17 Highest Rated Positive Psychology Tools

The present blogspot will answer the question “what are the 17 highest rated positive psychology tools?”.  It will discuss in detail the various tools used as therapeutic interventions while working with clients in positive psychology. It will enlist the 17 highest rated positive psychology tools and discuss their usage.

What are the 17 highest rated positive psychology tools?

The 17 highest rated positive psychology tools are as follows:

  • The signature strength action plan
  • The self-compassion pause
  • Sensory awareness
  • Benefit Finding
  • Gratitude by mental elimination
  • Self care vision board
  • The guest house poem
  • Colored candy go around
  • Daily motivational awareness
  • Strength based life story
  • The quicksand anxiety metaphor
  • Gratitude journal
  • Bulls Eye Value Survey
  • Expression of good and bad memories
  • Satisficing instead of maximizing
  • Three blessings a day
  • Developing Practical Intelligence

The signature strength action plan exercise of positive psychology

The signature strength action plan exercise is one of the 17 highest rated exercises used in positive psychology. This exercise is focused upon identification of a target strength to work upon, setting a realistic short term goal to work towards devising a committed action plan to work towards the target strength and achieve the goal.

For example, a client might be interested in working with the strength of self-acceptance. As a target strength, acceptance calls for a short term goal to be reached by the client and a committed action plan that enables the client to accept the self as a whole.

The self-compassion pause exercise of positive psychology

The goal of self compassion pause is to work towards a more compassionate attitude in an individual across various life spheres. Practicing self compassion leads to an increased life satisfaction and subjective well-being in a client. Such clients have a tendency of easily accessing the positive emotions and minimizing negative reactions.

Research evidence also suggests that clients with a greater sense of self compassion treat themselves with kindness and are less prone to negative reactions in uncertain situations (Allen & Leary,2010). 

Further research evidence also suggests that self-compassion leads to recognizing and practicing positive emotions more often. It also leads to improved satisfaction of life among the clients, enhanced subjective well-being and a greater socialization.

The self compassion exercise works best with clients undergoing daily life stress or phase of life issues.

Sensory awareness exercise of positive psychology

Sensory awareness is a type of exercise used in positive psychology that is based upon engaging with sensory modalities and paying attention to sensory information. The goal of sensory awareness is to facilitate clients identify the various experiences in daily life that are pleasurable for them and that decrease their subjective feeling of discomfort based on the 5 senses of touch, sight, sound, vision and sight. 

Jones  (2011) stated that exercising mindfulness greatly facilitates the sensory awareness of among clients. He proposed that being mindful of sensory experiences creates a mental space that is more focused towards sensory experiences around us.

Small experiences of mindfulness involving the 5 senses, like moments of intimacy, feelings of water against the skins, smell of baby powder, smell of fresh roses, sight of a hill station while going home and taste of a freshly baked pasta are all examples of sensory awareness that increase comfort and gratification.

Benefit Finding exercise of positive psychology

The benefit finding exercise in positive psychology is mainly  related to self reflection, resilience building and resolving trauma. The benefit finding exercise is aimed at creating an insight in the minds of the clients about the positive aspects of negative and uncertain life events.

Research studies have also advocated the impact of benefit finding exercise of positive psychology for resolving trauma to have lasting results in life. Finding meaning and benefit from unpredictable and unassumed negative life events has certain effects on subjective well-being including improved purpose in life, strengthened resilience, better interpersonal relationships and intrapersonal skills (Affleck & Tennen, 1996).

In this exercise the client is first instructed by the therapist to talk freely about the negative event or negative phase of life and express all the feelings spontaneously without interruption. After that, the therapist draws the client’s attention to the positive aspects of the negative event. This helps facilitate the client to focus on the benefits gained from an unpredicted event and unpleasant event.

The major focus is the learning the client has gained form the incident to meet similar future incidents.

Gratitude by mental elimination exercise of positive psychology

The main objective of gratitude by mental elimination exercise of positive psychology is  to help clients live a life full of gratitude by being mindful of their blessings and positivity in life. This exercise also aids the clients in reducing the habit of taking things for granted in life. The outcome of gratitude by mental elimination exercise is increased gratitude in life. 

Research studies have also focused on the fact that subtracting the occurrence of a positive event in life and pondering over  life without the occurrence of that event often increases the value of that event and the effect of the positive outcomes of that event in life (Koo, Algoe, Wilson & Gilbert, 2008). 

The client is instructed to think of one simple positive thing/event in life.after that they are instructed to think of their life without that positive event in life. They are facilitated to think of ways their life would have been different in the absence of those positive events. Thus the client is reminded how fortunate they have been with the occurrence of a positive event in their life.

Self care vision board exercise of positive psychology

The self care vision board is aimed at increasing compassion, better self care, enhanced creativity and increased inspiration in life. This exercise is based on play and creativity.  The objective behind the self care vision board exercise is improved self care and self compassion.  

Research studies have concluded that self care is positively related to an increased sense of care towards mental, physical and psychological health among individuals. Schure, Christopher and Chirstopher (2008) determined that self care leads to decreased levels of depression and anxiety among individuals. Also, self care results in better immunological functioning and greater empathy.

Baker (2003) also advocated the role of self care in improved quality of life and subjective well-being. His research determined that self care results in enhanced self awareness, self regulation and healthy coping mechanisms among individuals.

The guest house poem exercise of positive psychology

The guest house poem activity of positive psychology is related to identifying and acknowledging the unpleasant emotions and negative experiences in life. It works towards enhanced acceptance. It works by bringing to the focus the various repressed emotions that are often the cause of deteriorated mental and physical health among individuals.

The objective of the guest house poem exercise is to regulate emotions among individuals and help them understand the fleeting nature of emotions. It creates insight in the mind of clients about the value of unpleasant emotions.

Research studies have also highlighted the importance of resolving suppressed emotions in individuals’ lives. Eisenberg et al (1997)  stated that many unpleasant emotions are suppressed by individuals and are not dealt through mindfulness. Such emotions often result in many various negative outcomes on the physical and psychological health of individuals. 

Similarly Hayes, Pistoreely and Levin (2012) concluded that when humans try to control their unpleasant emotions and push them to the back of their mind to completely avoid the reactions of unpleasant emotions, they tend to be more prone to various psychological disturbances.

The guest house poem activity usually requires a therapist to introduce the emotions as guests that  visit humans as a guest house. The core idea is to welcome the emotions despite their pleasant or unpleasant nature. The therapist helps the client understand that emotions are not a permanent part of their life rather they are temporary visitors that go away after sometime.

The therapist uses questions to reflect the client’s experiences related to routine life. The questions majorly included are:

  • What emotions visit more often and why?
  • What might be the change if you welcome all emotions despite their pleasant or unpleasant nature?
  • What benefits would be there for you in welcoming unpleasant emotions.
  • How can you apply the phenomena of being a guest house to negative and unpleasant emotions in your daily routine activities?

Colored candy go around exercise of positive psychology

This positive psychology exercise is centered around exploring individual and family dynamics. It encourages functional communication between members of the family.  Through this technique members of the family are facilitated to articulate their thoughts and emotions through art and play that otherwise might have been difficult for them.

The colored candy go around technique is usually used as a meaningful intervention in family therapy sessions. Researchers (Arkell, 2010 and Lownstiene, 2010) have also highlighted the positive impact of colored candy go around technique in family therapy. 

This technique is used by introducing different colored  candies to each family member and each colored candy is assigned a unique question. For example “red candy may represent “what words describe you and your family the best?”. Similarly orange colored candy may denote the question “what things would you like to change about yourself and your family?”The pink color may lead to the question “what things do you worry most about?”. 

Each family member has all the colored candies. Turnwise the family member assort the candies in front and ask another family member and pick one candy to answer the question assigned to the candy. After answering the question, the family member may ask the same question to someone else in the family. Turnwise, each member has the opportunity to ask questions from other members.

At the end, the therapist asks questions for reflection and interprets the answers to highlight the family dynamics.

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Daily motivational awareness exercise of positive psychology

The daily motivational awareness exercise is based on daily insight of motivation in the clients. It is centered on  developing and increasing motivation among the clients. In this exercise, the clients are encouraged to take out a few moments everyday and take notes of things that excite them and motivate them in life. 

During this exercise, the clients have a good chance of exploring their self determination in life. 

Strength based life story exercise of positive psychology

This positive psychology intervention is centered around exploring value and meaning in life based on strengths. It helps the clients to overcome strength estrangement. It works towards subjective wellbeing by working on various factors that are a source of lack of strengths awareness or lack of awareness about the direction to utilize one’s strengths in.

The strength based stories in life are helpful in understanding one’s purpose in life and achieving life goals. Clients are better able to identify their latent strengths and pursue them in various directions through this exercise. 

A client is instructed to write about their life in the form of a three part story based on past, present and the future. The clients write about the past keeping in mind the various conflicts that they had to face in life and various ways through which they could resolve those conflicts. While writing about the present clients focus on themselves in the present and the past. They write about the present keeping in mind the various strengths that they have gained and the various unpleasant events that they have faced to overcome their conflicts in life. The clients write about the future self keeping in mind the present. They write about the ideal self in the future and the ways that would differentiate them from today’s self in the future.

The quicksand anxiety metaphor exercise of positive psychology

The quicksand anxiety metaphor is a positive psychological therapeutic intervention utilized by therapists for clients to develop insight for acceptance and benefits of practicing mindfulness in future. 

It aims at exploring coping mechanisms used by clients in difficult and unmanageable events. The clients understand that how through using atypical coping mechanisms of avoidance and escape, they get themselves entangled more into the unwanted and unpleasant scenarios.

In this exercise sinking in quicksand is used as a metaphor for sinking in the anxiety. The therapist asks the client questions that involve a situation about getting caught in a quicksand and how to get out of it. After getting the answers, the same scenario is analyzed for daily life routine and the associated anxiety.

Gratitude journal exercise of positive psychology

The gratitude journal positive psychology intervention is used for cultivating gratitude among the clients. It is aimed at increasing gratitude through practice. The therapist facilitates the client to acknowledge all the valuable events in life and the blessings that have changed life for better. The journaling of all the positive events in life often changes the client’s orientation towards acknowledging the little positives in life and appreciating their blessings in life.

Three Blessing of the Day exercise of positive psychology

The positive psychology intervention of three blessings a day is used to record positives in daily routine. It is aimed at focusing on the blessings in life. The client is tasked to note down three blessings everyday. In such a way, they are trained to acknowledge positives in their daily routine and get their eyes off the unpleasant and negative events.

The three blessings a day intervention of positive psychology is usually helpful for people with depression and anxiety features.

Expression of good and bad memories exercise of positive psychology

The positive psychology intervention of expressing good and bad memories is used by therapists to help the clients acknowledge and accept the good and bad events in life. It makes the client aware of the fact that life is based on both positive and negative experiences that leave us with good and bad memories. 

In this exercise, the therapist facilitates the clients to think back and reflect upon the positive and negative memories in life. The therapist then interprets with the clients the events and the memories and concludes the swiftness of life and the spontaneity of life events.

Satisficing instead of maximizing exercise of positive psychology

In this intervention of positive psychology, the concept of satisficing is introduced to the client. The client is facilitated to differentiate between the concepts of satisficing and maximizing. They are encouraged to practice satisficing by not taking little positives in life for granted and consider small blessings as good enough in life.

Bull’s Eye Value Survey exercise of positive psychology

The bull’s eye value survey exercise is used by therapists to assess and determine life value skills in the client. The client’s ideal and real life value skills are assessed. The client’s are facilitated to determine the gaps that prevent them from leading a life with ideal values.

The technique is conducted using a dart board where the center of the board is bulls eye with the ideal values of life. The outer sphere is the area that is divided into the client’s life in four phases including personal growth, work / education, leisure and relationships. 

The client marks realistically in the areas where he perceives himself to be as per the basis of value life skills. After marking all the four spheres in life, the client is facilitated to create an insight about the hurdles in reaching to the center of the bulls eye.

Developing Practical Intelligence exercise of positive psychology

This positive psychology intervention is based on utilizing the client’s strengths and transforming them to gain purpose in life. Developing practical intelligence is based on utilizing strengths of the client in executive functioning, problem solving, enhancing life engagement and adopting healthy coping mechanisms for problem solving. The journey of translating the core strengths of clients into concrete purposeful actions is accomplished with the facilitation of a therapist.

Conclusion

The blogspot focused on 17 highly effective positive psychology exercises that are utilized as helpful therapeutic interventions to achieve enhanced subjective well-being of clients and increase positive emotions that are based on increased patience, tolerance , resilience, compassion and emotional regulation. We also learned that the purposefulness of positive psychology exercises has also been validated by various researches.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 17 Highest Rated Positive Psychology Exercises

Do positive psychology exercises work? 

Yes, positive psychology exercises work towards well-being and increased mindfulness among the clients. They shift the perspective of the clients from negative to positive and inculcate in their minds a sense of enhanced self regulation.

What are some positive activities?

Some of the positive psychology activities are :

  • Gratitude Diary
  • Blessings record
  • Positive self talk
  • Core Strength living

What are some examples of positive psychology techniques?

The commonly used positive psychology techniques are :

  • Forgiveness diary
  • Gratitude journal
  • Three blessings a day
  • Mindful Meditation
  • Positive of the day

Citations

Affleck, G. & Tennen, H. (1996). Construing benefits from adversity: Adaptational significance and dispositional underpinnings. Journal of Personality, 64, 899–922.

Schure, M. B., Christopher, J., & Christopher, S. (2008). Mind–body medicine and the art of self‐care: teaching mindfulness to counseling students through yoga, meditation, and qigong. Journal of Counseling & Development, 86, 47-56.

https://positivepsychology.com/positive-psychology-exercises/

https://positivepsychology.com/happiness-activities-exercises-tools/

https://drexel.edu/~/media/files/studentlife/counseling/bulls%20eye%20values%20exercise.ashx?la=en

Arkell, K. (2010). Colored Candy Go Around. In L. Lowenstein (Ed.) Assessment and Treatment Activities for Children, Adolescents, and Families. Canada: Champion Press

Lowenstein, L. (2010). Creative Family Therapy Techniques: Play, Art & Expressive Activities to Engage Children in Family Sessions. Ontario: Champion Press.

Hayes, S. C., Pistorello, J., & Levin, M. E. (2012). Acceptance and commitment therapy as a unified model of behavior change. The Counseling Psychologist, 7, 976- 1002.

Eisenberg, N., Guthrie, I.K., Fabes, R.A., Reiser, M. Murphy, B.C., Holgren, R., Maszk, P., & Losoya, S. (1997). The Relations of Regulation and Emotionality to Resiliency and Competent Social Functioning in Elementary School Children. Child Development, 68, 295-311.

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