Columbus, OH

Positive Psychology Club promotes mindfulness as semester comes to a close

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The Positive Psychology Club, which aims to provide its members with the tools and knowledge to increase individual gratification and find purpose in life, often sees an uptick in membership during exams. Credit: Courtesy of Ella Trager

During a time when exams are looming and essays need to be written, one student organization looks to help students find peace.

The Positive Psychology Club aims to provide its members with the tools and knowledge to increase individual gratification and find purpose in life, according to its student organization page . Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life worth living, and the organization encourages members to practice positive psychology by engaging in various activities and practicing certain habits, Ella Trager, a third-year in psychology and president of the club, said.

“We participate in hands-on activities and practice patience, love, forgiveness, happiness, gratitude, all that kind of stuff to ultimately improve our mindsets and make our mindsets more positive on the day-to-day basis, especially in a world that’s so consumed by instant gratification and overstimulation,” Trager said.

The club is structured so that anyone, regardless of prior psychology knowledge, can go, learn and acknowledge the positivity in their life, Trager said

Club meetings start with an introduction of weekly topics, followed by an ice-breaker, a mini lecture and a meditation before a main activity, Trager said.

Trager said they commonly start meetings with activities such as asking members two questions: “What makes you happy?” and “When will you be happy?”

“Oftentimes when we say ‘When will you be happy?’ individuals will say, ‘Oh, I will be happy when I graduate college; I will be happy when I have this job; I will be happy when I have money; when I have a family,’ ” Trager said. “Once we can acknowledge the fact that all of those things are in the future, we can sort of take a step back and transition or really just, like, rewire our brains into trying to enjoy the present moment.”

Elizabeth Fastuca, a third-year in psychology and treasurer of the club, said the organization has taught her that it doesn’t take much time to complete activities that can make a day better.

“You can take a few minutes and just think about your five senses and a place where you were really happy,” Fastuca said. “Or you could, every night, write down three things that are positive that happened that day.”

The group tends to see an increase in participants around the end of the semester as final exams and essays approach, bringing with them increased levels of stress, Fastuca said.

“I think that a lot more people show up when they think that they really need some stress relief, stress management, a little group meditation action, that kind of thing,” Fastuca said.

In addition to meetings and education for participants, The Positive Psychology Club also collaborates with other student organizations, such as The Boo Radley Society for high-five Fridays, Trager said. She said members of the organization also plan several special events throughout the year, such as a recent pumpkin-painting event and dodgeball at the RPAC.

“In the past, we have made Valentine’s Day cards that were taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and that was very positive, very sweet,” Fastuca said. “We’ve made vision boards, and last year we did a virtual meditation retreat with the SKY @ OSU club, which I know a lot of people had a lot of positive feedback from.”

Meetings are held biweekly from 6-7 p.m., according to the student organization’s page. Trager said meetings are usually held in the Ohio Union, but exact meeting locations are announced before each one. Fees are $10 per semester and $15 per year and mainly go toward food, t-shirts and speakers.

Interested members are encouraged to email the club for additional information.

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