Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lesson Plan: Changing Consciousness Experiment

Today in our Psychology class we had a really interesting demonstration about how easy it can be to change your consciousness.  Of course, we began with a discussion of what consciousness actually is--how we experience it, where it resides, how to define it, and different functions it plays for us.

In this experiment, however, we began by having everyone in the room rate his or her level of happiness at that moment in time.  We all gave our current mood a number on a scale of 1 (depths of misery) to 10 (heights of ecstasy).  Then people walked around the room, shaking hands and looking each other in the eye while they sincerely said to each other "I wish you health and well-being."  After several minutes of that, we returned to our seats and checked in our happiness levels again.  Our average happiness assessments rose by a little over one point, or 10% (using the 1-10 scale).  So that is a pretty significant increase in the matter of just a few moments.

It was a great demonstration to these early adolescents that they really can change their moods if they want to--and it is a fairly simple process.  This was only one of the techniques that we talked about.  Of course, we also talked about depression and how when someone is depressed, it can be very hard to get yourself out of that state of mind.  But still, for the average kid (or average adult, for that matter), it is proof that changing your mood can be as simple as saying positives things for a few minutes.

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