Be Calm Be Happy Course Description:
This 6-week group mindfulness course is designed to help you develop and deepen your own practice of mindfulness, following the teachings of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, to generate happiness and well-being and relieve the stresses and strains of everyday life.
Each group session will be interactive and engaging, using a mixture of guided meditations, group discussions, and practical exercises, including opportunities to practise new skills in a group setting. Between the six sessions, you will be encouraged to use mindfulness practices to bring more peace and joy into your daily life.
“This has been a life-changing experience.”
“What I have gained from the course has given me real optimism for a calmer and happier future.”
Be Calm, Be Happy is run by Plum Village UK, a charity created to share the mindfulness teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh (often referred to as ‘the Father of Western Mindfulness’, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. and author of numerous best-selling books). Our Course Leaders are experienced practitioners trained to empower you with mindfulness skills for life, which can support personal and community well-being.
Mindfulness is a way of experiencing life with increased calm and happiness. It is rooted in Buddhist meditation, with effects verified by neuroscience, and as such is open to non-Buddhists and Buddhists alike – everyone is welcome.
This Be Calm, Be Happy course is facilitated over 6 consecutive 2-hour sessions on Thursday evenings from 2nd November to 7th December 7-9 pm, at Collingham Memorial Hall, Main Street, Collingham, West Yorkshire LS22 5AS. The venue has step-free access.
In the six sessions of the course, we explore the following themes:
Week 1 – Stopping and calming
We will learn about
- the benefits of mindfulness.
- the importance of being present in the moment
- how this can help to reduce stress and anxiety
- simple breathing techniques to focus our attention and calm our minds
Week 2 – Turning to the positive
- the mind’s negativity bias and how to shift our focus from negative thoughts and emotions to positive ones
- gratitude journaling
- appreciation of the conditions of happiness already available to us
Week 3 – Loving communication
- how to communicate mindfully
- deep listening and loving speech
- how to build better relationships with others
Week 4 – Nourishing happiness
- how to nourish happiness through mindful eating and other sensory inputs
- bringing mindfulness to sensory experiences, such as listening to music or spending time in nature
- seeing the effects of what we eat or consume
Week 5 – Interdependence and community
- exploring the interconnectedness of all things
- how to cultivate a sense of compassion for all beings
- the concept of interdependence (‘interbeing’) and how it can be practised in daily life
Week 6 – Guidelines for a happier life
- ethical trainings towards happiness
- the ethical guidelines that underpin mindfulness practice in Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings
- how to live these principles in everyday life.
Throughout the course, you will be encouraged to develop and deepen your own practice of mindfulness, both in the group setting and at home, by learning how to integrate mindfulness into your daily life and consider what will support your ongoing practice.
You will have the opportunity to connect with others who are also interested in mindfulness and well-being. You will have access to resources and support to help you on your journey, including how to find supportive groups and communities (sanghas).
You will be encouraged to cultivate a greater awareness of the present moment, learning how to observe thoughts and emotions without judgement, and practise being fully present in daily life. You will learn how to cultivate a sense of inner peace and live in harmony with the world around you.
You will be encouraged and supported to set realistic personal goals and develop a daily practice. By the end of the course, you will have a deeper understanding of mindfulness, self- compassion, and interdependence. You will have developed practical skills to manage stress and improve relationships and will have a strong foundation for ongoing personal growth and development. You will be well prepared to participate in sangha activities, as well as further courses, sessions and retreats offered by Plum Village UK.
Feedback from previous participants
“The supportiveness of the whole group was lovely, and I was surprised to be able to feel that with an online course. I came away from each session feeling calm and happy.”
“Thank you so much for assisting me to further my journey in such a lovely, peaceful way”
“I’ve experienced a very real shift in my ability to be present and enjoy simple things”
“I feel more in control of how I approach my life situations, especially the challenges of caring for others and feeling alone”
Course Leader – Lauri Bower
Lauri has been practising meditation for over 30 years and met Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings in 2006, from which point she committed to putting mindfulness practice at the centre of her life
From 2008-12 she researched a PhD on Thich Nhat Hanh and his teachings of Mindfulness and Engaged Buddhism. With her PhD complete Lauri began teaching mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) courses and is delighted to bring this experience to courses devoted to the Plum Village mindfulness tradition. Mindfulness has become a crucial aspect of Lauri’s life and she has experienced first-hand the transformational aspects of peacefulness, calm and clarity that this practice generates. She has many years’ experience of running and organising retreats.
She teaches the Be Calm Be Happy and Looking Deeply courses, and Mindful Writing Workshops. She is firmly committed to the Plum Village approach to mindfulness and received the transmission of the 14 Mindfulness Trainings at Plum Village in 2014 to become an Order member. Her True name is True Mountain of Non-Fear.
Lauri also has a creative practice as a paper collage artist and finds the combination of mindfulness and creativity fit together extremely well. Her creative work (poetry, handmade books and cards and original artwork) can be viewed from her website. Lauri lives in Yorkshire and practises with the York Sangha.