These exercises from positive psychology will provide an effective and easy way for you to increase your well-being and overall satisfaction.
There are a lot of everyday things that you can do and foods that you can eat to boost happiness – draw a hot bath, enjoy a good chocolate, go for a coffee with a friend or even sleep it off. Unfortunately, these remedies for happiness provide nothing more than temporary relief and aren’t always available at your every whim to give you a boost.
The solution: positive psychology! The following five techniques are often used by psychologists as a therapeutic method and are applicable to individuals of all ages as well as groups, employees and even students.
1. Three things therapy
This exercise is quite simple to do and certainly won’t take much time out of your day. Allow a time period for this exercise, for example, one week, in which you commit to write down three good or funny things that happened each day. Elaborate on your entries and include an in-depth description of why or how each thing happened and the manner in which it lifted your mood. This could be something as simple as someone smiling at your or receiving a gift – as long as it makes you feel good or made you laugh, jot it down.
At the end of the allotted timeslot, review everything you’ve written in the journal. This three things therapy exercise from positive psychology will help you reflect on the important things in your life and will help harvest a gratitude for the good experiences and laughter you enjoyed throughout the day – after all, it’s the little things that count!
2. Gratitude is a gift
Take some time out to write a letter of gratitude to someone who you’ve never thanked properly for an act of kindness or nice gesture or a person who has really made an impact on you by being kind. Describe to them why you are grateful for having them around and what difference they’ve made in your life.
Give yourself a timeframe within which the letter must be delivered. Although this will take a leap of faith from your side, the results of this positive psychology technique will be liberating as you are forced to confront your genuine feelings towards others who care about you.
3. Balloon boost
Get a piece of paper and draw a few thought balloons on the page. In each balloon, write something about yourself that you don’t like. Although this is a difficult exercise, the awareness of your inner critic and how this can hamper your self-development and a positive frame of mind will make the reflection on this exercise worth it. This also encourages self-compassion and forgiveness as you begin to realize how harsh you are on yourself and what you could do to encourage and uplift yourself in difficult times. When critical thoughts arise, work through them and challenge the belief to see how you can improve and support yourself better.
4. Keeping up with kindness
A kindness journal sounds like a strange exercise to boost happiness, but by keeping track of the kind gestures you witness in everyday life, the kind gestures that you do for other people and the nice things that other people do for you, you’ll quickly be reminded of the good that still exists in the world. The positive psychology technique of tracking kindness is tailored to encourage optimism and hope, as well as feelings of gratitude and appreciation. A kindness journal is also an inspiring activity that can be shared with friends and family to help inspire, spread hope and boost happiness.
5. Be your best possible self
The best possible self (BPS) exercise is one in which you imagine yourself in the future with the best possible outcomes in mind. This could range from financial success to career goals, family goals or even just skills that you would like to develop. By verbalizing and recording your thoughts on the ideal future you, a newfound optimism will begin surfacing and this will even manipulate you into actively pursuing the future that you hope for – with persistence, development and positive psychology exercises to increase your well-being, you will be well on your way to making these future dreams a reality.
Take 10 minutes each time to write about a future you. Afterwards, reflect on your feelings and think about how what you’ve written can motivate you, how you can achieve these goals and how you can overcome any obstacles you might face. A boost of happiness is just a positive psychology exercise away! Make these easy but effective techniques part of your daily routine for a healthier, happier you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marcus has a degree in psychology, a master degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS, as well as private organizations. Marcus started psysci, a psychology and science blog, in order to disseminate research into bitesize, meaningful and helpful resources.