By: Miranda Lapides
Another group at George Mason University, the Israel Student Association, is doing some good on campus this week! We all combat stress and conflict in our lives on a daily basis, and hearing about conflict going on in the rest of the world is the last thing we want to hear. Obviously it is important to educate yourself on the harsh realities and negative impacts of conflict, but it is just as equally important and beneficial to look on the “bright side” of things. This is where positive psychology comes in to play with conflict.
The Israel Student Association’s message for their Israel Peace Week project is that no matter your views on the Arab-Israeli conflict, you cannot deny that Israel wants peace and has tried numerous times for peace. This week they represent that message through tabling in the Johnson Center with posters, flyers, and prizes. Most importantly, Israel Peace Week involves its grand social media campaign, bringing messages of peace to the Mason community. The Israel Student Association invites students and faculty to take a picture with a whiteboard stating what peace means to them and have it be uploaded to ISA’s Facebook page. ISA’s kiosk also includes a giant poster where students can simply write what peace means to them on a piece of paper and tape it to the board. So far the project has raised some awareness on campus, with students defining peace as “understanding,” “being sensitive to the suffering of others,” and “free to travel without fear,” and it is just the beginning of the project!
The Israel Student Association’s latest project is directly related to positive psychology. Positive psychology is the study of what contributes to human happiness and emotional health, though no one defines it better than Christopher Peterson, a former professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and current author, when he says, “Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living.” He goes on to say that this particular type of psychology focuses on strengths as well as weaknesses, how to build up the good things in life as well as fixing the bad, and fulfilling mentally healthy peoples’ lives as well as healing those with mental illnesses.
This is exactly what Israel Peace Week is all about: taking an area of the world with a conflict and shedding some light on it by giving it a positive spin. It is so easy to count the number of missiles being fired from both sides and the number of lives each side has lost. With anything in life, it is easier to focus on the negative than the positive, but this project puts the negative on hold and gives students and faculty a chance to put their most important values on display, the values that make life most worth living.
What does peace mean to you? Join the campaign by messaging ISA on Facebook.
View other photos here!
Peterson, Christopher. “The Good Life.” What Is Positive Psychology, and What Is It Not? Psychology Today, 16 May 2008. Web. 31 Mar. 2014. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-good-life/200805/what-is-positive-psychology-and-what-is-it-not>.