07 Apr 5 Activities For a More Positive Mind
Maha Souman, MSW
We all find it much easier to simply focus on the negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences than those positive ones. We tend to focus more, pay attention to, and value those negative aspects much more than any positive ones.
Many individuals battling these negative thoughts are unaware of the positive experiences or the happiness that may lie within their day to day lives. Psychology research has shown time and again the power of positive thinking and the increase of happiness an individual can experience, resulting in much more meaningful lives and more powerful relationships.
In this blog, you will find research-based activities that can guide you to move your focus away from the negative and toward a more positive and balanced perspective that will potentially enrich and enhance your quality of life.
Activity #1: Passengers on the bus
The goal of this activity is to allow you to see that you are in control of your own thoughts, memories, emotions, and actions and figure out just how much power you want to give to each one.
Passengers on a Bus
You are the driver of a bus, the bus symbolizes your mind, and your thoughts are represented by passengers. On your journey, some passengers sit quietly while others make critical and distracting comments, or shout directions as you drive.
You can choose how you react to the passengers just as you can decide how to respond to thoughts. You can allow those passengers to shout and chatter noisily, while still keeping your attention focused on the journey towards your goal.
During the day, you may want to ask yourself, “Which passenger is being intrusive and distracting?” and “How much power should I give to this one passenger during my journey?”
Activity #2- Self-Compassion Time
The goal of this activity is to create a more self-compassionate attitude and reaction in difficult times. The Self-Compassion Time can be used as a starting point to help you create a more self-compassionate attitude while catching positive emotions easily.
Take the time during your busy day to stop for a moment and focus on your breathing while you inhale and exhale. Next, you should place your hands on your body – reminding yourself that while this is a difficult moment, suffering is a part of life. It can be beneficial for you to create soothing phrases that are personal and meaningful to you, such as “I accept myself as I am” or “May I forgive myself for this mistake just as I would forgive others.”
Activity #3: Silver Lining
The goal of this activity is to focus on the positive characteristics of negative life events. Taking the time to consider that challenging life events can be beneficial or helpful in some ways can enhance resilience and create a new sense of purpose to your experience.
When experiencing a negative event, encourage yourself the free expression of any and all emotions and thoughts you have about the experience.
On completion of this step, your attention should then be focused on the positive aspects of the experience. You may ask yourself questions such as, “What has the experience taught you?” and “How has the experience made me better equipped to meet similar challenges in the future?”
Activity # 4: Daily Motivation
The goal of this activity is to help you develop and increase awareness of your motivation in daily life.
To begin the Daily Motivation activity, you should take a few moments throughout the day to think about the things that excite and motivate you to action, then write them down. In doing so, you have the opportunity to refer back to the activity and reflect upon the extent to which your motivation is self-determined.
Activity # 5: Your Own Example of Forgiveness
The goal of this activity is to help you focus on the benefits of forgiveness. Forgiveness can be identified as a key positive individual trait. Research has shown that forgiveness is negatively related to psychological distress and positively associated with life satisfaction and relationship health.
Your Own Example of Forgiveness
To begin this activity, try to describe a story of forgiveness – this could be from a children’s story, fable, or movie plot. You should then explain why you think the offender committed the transgression and why the victim chose to forgive.
Then write down the ways in which the victim may have benefited from the act of forgiveness. Then think about a time when you forgave someone and write down the benefits you experienced.
Changing your perspective from a negative outlook to a more positive one can be difficult and will take a lot of practice and time. Don’t forget patience when practicing any of these activities!