Humans are hardwired to pay attention to negative experiences. We have a propensity to attend to, learn from, and use negative information far more than positive information.


At the heart of positive psychology lies the belief that people can lead happier, more meaningful, and fulfilling lives by moving their focus away from the negative towards a more balanced perspective.

The following exercises can be incorporated into several therapeutic settings to experience the fundamental pillars of positive psychology: the good life, the pleasant life, and the meaningful life.

Check out some exercises below to try at-home.

Intensely Positive Experiences

Writing about intensely positive experiences can result in robust improvements in a variety of indicators of well-being. For instance, positive emotional writing has been shown to enhance positive mood, reduce state anxiety, trait anxiety, and perceived stress while also positively contributing to client coping skills (Burton & King, 2004; Isen, 2001).

Every day for three days, clients are instructed to choose a positive experience from their life, imagine themselves in that moment, and think about the feelings and emotions that they experienced. Clients should write about their experiences in as much detail as possible, paying particular attention to the positive feelings, thoughts, and emotions that were present at the time

Life Story Narrative

Write your life story in three parts: the past, present, and future. Clients can be creative, but it is important to emphasize that their focus should be on their strengths in each of the three sections. Upon completion, clients should share what they’ve written for each part of their life story with the rest of the group or with the practitioner.

Instructions/Writing Prompts
The Past: Write the story of your past. Be sure to describe the challenges you have overcome, and the personal strengths that allowed you to do so.

The Present: Describe your life and who you are right now. How do you differ from your past self? What are your strengths now? How have your strengths evolved? What challenges are you facing? How can you use your strengths to overcome these challenges?

The Future: Write about your ideal future. How will your life be different than it is now? How can you use your strengths to achieve this ideal future? How will your strengths grow? What kind of person do you hope to become? How will you be different than you are now? What would you like to achieve? Finally, how can you go about achieving these things?

Self-Care Vision Board

You should think of as many potential self-care activities as possible, making sure only to include activities you would enjoy completing and that fit with your lifestyle and values. For each activity listed, you should then find inspiring and positive images and brainstorm words and phrases that correspond with their chosen self-care activities.

You can then assemble their vision board and place it in a prominent, visible location to act as a visual representation that reflects ideas for self-care and as a motivator to improve and implement self-care.