Five Positive Psychology Exercises to Try

In our experience, the best way to find out which positive psychology exercises are most effective for you is to try them out. You might want to make some notes about how you feel before and after each one. Sometimes you might notice some immediate benefits, other times you may find the benefits occur gradually over time.

Our favourite positive psychology exercises:

  1. Experience gratitude: Write down three things you are grateful for, write and send a letter to someone you are grateful to, or tell someone else about something you feel gratitude about.
  2. Savour: Enhance an experience of positive emotion by physically demonstrating the emotion you feel (leap for joy), focus all your attention on treasuring and being “in the moment” with this experience, celebrate, remember past positive events or anticipate future positive events. You can choose to savour by yourself or with others.
  3. Counting kindness: Keep a log of all the kind acts that you do in a particular day. Jot them down by the end of each day.
  4. Three good things: Jot down three things that went well for you each day and give an explanation as to why these good things occurred.
  5. Use your signature strengths in a new way: Take the VIA Survey that asks you about your character strengths. Choose one of your highest strengths (your signature strengths) and use it in a new way each day. Click here for tips on how to use any of the 24 character strengths in a new way.

Listen to psychology professor Paul Jose on his research into happiness and meaningfulness in life, “’Paul Jose – Happiness and meaningfulness”, on Radio New Zealand.