Oh, the joys of May! There is no snow, more sunlight, the leaves turn green again and people peak out of their winter shells. We at The Edge want to help get that serotonin flowing by getting you in a positive frame of mind, and what better way to do that than through these easy psych exercises created by famous psychologists. They can be done anywhere and don’t require more than a pen and a sheet of paper, a tablet, or a computer.
This is an exercise by psychologist Jennice Vilhauer, Ph.D. She is the developer of Future Directed Therapy and the author of Think Forward to Thrive: How to Use the Mind’s Power of Anticipation to Transcend Your Past and Transform Your Life.
- Keep a notepad or journal beside your bed, and, everyday for 30 days before sleeping, write three things you liked about yourself that day. It doesn’t have to be the big things like “I won an award” but can be “I didn’t lose my temper in traffic today.”
- The next morning, read the list before you get out of bed.
A second psych exercise is by Kelly McGonigal, health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University. She is the author of The Willpower Instinct and The Upside of Stress.
- Think about a challenge or setback that you have experienced.
- Write a compassionate letter to yourself about this experience in the second person.
- Allow yourself to remember the situation and acknowledge your feelings, thoughts, and needs about it.
- See where your experience is part of the human condition, and offer yourself a message of support, love, and encouragement.
Ryan Niemiec, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist, certified coach, author, and international workshop leader. He is also the Education Director of the VIA Institute on Character and the author of Mindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing (2014).
- Find out what your character strengths are by taking the VIA Survey. Then choose one of your favorite strengths and brainstorm new ways to use it every day.
And another exercise by Ryan Niemiec, Psy.D.
- Think of someone in your life who you appreciate having around. Write them a heartfelt letter detailing what you love and appreciate about them, what they have brought into your life, and why you are grateful to have them around.
This is an exercise by psychologist and best-selling author Shawn Achor called ‘The Doubler.’ Achor is an American happiness researcher, author, and speaker known for his advocacy of positive psychology. He authored The Happiness Advantage and founded GoodThink, Inc.
- Take one positive experience from the past 24 hours and spend two minutes writing down every detail about that experience. As you remember it, your brain labels it as meaningful and deepens the imprint.
Nezha Boutamine | The Edge Blog