I have just spent two inspiring days with my colleague Anne Allardice at Positive Psychology and Well-Being conference in Melbourne. There were some wonderful sessions highlighting the latest research findings in positive psych. We use this methodology in our work at Total Balance so it’s exciting to see that there’s more and more evidence that it really does work to increase happiness and wellbeing (at both a physical and mental level).
Most of the tools that are used are simple and practical. Try the exercises below and see which work best for you.
1. Three Blessings
At the end of each day write down three things that went well today and why. They don’t have to be big things – just make a note of the small pleasures in your day. This is something I do with Chris just as we get into bed most nights. It’s a way of connecting with each other with a positive focus (rather than whingeing about what didn’t go well) and it makes us both reflect on the things that made our days good.
Some examples of my Three Blessings for yesterday:
- One of my gardenias flowered today for the first time in years. It must have been the mulch we put down two weeks ago.
- I loved that I was able to make my sister feel brighter by having a laugh with her on the phone this morning.
- All of the girls from my Last Friday Lunch (more about this in a later post) emailed back to give me feedback about the design question I sent them. I love being in the company of such a wonderful group of like-minded woman.
2. Best Possible Self
Put aside an hour to write about the best possible version of yourself you can imagine. Begin by reflecting on a time when you felt the most happy and confident you have ever felt in your life. Bring as much detail as you can to this memory and then imagine that you can expand on these feelings. Think of a role model who has some of the qualities you really admire in others. Imagine you could easily adopt these qualities and using present tense, write out the version of your ‘best possible self’.
For example: ‘I have just finished speaking at the Positive Psychology conference about mindfulness and meditation. I felt calm and relaxed and really enjoyed the experience. The feedback I had afterwards was wonderful. I am delighted with my life these days – I have the most fulfilling relationships with my three closest friends and with Chris and the girls. I am enjoying my new yoga class and I’m proud of the fact that I have finally had my book published…etc.’
3. Gratitude Letter
Write a letter of thanks to someone who has done something for you that you consider to be special. Make the letter as detailed and as personal as you can and really spell out what it is that you feel so thankful for. Once you have finished, take the letter to that person and read it aloud to them. This is an exercise that usually results in a few tears. But they’re good tears and it is an exercise that’s guaranteed to make both of you feel wonderful! I won’t bother giving you an example of this one…I’m sure you can do this one easily!