The Power of a Positive Mind

photo 2By Michele Robison, PhD

Is it really important to count our blessings? According to research, the answer is a resounding Yes! When we are able to focus on the blessings, or what is going well in our life, we experience positive emotions. Positive emotions are known to increase dopamine and serotonin levels, neurotransmitters that not only enhance mood but improve memory as well. In fact, optimistic people have been shown to engage in more creative thinking, are better at problem solving, have improved performance, rebound from negative events more quickly, set more goals, put more effort into attaining goals, stay more engaged in the face of difficulty, rise above obstacles more easily, cope better in high stress situations, and maintain higher levels of well-being then their pessimistic counter parts.

 

Negative thinking is believed to be the cause of 75-98% of illnesses (Leaf, 2011) and fear triggers more than 1,400 physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones. (Leaf, 2009). Now that can’t be healthy!

 

Even a momentary focus on the positive can have a beneficial impact. One study showed that children who were told to think about something that makes them happy before putting blocks into particular patterns, significantly out-performed children who were not given that instruction. Another study showed that students who were told to think about the happiest day of their life before taking a standardized math test, significantly out-performed the students who were not given that instruction. And Doctors who were primed to feel happy by simply giving them a lollipop came to more accurate diagnoses more quickly and were more creative in treatment solutions then the doctors who were not primed to feel happy. (Achor, 2010) Note to self, next time you see your doctor give him/her a lollipop and reap the benefits of doing so!

 

Scientists have shown that we can create new neural-pathways in our brain with intentional focus. If we tend to focus on the negative, our brains will be wired to pick up the negative and drop the positive in our day-to-day lives. The good news is, it works the other way around as well.

 

In a study at Harvard University, research subjects played the game Tetris for several hours a day, three days in a row. Tetris is a game where shapes fall from the top of a screen and the objective is for the player to rotate the shapes to create an unbroken, horizontal line across the screen before it hits the bottom of the screen. After playing Tetris for several hours over a three-day period, subjects dreamt about falling shapes and begin to subconsciously find themselves looking at how various shapes in their environment could be turned to create unbroken lines.

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Shawn Achor, the author of The Happiness Advantage stayed up playing the game Grand Theft Auto until 4:00 A.M. He recounts that for five hours following playing the game, he found himself scanning the streets looking at which cars he could break into. The good news is he stopped himself from acting on his thoughts yet this does demonstrate the power behind where we place our focus.

 

There have been numerous studies that have shown that intentional focus allows our brain to get stuck in how we view the world. With ongoing repeated focus, we can actually create new neural-pathways in the brain that are enduring.  This means we are not doomed to a life of negativity. We can use our mind to change our brains, to change our mind for the better!   What? In other words, if we begin to scan our environment for things that are going well, we will eventually create new neural-pathways so that our brain focuses more easily on the positive aspects of life rather than the negative. This does not mean we will not ever experience negativity again. It does mean, we will have a better outlook when facing adversity and we will rebound more quickly from the adversity.

 

The 3 Blessings Journal is one way to train our brains to scan for the positive in life. Depressed subjects were asked to write down 3 things that went well at the end of the day and why it went well for a period of one week. At the end of the week, subjects reported not only a significant decrease in depression but also a greater level of happiness. This effect was seen up to six months later. (Seligman, 2011)

 

By simply writing down 3 things that go well in our day along with why it went well, we can experience a more optimistic look on life and reap the emotional and physical benefits.

 

I would be remiss if I did not point out that what science is now discovering is what God’s word has been teaching us all along. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thes. 5:16-18. God is deserving of our thanks but it is much more than that. When we seek Him through prayer and give thanks, we then experience joy. God knew that by giving thanks, it transforms us. We are changed for the better. We reap the benefits of a life filled with joy and peace.

 

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Join our first-ever #VU3Blessings Campaign! This will take place from March 2-13, 2015.

 

References:

  • Achor, Shawn. (2010). The Happiness Advantage. New York: Crown Business Publishers.
  • Leaf, Caroline. (2011). You Are What You Think: 75-98% of Mental and Physical Illnesses Come from Your Thought Life. www.drleaf.com.
  •  Leaf, Caroline. (2009). Who Switched Off My Brain? Inprov, Ltd.
  •  Seligman, Martin. (2011). Flourish: A New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being. New York: Free Press.

 

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#vu3Blessings Campaign

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Do you look at the glass half full or half empty?

How would like to train your brain to look at life and circumstances more optimistically?

 

We invite ALL STUDENTS to join our first-ever #vu3Blessings Campaign!

 

March 2 to March 13, 2015

 

This is an opportunity for you to count your blessings…

 

To participate:

1. Get a journal and bracelet from your RA, Commuter Assistant, or the Counseling Center (2nd Floor of Scott Academic Center).

2. From March 2-13, each day use the journals to write 3 things that went well and why they went well.

3. Share it with us! Tag @vanguardu and #vu3Blessings in your Instagram posts and Tweets.

 

Hosted by the Student Wellness Advisory Team (SWAT)

 

Event hashtags – #vu3Blessings @vanguardu

 

Questions?
Michele Robison, PhD
Associate Director of the Vanguard Counseling Center
(714) 619-6480 | michele.robison@vanguard.edu

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Counseling Center Group Therapy

VU_Services

Vanguard University Counseling Center

Therapy Groups Offered for Sping 2015

 

GRIEF GROUP

If you’ve experienced a loss and could benefit from support in your suffering, we invite you to join the Grief Group as we explore and express our sorrow together. It hurts to lose someone you love but that doesn’t mean you have to go through the grieving process alone. Come and find support from people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. Join us weekly to process the challenges that come through the grieving process, find encouragement, and move towards rebuilding your life.

GROUP MEETS: Tuesday

TIME:  6:00 pm – 7:50 pm

SESSION DATES:  January 27, 2015 – April 14, 2015 (no group 3/3/15 or 3/17/15)

LOCATION:  Heath 009 (basement)

GROUP LED BY:  Kallie Rohrmayer & Ashley Vaillancourt

 

MINDFULNESS & RELAXATION GROUP

Need some stress relief from the craziness of life? Could you use a little help relaxing? You can’t always control life’s circumstances, but you can control how well you take care of yourself. Taking proper care of your body, mind and soul can keep you in ideal shape for handling stress. Join us & learn important basic self-care & relaxation tips that can keep you functioning well. Dress comfortably.

GROUP MEETS:  Monday

TIME:  10:00 am -11:50 am

SESSION DATES:  January 26, 2015 – March 30, 2015 (no group 2/16/15 or 3/16/15)

LOCATION:  Price Room

GROUP LED BY:  Lauren Branch & Rebecca Burns

 

WOMEN’S BODY IMAGE GROUP

Do you find yourself comparing your body to others? Do you feel comfortable with what you see in the mirror? Are you focused on what you eat or how much you exercise? Do you find yourself focusing on your perceived physical flaws? Do you wish you looked different? Are you ready to discover who the real you is? You are not alone! Join us to learn about body image and how it affects your thought and behaviors. Get tips on how to improve your health and your satisfaction with your body. Come & find support from women just like you.

GROUP MEETS:  Monday

TIME:  1:00 pm – 2:50pm

SESSION DATES:  January 12, 2015 – March 23, 2015 (no group 1/19/15, 2/16/15 or 3/16/15)

LOCATION:  Scott 236

GROUP LED BY:  Lauren Branch & Mary Mosier

 

If you are interested in attending any of the above groups, you may RSVP at 714-662-5256 or by email at counselingcenter@vanguard.edu. An RSVP is not required. Please join us any time.

Inside VU 9.29.14

SEPTEMBER 29 – OCTOBER 3
EVENTS AND REMINDERS

ALUMNI RELATIONS
CLASS NOTES
Friday, October 3
12:00pm-12:50pm
Questions? Contact Lauren Francis at lauren.francis@vanguard.edu or x 5493
We are gathering Class Notes for the Fall/Winter issue of the Vanguard Magazine! They are the most-read section of the magazine, so we want to make sure as many Staff/Faculty Alumni are included as possible. Please submit to the Alumni website, or email notes to lauren.francis@vanguard.edu by Oct. 3.

CAMPUS EVENTS
SEMI-ANNUAL BLOOD DRIVE
Tuesday, September 30
11:00am
Cove Parking Lot
Questions? Contact Megan Mickelson at megan.mickelsen@vanguard.edu or x5254
Vanguard’s semi-annual blood drive is quickly approaching! All students, faculty, and staff are welcome and encouraged to donate. The mobile blood truck will be in the cove parking lot on September 30th from 11am-4pm. Please see Jordan Baker in the Bridge beginning on Sept 22nd to schedule an appointment.

SENIOR GRAD MEETING
Monday, October 20
10:00am
Needham Chapel
Questions? Contact Kristie Gray at kgray@vanguard.edu or x5202
Mark your calendar: October 20th at 10:00am in Needham Chapel.
This information meeting is for all seniors who expect to participate in May 2015 Commencement ceremonies. If you have any questions please contact Kristie Gray x5202 or Sarah Bacher x5206 in the Registrar’s Office.

THEATER
THE BEAT GOES ON – World Premiere
A Musical Revue that journeys through the decades of Rock and Roll
Lyceum Theater Performance Dates: October 3, 4 at 8:00 pm; October 4, 5 at 2:00 pm. General: $17; Senior/Child/Group/VU Employees: $14; VU Students: $12.
Purchase tickets at: http://www.vanguardtickets.com Discount tickets for VU students on ALL performances: only $5 cash or check at the door if available

Questions? Contact Bill Hughes at bhughes@vanguard.edu or x6425 http://www.vanguard.edu/theatre/lyceum-theater-season/thebeatgoeson/

LIBRARY
TRANSFER STUDENTS: LIBRARY SESSIONS
Sunday, October 5 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Monday, October 6 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Thursday, October 9 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Library Computer Lab
Questions? Contact Elena Nipper at enipper@vanguard.edu or x6378
Not sure how to use and access library resources? Come to one of our sessions in the Library Computer Lab and we’ll explain. Bring your questions! While these will be geared toward transfer students, all students are welcome.
RSVP to Elena Nipper at enipper@vanguard.edu or x6378 by October 4th

GLOBAL CENTER FOR WOMEN & JUSTICE
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH
Monday, October 6
10:00am
Heath 109
Questions? Contact Alexis Miller at alexis.miller@vanguard.edu or x6360
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Join us to hear expert speakers beginning on October 6 with Rhonda Sciortino. Rhonda is an author and child welfare advocate for foster youth and neglected children. Listen to Rhonda’s story and learn about the effects of violence on foster youth.

GRADUATE & PROFESSIONAL STUDIES
INFORMATION MEETING
Tuesday, October 7
6:00pm
Heath
Questions? Contact Wendy White at wendy.white@vanguard.edu or x5408

http://www.vanguard.edu/graduate/graduate-information-meeting/

Discover how a masters degree from Vanguard in Education, Religion, Organizational Psychology, Clinical Psychology or Nursing can help make your dreams a reality.
•Learn about financial aid and the admission process.
•Meet graduate faculty, staff, current students and alumni.
•Attendees will have their application fee waived.
Please RSVP at vanguard.edu/gps/rsvp

OUTREACH
CHOC WALK
Sunday, October 12
6:30am
Disneyland
Questions? Contact Alexis Miller at kayli.hillebrand@vanguard.edu or x5265
Join the Team Vanguard in the annual CHOC Walk at Disneyland and California Adventure to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Minimum of $50 donation required per participant.

STUDY ABROAD MEETING
Monday, October 13
10:00am
Great Commission Hall
Questions? Contact Kristie Gray at kgray@vanguard.edu or x 5202
Thinking of studying abroad in Spring 2015? Come to our meeting to learn about your options for studying abroad. This is a great opportunity to expand your horizons and learn about the world around you!

CAREER SERVICES
GRADUATE & SEMINARY FAIR
Tuesday, October 14
2:00pm
Heath Lawn
Questions? Contact Jennifer Smith at careerservices@vanguard.edu or x6474

http://www.vanguard.edu/career/graduate-school-and-seminary-fair-students/

What’s next for you? If you are thinking about going to Graduate School join us on Tuesday, October 14th from 2:00pm to 6:00pm. Come and ask questions, meet recruiters, and look into finding the graduate program that’s right for you. FREE to all VU students, alumni and staff.

CHRISTMAS FANTASIA
TICKETS ON SALE!
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Questions? Contact Katie Heemstra at fantasia@vanguard.edu or x5441
www.vanguard.edu/fantasia/
Kick off your holiday season in style! Enjoy favorite carols and breathtaking masterpieces performed by Vanguard’s 200-member choirs and orchestra in two stunning venues: Segerstrom Center for the Arts [Tuesday, December 2] and St. Andrews Presbyterian Church [Friday, December 5]. Faculty/Staff and students — Redeem an exclusive 20% off discount for the Segerstrom show!

 

 

Effective Web Design

A recent report by Higher Education Marketing, a digital marketing agency for higher education, released a report on the Provocative Innovations in Higher Education. In this report they give examples of innovative higher education web design and content strategy and development for student recruitment. A recent study done by Noel Levitz said that 71% of high school graduating seniors had viewed a college website on mobile phones or tablets. They also noted that 43% of teens use mobile devices exclusively to view the web. Higher education institutions must be focused on delivering a quality experience on these devices to be effective in student recruitment moving forward.

The report by Higher Education Marketing also gives four tips to approach web design: developing a solid navigational framework, creating an infrastructure to meet the changing needs & offerings of the University, consistent updates and quality assurance testing, and communicating the most relevant information without cluttering the user experience.

Heath Building - Rotunda/Hallway

New Year, New Team

It has been a while since we have contributed to our Marketing/Digital Media blog… Because there have been changes to our staff!

Not every university has an on-campus Marketing and Communications office. Here at Vanguard University, we consider that a blessing. Our team started with just a Director, Project Manager, and a Graphic Designer. That team of 3 took on the demands of a growing university and an ever-changing Marketing landscape.

Now, our team has grown to 10+ staff and interns who work together to accomplish projects with excellence, creativity, and professionalism. We have since undergone new brand guidelines, Athletics mascot and logo makeovers, and most recently: a user-friendly website that adapts to desktops, mobile phones, and tablets. Last year, our total number of Marketing projects was 1,565. That number of completed and in queue projects continues to increase.

As John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life.
And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

We reflect on our past and present, but we most especially look forward to being a continued resource to Vanguard University in this upcoming 2014-2015 school year.

Click here to meet the new Marketing and Communications Team.

Website Announcement: Keyword Strategy

In an effort to better serve each department on campus by increasing traffic to department microsites, the office of marketing and communications is spearheading a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

With this SEO strategy, we’d like to ask that you incorporate the following keywords into the content on your department’s microsite. If it’s in a blog post, on a webpage, wherever there is text—we’d ask that you incorporate the following keywords and phrases as naturally as possible and only when appropriate:

christian colleges
christian universities
christian education
christian schools
christian school
christian colleges and universities
best christian colleges
christian bible college
list of christian colleges
top christian universities
christian universities in california
accredited christian colleges
california christian university
best christian universities
christian colleges in southern california

For example, instead of:

The School for Professional Studies at Vanguard University is dedicated to assisting adult learners in reaching their goals by providing quality education, along with personal concern and genuine support.

You can say:

Vanguard University’s School for Professional Studies is one of the top Christian universities in the nation, dedicated to assisting adult learners in reaching their goals by providing quality education, along with personal concern and genuine support.

Benefits of SEO

  • Increases chances that our key audience(s) will find us online
  • Improves opportunities for engagement with our key audience(s)
  • Builds brand awareness that Vanguard is a leader in Christian, liberal arts higher education

Please keep in mind that we’d like for you to incorporate these keywords as naturally as possible, and should you have any questions, feel free to contact us at socialmedia@vanguard.edu

Thank you for your work in updating your department microsite—a powerful recruiting tool in showcasing Vanguard University.

Emergency Alert Program

Vanguard University takes campus safety seriously, and as part of continuous efforts to improve safety, the university has purchased a system to deliver emergency alerts to the university community.

New this semester we will have in place a text and voice messaging alert system produced by Rave Mobile Safety. Rave specializes in higher education emergency communication and serves institutions such as Brown University and University of Massachusetts, among many others. Rave will be used to communicate safety alerts and information that affect the wellbeing of our university.

Faculty, Staff and Students are automatically registered for the system but are encouraged to log in to the Rave Mobile Safety site getrave.com/login/vanguard to confirm contact information and choose notification preferences.

Note that cellular phone providers may charge a per-text message fee for the delivery of emergency notifications to mobile devices. Individuals are permitted to opt out of the service, but the university urges campus community members to recognize that this is an important campus safety feature. Any Rave notices will be brief and will occur infrequently. All messages are for emergency purposes only. You will never receive advertisements thru the Rave system.

Individuals may sign in using their Vanguard University single sign-on ID and password. Users then will be prompted to complete the registration process and will be able to update profile information.

Information about campus emergencies or closures will continue to be available on the university’s website, via email and through social media. Be sure to “like” the VU on Facebook to get a variety of updates on campus happenings.

Members of the university community are encouraged to periodically review campus emergency procedures. Find the latest information at vanguard.edu/services/campus-safety or read the GET RAVE FAQs online here.

Campus Safety Update

 

Dear Vanguard Community,

 
Vanguard University takes campus safety seriously, and as part of continuous efforts to improve safety, the university has purchased a system to deliver emergency alerts to the university community.

New this semester we will have in place a text and voice messaging alert system produced by Rave Mobile Safety. Rave specializes in higher education emergency communication and serves institutions such as Brown University and University of Massachusetts, among many others. Rave will be used to communicate safety alerts and information that affect the well being of our university.

Members of the university community will receive a welcome email for this new system. Faculty, Staff and Students are automatically registered for the system but are encouraged to log in to the Rave Mobile Safety site (www.getrave.com) to confirm contact information and choose notification preferences. You will have to enter Vanguard as your site name.

Note that cellular phone providers may charge a per-text message fee for the delivery of emergency notifications to mobile devices. Individuals are permitted to opt out of the service, but the university urges campus community members to recognize that this is an important campus safety feature. Any Rave notices will be brief and will occur infrequently. All messages are for emergency purposes only. You will never receive advertisements thru the Rave system.

Individuals may sign in using their Vanguard University single sign-on ID and password. Users then will be prompted to complete the registration process and will be able to update profile information.
Information about campus emergencies or closures will continue to be available on the university’s website, via email and through social media. Be sure to “like” the university on Facebook (facebook.com/vanguarduniversity) to get a variety of updates on campus happenings.
Members of the university community are encouraged to periodically review campus emergency procedures.

 

God Bless,
PAUL TURGEON
Director of Campus Public Safety
paul.turgeon@vanguard.edu

Say it with video.

Sometimes it’s hard to put things into words. It really is true that a picture can tell a thousand words–but video can tell a million! Using video in your social media can be incredibly powerful, if done well. The Class of 2016 page for Vanguard University (built of incoming freshmen) is a perfect example. On this page, students have turned the camera on themselves, allowing other students on that Facebook page to get to know them and what they like, their hobbies, etc.

When students initiated that, we jumped on it in Undergrad Admissions and had the UG Admissions Counselors plop themselves in front of the camera and tell some stories of “little known facts” about VU. It was incredibly successful, got our incoming students talking and engaging–and all we needed was an iPhone to do the job! Check out all of the videos on the Class of 2016 page here, and get some ideas for your own Facebook page. Say it with video.