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3 ideas from the positive psychology conference

positive psychology total balance

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!

4 thoughts on “3 ideas from the positive psychology conference

  1. Thank you for these simple inspiring ideas. I will try these exercises out. I already have something similar to No1, the three blessings. No2 sounds wonderfully uplifting and will really give me a boost this week. And I know No3 will have the tears flowing 🙂
    Thank you Kate for these wonderful gifts, much love, Heather xxx

  2. This is very sound advice. My first reaction was – who has the time to do that? Then I realized that this is the point. Taking the time to acknowledge the wonder and beauty that comes from outside of myself without taking any personal credit – selflessness. Now the true test putting these to work. Thank You for your post.

  3. Todd says:

    I'm just wondering if anything new and interesting was presented at the conference? These three ideas have been central for nearly 8 years and it feels as if applied positive psychology is almost at a standstill. Can't wait to hear about the innovations…


  4. Kate James says:

    Thanks Heather. I'm glad you enjoyed the tips. I'm sure you'll enjoy no 3 even with the tears!

    You're right Pittsburgh – it's about making the time. Enjoying the journey is the key.

    Good point Todd. I'm not aware of loads of new resources or innovations but what was presented at the conference was some solid research about the effectiveness of the existing interventions so that was pleasing.

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Posted in: positive psychology

I'm Kate James and the owner of Total Balance. I work with people who care about living purposeful, creative lives. My clients want to clarify their personal values, identify their strengths and learn about how they can make a difference in the world in their own unique way.

I run workshops and retreats in Melbourne, Bali and Byron Bay to give you the chance to escape the noise of everyday to discover what really matters to you.