Elijah Clarke, Staff Writer
In a recent series of professor-led lectures, Dr. Wendy Wolfe presented “Acceptance and Appreciation Based Interventions for Reducing Body Dissatisfaction: Change our Thinking about Thinking,” hoping to motivate students to think more positively and produce a healthier lifestyles for themselves.
As Dr. Wolfe took the stage, she asked audience members to write down the various things that they are grateful for. After three minutes or so, she asked the audience to raise their hand if that affected their mood in anyway. Almost everyone raised their hand. She then said “Keep it up if you feel the affect was positive.” No hands went down.
Dr. Wolfe spoke on various historical psychologists and their views on how individuals process thoughts and the ways they perceive themselves, such as behaviorist B.F. Skinner, who primarily focused on how thoughts led people to what he thought was really important: actions.
Wolfe also focused on two other psychologists: Marsha Linehan and Steven Hayes. Linehan mainly observed suicidal patients, paving the way for treatment by removing the “change your way of thinking” form of treatment from the playbook. She discovered this method does not benefit patients whatsoever.
Instead, Linehan found that the best way to help them is to get them to observe their own thoughts and words. Steven Hayes was the last psychologist that Dr. Wolfe focused on. His research focused on acceptance and commitment therapy and is relatively well-known.
Then the speech took a turn as Dr. Wolfe spoke on the idea of body image, and explained her own research. She detailed a few coping methods, detailing studies she had performed which looked at what styles worked best for some students at Armstrong.
She highlighted the perception that each individual has of themselves, which tends to be rather negative. She points out that oftentimes we do not perceive ourselves the way we appear, and tend to think of our bodies as bigger and more round than they actually are.
Finally, her lecture concluded by going over studies that proved that showing appreciation everyday was the most effective to change someone’s physical and mental health positively for a longer amount of time.
Wolfe said, “We feel a sense of gratitude generally when someone does something positive, or when we reflect positively on an event. Appreciation is a good synonym for being grateful. So when we show gratitude, we tend to feel less stressed and even get positive physical changes.”