Class Notes 04/27

In today’s class we spoke about very important and new topics about the Self-help genre

  • Context of large influences that impact the self help movement
  • Ways in which the self-help genre is embedded in cultural and educational movements.
  • Key terms within self help

Our research project is coming up and Professor Belli spoke about the broader sense of the terrain that’s possible within our research project.

When choosing a topic we should

  • Choose a topic we are personally interested in
  • Research additional information on this topic
  • Try to Narrow down your topic to a small slice and really go in depth

Professor Belli will help us through the research project as well as aid us in refining our topics.

New topics within self-help that may spark and interest for our research projects

Ethics of Self-Help

The Guardian

Self-Help and the Medical/Health Industry


Positive Psychology


APA: American Psychological Association

Martin Seligman the president of the APA since 1999 and the father of positive psychology.

Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living. It studies “positive subjective experience, positive individual traits, and positive institutions … it aims to improve quality of life.” Positive psychology focuses on both individual and societal well-being.

Positive Psychologist choose to focus on strengths rather than remediation.

Remediation is the act of remedying or correcting something that has been corrupted or that is deficient.

GMP: Gross National Product

GDP: Gross Domestic Product (measures both positive and negative product factors)

GHP: Measures well being and happiness.

The country of Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. Bhutan has adopted a policy of GHP since 1974.

Positive Psychology and Self Help have a tense relationship. Positive psychologist like the distance themselves from being associated with the self help genre. Positive psychologist advertise that they have a strengths based approach. They believe they are separate from the self help genre because they are backed up by science.

Sites to find what your strengths are:

Books on Positive Psychology

Grit: In psychology, grit is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state.

Perseverance: persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

The Quantified Self Movement

Quantification: the expression or measurement of the quantity of something.

Quantitative: relating to, measuring, or measured by the quantity of something rather than its quality.

Qualitative: relating to, measuring, or measured by the quality of something rather than its quantity.

Social sciences tend to focus on qualitative.

The quantified self refers both to the cultural phenomenon of self-tracking with technology and to a community of users and makers of self-tracking tools who share an interest in “self-knowledge through numbers.

Life Logging: A  is a personal record of one’s daily life in a varying amount of detail, for a variety of purposes. The record contains a comprehensive dataset of a human’s activities.

Biometric Data: Biometrics are physical or behavioral human characteristics to that can be used to digitally identify a person to grant access to systems, devices or data. Examples of these biometric identifiers are fingerprints, facial patterns, voice or typing cadence

Sentiment Analysis: Sentiment analysis is the use of natural language processing, text analysis, computational linguistics, and biometrics to systematically identify, extract, quantify, and study affective states and subjective information

Due for next class 04/29

Create a new post under “Research Project”

Write a preliminary proposal about the topic your research project will be on.


  • Decide the focus of your project
  • Thing about the manageableness of the project
  • Pick a topic that you personally find interesting
  • Get an overview of your project
  • Share links and citations
  • Dont title your blog post “Research Project” have the title connect to your topic.


Class notes May 20, 2021


Maria- Self conscious of our emotions. Is it good?
What is consciousness? The state of being aware of ur surroundings, thoughts feelings, sensations.
Emotions are brief physical response to stimulus. (blood flow, brain-activity) .
Feeling mental associations, they can not be measured precisely.
Self Conscious I. Self Conscious emotions II
Self Recognition. Understanding of social standards and rules
Embarrassment Pride

Good Side- acknowledge his/her accomplishments and flaws.
Bedside- overwhelming & Blaming

Niyomi- Practice self love
Self love state of appreciation can be different face for each person.
Practice self love-make more mistakes, embrace your past.
Root-self awareness, better understanding.

Aryanna- Self care look like for lower class?
Origin- concepts of self care date back centuries.
Root- Maslows hierarchy of needs.
Increase expansion of the industry.
BIPOC- Blank, indigenous, people of color.
Self care for everyone. Self care is not an excuse to tune out social issues.

Robby- How to obtain acceptable physical health.
Look like, feel on the inside.
Diet, medicine hygiene.
Medical-frequent doctor checkups.
Sleep- Avoid under or over sleeping. Plan a realistic bed time. Take care of good sleeping environment.Exercise daily.
Fitness, mental, physical and time preparation. The importance of commitment.
Conclusion-Understand the value of motivation and commitment. Educate yourself. Take part in Hygiene, medical, sleep, diet, and fitness actions.

Class Notes (5/13)

*Tuesday 5/18 is a college-wide reading day. Our finals week starts Thursday 5/20 with all presentations due. And some will present on the 25th. 


Lighting presentation order

  1. Maria
  2. Niyomi
  3. Anil
  4. Aryanna
  5. Robby
  6. Ajah

Final presentation order

  1. Maria
  2. Niyomi
  3. Aryanna
  4. Robby
  1. Anil
  2. Ajah
  3. Reem 
  4. Crystal 
  5. Courtney

Maria’s presentation

The 2 sides of self-consciousness of emotions 

There is two sides of self-consciousness and self-awareness, and balancing the good from the bad takes self-control


  • Focus on your research question (start your presentation with your research question + an overview so your data is clear)

Niyomi’s Presentation

Practicing Self Love

“Loving oneself” 

Tips on practicing self-love

  • Stop comparison
  • Find your happy place
  • Be nice to others

“People who practice self-love are less likely to suffer from depression.


  • Be very knowledgeable in your topic, not only know the information you include but be able to field and answer questions from Peers.
  • Think of the presentation as an essay (Introduction, Body paragraph with your evidence and argument, and a conclusion of your research)

Anil’s Presentation

Self Esteem During the Adolescence Period

  • Can lead to depression, changes in mood


  • Don’t re-present the research you find, there needs to be analysis of the research that is  filtered through the lens of self-help and the information we learned last semester 

Robby’s Presentation

How to obtain acceptable, Physical Help

Ajah’s Presentation

The Importance Self  Love

Prioritize and trust yourself 

Set boundaries

You’ll attract better quality people if you love you self

  • Next Steps
    PLEASE go back and fully read the research project 
  • Practice your presentation (Time yourself)

REMINDER! SET (Teacher Evaluations) are due today, check your inbox and spam folders, you should have received one for each class

Class Notes: Thursday (04/29)

After taking attendance at the beginning of the class, professor noted the agenda for the day’s class. We took about 20 minutes for peer review on our research topic project, about 5 minutes each for quickly skimming through and dropping a comment on each fellow classmates’ post. Then we looked over our own proposals and gave ourselves a critical comment. Professor also did the same by giving us a little advice and tips on how to improve and to narrow down our topics more.

Then we discuss an overall feedback as a class:

  • Courtney liked how everyone were able to have the title of their research proposal really connect to what their topic was about and what they were saying
  • Reem thought everyone had a personal connection in the topic they chose
  • Professor states that everyone needs to focus more on their topics; key terms; relation to self-help; background research, etc.

Then we moved on to individually doing more research on our topics for the revised proposal post that is due next week.


For Next Week’s Class on Tuesday 05/04 (asynchronous class):

  1. Read – Individual Research for Final Project
  2. Due – Work on revised research proposals & annotations (due Wednesday 05/05)
  3. Class Notes will not be done because we will not meet as a class via Zoom.


For Next Week’s Class on Thursday 05/06:

  1. Read – Individual Research for Final Project
  2. Due – Revised Research Proposals & Annotated Sources (due Wednesday 05/05)
  3. Class Notes will be done by Courtney.



Congratulations to the winner of the people’s choice this week, Courtney!

Professor reminded us that the meditation assignment and the holistic essay are due on Tuesday April 27 (to be submitted via drop box as ONE Microsoft Word Attachment, the essay goes first followed by the 14 days meditation journal/free writing).

The ESSAY is a holistic free writing that makes connections to the topics discussed each week in class. It is a 5 to 7 pages double space reflective essay. The Works Cited page does NOT count as part of the 5-7 pages. The citation of the sources must be MLA format as well as the essay, that means:

Indent the first line of each paragraph,

1 inch  margin on all sides,

Normal size font (12),

Header on the first page,

Title on the center.

Name, professor’s name, class code, and date on the upper-left hand corner of the first page.


Must mention/quote the specific meditation app and meditation session.

The free writing of each day meditation should be somehow separated, to differentiate each day session.


There were presentations of self help critique on the following order: Robby, Crystal, Maria, Ajah and Aryanna.

Robby:  His presentation had the title of “ The Effectiveness of Self Help”

Some main ideas were:

A good self-help program has methods with high success rates.

It is important to check credentials of the author.

If the program is a good match for you will depend on race, age, personality, etc.

Crystal: Her presentation was entitled “ Issues with the Self-Help Industry”

Some main ideas were:

“Self-help is not scientifically validated.”

“There are 2 types of people in the self-help area, the ones looking for help and the ones who look for avoidance of not feeling guilty of their bad habits.”

Self-help is a contradiction because what works for one person, might not work for the next.

Maria: “Self-Help Critique”

Some main ideas were:

There are no regulations nor guidelines for self-help published materials.

There is business in self-help and in anti-self-help merchandise.

Some authors argue  that what is wrong is our environment and not us. However, changing of the world we inhabit is a daunting prospect.  And perhaps this is the reason why people “conform” to only change themselves instead.

Ajah: Her presentation was named: “Self-love”

Some main ideas were:

“You cannot love anyone if you cannot love yourself first.”

“Having more self-compassion builds resilience in the face of adversity, helping people to recover more quickly from trauma.”

“Depression and anxiety are opposite states.”

Aryanna: Does self Help = Self Inadequacy

Some main ideas were:

“Constantly looking to improve yourself, can lead to a feeling of inadequacy.”

Self Help practices lack an answer to the “why” and “what’s next.”

Self-help blames the victim. Gurus promote that you are in charge of everything in your life, but that simply is not true.”



Zone of Proximal Development and Scaffolding by Lev Vygotsky: Refers to the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can achieve with guidance and encouragement from a skilled partner.

Vygotsky believed that when a student is in the zone of proximal development for a particular task, providing the appropriate assistance will give the student enough of a “boost” to achieve the task.



Class notes Tuesday April 20th 2021

We first discussed who will be presenting in order of first second and so on.
The order was
8- Reem

We talked about explorative research-learn the landscape key terms-second round of research (redux)
A good website to use would be Google Scholar

First presentation would be Courtney and her Topic was Schizophrenia vs Meditation.
-Some would characterize as crazy.
-Mental Atrophy (loose part of your brain).
-Painful memorize.
-Insomnia ,Negative side effects of meditation
-Different side effects of meditation were listed.
-Warning about mediation (precautions and negative side effects).
-Schizophrenia is widely understood.
-A book called living thoughts (encouraged everyone to take a look at it)
-Meditation can be abused.

Introducing the topic (interest, significance-linking two terms together; research- question, introduction; citations, connect the dots (the “so what”)?

Niyomi went next.
First article talked about The lost art of concentration.
Second article talked about you will have the emotional reboot.
Third article talked about Stop beating yourself up.

Need citations for sources (both in-text and works cited at end)-but also integrated in to the discussion. Introduce the title, author, in the discussion, Each slide is like a body paragraph (each with a main idea, topic sentence/claim, evidence/analysis).

I then presented last. My topic was Finding yourself.

Who are you?
This question can come up a-lot and in a variety of different ways. You and only you know the answer to this question. Not a parent, sibling, teacher no one.

My first article talked about the past and how it has different ways of shaping you into who you are today. Painful early experiences carve you into how you define and defend yourself.
We grow up feeling on the defense or resistant to trying new challenges. According to the article, we need to get down to the root of what us causing this in order to break it.

My second article talked about Finding yourself is harder than you think.
You often reference other when people when you are discovering yourself.
According to the article you define you, no one else.

My third article discussed why finding yourself is important for a fulfilling life.
Doing things on your own can be beneficial to you.
Travel, it opens up your mind to new things.
Spending time alone, just to look and reflect on yourself and your thoughts.

We need to in other words, do a deeper dive in to our research. Next Class we will continue working on our presentations.

Class notes 4/15/2021

– For Peoples Choice make sure you write exactly why you like your classmates posts and not “I like the post” or “it was interesting”.
– Reading and engaging in people’s post
About Event

– Asia enjoyed  it because it was very educational she liked how each participant talked about their experiences during the pandemic.
– Maria didn’t know what to expect she thought the event was going to be different
– For the spoken word portion of the event Maria thought she was a singer because she was trying to rhyme.                                                                                                                                – Anil thought that the spoken word was interesting
-Reem says that she had a lot of energy and was charismatic.
Ideology- a system of beliefs
“Ideology innocent”: techniques that are presented or promoted of value neutral
When you have a pen it allows you to write 

-Certain tools doesn’t allow us to do certain things, when we use mindfulness then we are being affected by the ideology it presents
– The gun is enabling a tool that allows people to blast at other people
The third part of the course is going to be our own research. The final project is going to be an individual research about any self help topic.
– Figure out what topic of self help you want to pursue and start your research , it can be something that you want to know more about or a way to improve yourself in that topic
– We would be told to do a proposal about the topic we picked and we would need to get an approval from our instructor, Find 3 self help critiques secondary sources (be creative) that deals with self help and that is challenging and critical.

We will be doing a 5-7 min presentation about what articles we chose and a summary of each(PowerPoint)







Class notes April 13th

Starting out class discussing who will be doing class notes for the following week.
April 20th Tuesday I will Be going again
April 22nd Thursday Reem
April 27th Tuesday Ajah

Discussed our personal Blogs
Needs to be categorized Appropriately (correct if needed)
Title to focus your attention
Title your blog so its specific to your post

Challenge yourself going forward

Reflecting on our personal Projects / Checking up on how it is going.
The goal is to be complete
Quality and insight
Consistent and engaging
Your blog needs to be clear. Must show date, time and category. What session did you do?
Challenge yourself to engage.

We then divided into groups to discuss the articles which we identified key points.

Ronald Purser
-Meditation is more like (focus on) self control.
-Everything is not what it seems.
-The way mindfulness is attached

Forgetting about yourself/ it is not what it seems.
“With its promises of assisting everyone with anything and everything, the mistake of the mindfulness movement is to Present its impersonal mode of awareness as a superior or university useful one”.
“Magic Panacea”

Majority of Apps have have a subscription meaning mindfulness has been oversold and commodify.
Trending the symptoms, not the Root cause Chief Happiness officers.

(Purser) Treating the symptoms, not the root cause

“But anything that offers success in our unjust society without trying to change it is not revolutionary – just helps people cope. In fact, it could also be making things worse. Instead of encouraging radical action, mindfulness says the causes of suffering are disproportionately inside us, not in the political and economic frameworks that shape how we live. And yet mindfulness zealots believe that paying closer attention to the present moment without passing judgment has the revolutionary power to transform the whole world. Its magical thinking on steroids”.

“Mindfulness, like positive psychology and the boarder happiness industry, has depoliticized stress”.

Next class will be the People choice and who will be attending the 40th Annual literary Arts Festival-2021, have your blog up and ready for discussion.
Continue on with your meditation project.

Class Notes: Thursday (04/08)

After taking attendance at the beginning of the class, professor noted the agenda for the day’s class. Then we moved on to a daily meditation as a class from the app call Calm. After doing the about 10-minute meditation, we were asked to do a 5-minute freewriting prompt, “How do you hold space for difficult or strong emotions?” But we defined and explained the freewriting prompt first before we individually did it.

  • Holding space is providing a space to allow whatever arises in your feelings to just be there and allowing it pass through you.

Then we were asked by professor to feel free to share our reflection in our freewriting, where the following students below shared, and they connected with it the “Power of Now:”

  • Maria – Having strong or difficult emotions is acknowledging them. Relates to “actionless activity” (Tolle 215)
  • Reem – There can not always be a balance of emotions or else everything will be dull. You really have to feel different emotions to know what way those emotions really mean to us, in if it is difficult or not. The way you hold space is realizing that it is part of a bigger process that makes us differentiate and accept them to pass.
  • Aryanna – You have to acknowledge your emotions and why you are feeling those emotions, on if it was an event or past memory that took place to cause you to feel those emotions. You are not the emotion, for it something that cause it for you to feel the way you do. Once you deal with that, then you deal with the emotion, where each time you will get better.

SAIN- Stop Acknowledge Investigate Non-Identification

We then went on to speak about the meditation assignment some more on the guidelines, instructions and how to submit it. Then we moved on to group discussions for about 20 minutes on the book, “The Power of Now.” We were placed in groups of three, with a total of 3 groups.

  • Group 1 consists of Aryanna, Reem and Robby.
  • Group 2 consists of Courtney, Niyomi and I.
  • Group 3 consists of Anil, Crystal and Maria.

After the group discussions, we came back together as a class and briefly spoke about the main ideas of “The Power of Now:”

  • observing the thinker, accepting current situation, non-judging, non-activity
  • Tolle pg. 228 (1)
  • Tolle pg. 22: addiction to thinking (compulsive thinking)
  • duality of everything
  • suffering / happiness
  • chapter 2: negative emotions feeding negative emotions.

NB: We will further discuss more of the main ideas in the next class.

For Next Week’s Class on Tuesday 04/13:

  1. Read – “The Mindfulness Revolution” (Kate Pickert), “The Mindfulness Conspiracy” (Ronald Purser), and “The Problem of Mindfulness” (Sahanika Ratnayake)
  2. Due – Reading Response #8: Mindfulness & Its Critiques (categorize as “self-help critiques”), Work on Meditation Assignment
  3. (Optional) Extra Credit Opportunity: Literary Arts Festival (attend event & blog by start of class on Th 4/15)
  4. Class Notes will be done by Anil.

Class Notes – 4/6

Class began with meditation on “Acceptance” Daily Calm

The goal of the meditation was to stay focused and repeatedly bring ourselves back instead of zoning out.

After meditation we were to write a response regarding our experience and a response to the question “How can you soften resistance for what can’t be changed right now”.

To soften resistance the general answer was to learn to accept no matter how tough it may be and work on a strategy. Everything can be accepted.

Blog post due before next class Thursday, April 8th.
Explain what you expect to come out of the upcoming assignment on meditation due April 27th, the expectations may be worries, hopes or fears. Also pick a meditation program/app and explain why you chose that one along with an explanation to what you evaluated with links(make sure to evaluate at least 3 different apps/programs). It is preferred you do a guided meditation that is at least 10 minutes a day (Longer than that or multiple sessions is encouraged) Keep a log of the experience along with your reflective journaling before and after.

Good apps to explore:
-Incite time
-Head space
-Calm app

Next class we will spend time towards the end of the class discussing the book (The Power of Now). Make sure you have a clear understanding of all the chapters as they will be discussed. Keep in mind while reviewing where the book relates to meditation.

Next class notes – Ajah