Simple exercise to improve your mood!

Years ago, my prankster grandfather put a plaque outside my bedroom door.  It read, “Warning!  My moods change without notice!”  Did I mention I was only 6?

This started an early awareness of my moods, what affected them and how to improve them.   I’ve followed, read, practiced and thrown out a lot of theories which, of course, put me in a bad mood.  However, I’ve been a devotee of Marty Seligman for years now since he pioneered the notion that psychologists focus too much on the pathology of disorders.  Seligman’s construct of Applied Positive Psychology has shown that cognitive exercises can help us overcome depression, anxiety, etc.  For more info, check out Penn’s Master’s of Applied Positive Psychology program or read his latest book, Flourish.

Now I implement simple exercises to improve my mood and feel happier.  Here’s one I use daily:  Write down three things that went well and why they went well, or why it means so much.  That’s it!

Here are some real-life examples to get you going:

1.  J got the job in NYC!  She moves this summer!  Why?  She’s so awesome and was really intentional about manifesting a more meaningful job for herself.

2.  Dinner tonight: wine and cheese with Jack.  Why?  Relaxing end to the day.

3.  A student told me today I was an “excellent teacher”!  Why?  Because I love my students and hope they feel I’m valuable to their success.

If you don’t have a journal, print this WhatWentWellExercise and put it next to your bed with a pen.

Teachers can use this as a “ticket out the door” exercise at the end of class or day.  Not only does this work on students’ metacognitive skills, it should improve the classroom environment.

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