Our mentors and page authors are not necessarily psychologists or therapists. Even when they are, this page is not medical or psychological advice and they are not creating a doctor/therapist-client relationship. You should consult a professional if possible and they can tell you whether this advice applies to your situation. If this is an emergency, you should call your national emergency number, like 911, or a mental health hotline, like 1-800-950-6264.

Much of CBT focuses on changing and rewriting negative thoughts so that you can lead a more balanced and happy life. Positive psychology tools work on taking you from a neutral state to a more positive one by adding more positivity into your life. These work best when followed long-term and regularly.

  1. Gratitude journal: One of the most hailed positive psychology tools, gratitude journals are easy to do, but hard to stick to. Try to write down 1-3 things that you are grateful for every single day. If you can’t do it every day, do it whenever you can with the goal to build up to every day. If you have a habit tracker, track how often you make entries in your gratitude journal and try to improve the frequency.

  2. Reliving positive moments: Many of us increase our stress, anxiety, anger, and sadness by reliving bad moments over and over. Instead of this, try retraining your mind to relive positive moments over and over. After a while, your brain will learn to memorize and track positive moments more and you’ll be a happier person. You can do this by taking some time every day to remember the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of your favorite memory from that day. Or you can really be mindful and focus on the memory while writing the summary down in your gratitude journal. At the end of the week, try to find something from your gratitude journal from the last week or month and remember it or relive it.

  3. Say and Notice Attainable Goals: Every week, assign yourself three attainable tasks for the next week. Then do them. Notice you’ve done them and take some time to mentally reward yourself and feel happy for your accomplishments. Eventually, work your way down to being able to do three tasks a day that you attain every single day.

  4. Acts of Kindness: Do something nice for someone else. It should be whole-hearted, generous, and done without the expectation of anything back—even thanks. For example, you could volunteer with us [link] or another volunteer organization. Putting a smile on someone else’s face can help put a smile on yours.

  5. Daily Three Questions Exercise: A twist on the gratitude journal, answer three questions in your diary every day: What moved you? What surprised you? What inspired you? Start with things that are easier to notice and then as the days progress, move to things that are harder to notice.

  6. My Best Self/Signature Strengths Exercise: Take a piece of paper and write down everything you think you’re good at. You can start by just brain dumping everything that crosses your mind. Then finish these three sentences: “I am at my best when…” “When I’m at my best, I am…” and When I’m at my best, I do these actions:” For example, I am at my best when playing the piano. When I’m at my best, I am excited, happy, and creative. When I’m at my best, I put my whole heart and soul into what I’m doing, I compose different types of music, and I brighten other’s moods. Then ask 2-3 other people to answer these questions about you and write down what they think you’re best at and how you act and feel when you’re at your best. Return to these pages others wrote about you in your dark moments.

  7. Morning Page: In the morning, take a blank piece of paper and write as beautifully as you possibly can about anything you want to: your feelings, the color of the sky, your worries, anything. Make it literary, thoughtful, stream of conscious. Just get it on the page. You’ll find it helps increase your creative and calm throughout the day.

  8. Find humor/reframe: If things are pretty bleak, allow yourself to make dark jokes. Find others going through similar situations and laugh about it. Find the silver lining and the ways your experiences might make you stronger or offer new opportunities in the future. Try to never take anything in life too seriously.


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