our choice how we feel each day and whether or not we choose to carry these rocks.  We are the ones to decide.  It is sometimes hard and can take humility, patience, time, and effort, but we are not alone and we do have heavenly assistance.  Take the Lord's hand and take up his offer by "learning of him" and you will "find rest in your souls."