Happiness and Wisdom Practica
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Happiness and Wisdom Practica
- The Happiness Practica allows you to experiment with one (15%) or two (20%) specific practical exercises for investigating happiness. You will produce journal entries reflecting on your experience. The overall goal is to answer this question: Does this practice have potential for increasing my happiness? No need for anonymity in this assignment.
1: Mindfulness Meditation and Journal (H&W)
- This exercise will introduce you to mindfulness meditation or, if you already meditate, give you an opportunity to reflect on the relationship between meditative experience and happiness. Depending upon your interests, you could try other forms of meditation as well. The natural point in the course for starting this would be our treatment of Buddhism and Yoga, but we can look for an earlier start date since the techniques are separable from the traditions. You will be asked to meditate 5 times a week for about 4-5 weeks, turning in three to five journals over that time. The focus of the journals early on should be on whether you are experiencing a "meditation effect" (which I'll discus with practicum participants). Later journals should candidly assess the feeling of a good meditation and the effects, if any on daily concerns. Do problems and stresses feel different after a good meditation?
- The Meditation Exercises resource page gives you both instructions to start your practice and other resources. You are welcome to use programs like Headspace.
2: Savoring and Journal (H)
- This exercise is based on the work of Fred Bryant, who offers practical advice about creating and evaluating savoring experiences. You'll come up with three experiences to practice Bryant's savoring advice and journal on each. Your journal entry should describe the experience you have chosen and candidly assess whether savoring techniques improved your experience. Schedule this for the 2-3 weeks after the topic comes up in class, though you can start this after Epicurus if you'd like. The readings for this practicum come up between November 17 and 22.
3: Gratitude and Journal (H&W)
- This exercise involves keeping a gratitude journal for a period of three weeks. You don't necessarily turn that in (as it is likely to include some personal things), but you do turn in three journal entries (one for each week) based on the guidelines for this exercise from Emmons & McCullough, which comes up in November.
4: Yoga Experience and Journal (H&W)
- This exercise involves pursuing an experience with yoga over about 4-5 weeks (or all semester if you have a continuous practice) and assessing the effects, if any, of that experience on aspects of daily life that relate to happiness. Your yoga experience may be a beginner's yoga class or a deepening of your current practice. Early journals should focus on the physical and mental exp of different sessions. Try to describe the feeling of a good yoga session both physically and mentally. In later journals, try to notice effects from a good yoga session on interactions and thinking immediately following the session. The readings for this practicum come up in early to mid November.
5: Other spiritual exercises (H&W)
- Design this practicum based on spiritual practice from your religious tradition. For Chrisitanity, you might consider doing a short version of the Ignatian exercises. For Mulims, I have some resources, and would explore more with you. Prayer and religious contemplative practices are historically powerful methods for cultivating wisdom. Consider this practicum especially if you have a strong spiritual practice or would like to explore the connections between your faith life and happiness and wisdom.