Resilience through Positive Psychology Activities
by Dr. Candy Fresacher
Positive psychology activities offer people the chance to increase their tolerance to negative events by concentrating on some of the positive events going on around them daily. There are many possibilities available to become more aware of the good things that are happening in our lives. Below you will find just a few of these.
- Count your blessings: Become more aware of the positive in your life by writing down three events or actions you experienced during the day for which you are grateful before you go to bed at night. These three things should be different each time you write about them since every day can produce other areas of thankfulness.
- Similar to “count your blessings” is to take pictures of people, places, events that make you happy. Keep these in an electronic file or create a print album so that you can take them out and look at them when you are not feeling so great.
- Keep a positivity portfolio: Similar to the activity taking pictures collect anything that makes you happy and create a scrap book or digital album. This can include music you love, a picture of your favorite place to sit, a drawing one of your children made for you, or a symbol that represents an accomplishment of which you are proud. Use your imagination to savor the things that have brought meaning, accomplishment and happiness in your life. Again, you will have it later to remind you of all those positive memories.
- Yet another possibility is to count the positive communications you have had during the day. Who were you with and how well did the dialogue go? Again, reflecting and writing at the end of the day before going to bed leads to positive thoughts before sleep.
- Laughter: be sure to laugh at least once a day. How can you be sure to find something to laugh about? Check out YouTube videos or internet jokes. Try laughter yoga. Watch the TED Talk done by Dr. Madan Kataria the inventor of the system (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hf2umYCKr8 ). Or just practice saying: ‘Hi, hi, hi, ha, ha, ha and ho, ho, ho,‘out loud, maybe even in the shower so no one will hear you. You do not need to really have your brain engaged in order to receive the benefits from the physical effects of laughter. Try it with friends and your physical laughing exercise will turn into real common laugh.
- Be aware of how you respond to others. If someone tells you of their own achievements, be sure to encourage them to tell you more. Use dynamic listening skills to show your interest and ask in-depth questions about how they felt about their achievement. This is called active constructive dialogue and has been shown to improve people’s life satisfaction levels.
- Write a letter to someone you are thankful to. It should be about 300 words and be written on nice paper. Once it has been written it should be read aloud to the person who it was written to. Research shows that both parties have very positive emotions during and long after such a meeting.
- Loving-kindness meditation opens your brain and heart to others as well as yourself. It increases your well being and leads to physical changes in the vagus nerve which actually connects brain and heart.
Try it out and let us know how it worked! Thank you J
Dr. Candy Fresacher, an American living in Austria for the past 35 years, has been teaching at various vocational colleges in Vienna for the past 23 years. In the past years she has become involved in teacher training as part of her position on the board and as Chair of TEA (Teachers of English in Austria). She has also edited their ELT News, a journal designed to disseminate information about new teaching trends and ideas to teachers of English in Austria and abroad. She has presented in Beijing, Manila, USA and throughout Europe as well as published a number of articles including, for example, in the online site Humanizing Language Teaching.