By Raising Children Network, with NSW Kids and Families
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Thinking about things that have gone well and how you’ve made them happen can help you feel happier. It’s called positive thinking. Here’s an exercise to get you thinking more positive thoughts, more often.

Positive thinking, positive thoughts

It’s easy to spend a lot of time thinking about things that have gone wrong.

Although we can all learn from mistakes, it’s not helpful to spend a lot time thinking about negative things. This can lead to worry and stress.

This is where positive thinking and positive thoughts come in.

Positive thinking exercise

Try this exercise to get yourself into the habit of spending more time thinking positive thoughts about things that have gone well and why.

People who do this positive thinking exercise say they feel happier, less worried and less sad.

  1. Each day for the next week, give yourself 10-15 minutes before you go to sleep to write down three things that went well and why. This could be something as simple as ‘My son gave me a nice smile this morning’. Or it might be a major event – for example, ‘I booked our family holiday’.
  2. Underneath each thing that went well, write what you did to make it happen. For example, if you put ‘My son gave me a nice smile today’, you could write, ‘I smiled and he smiled back’.
  3. It might feel odd to do this at first, but it gets easier with practice. Try to give it a go for a week. Check your notes at the end of the week.
  4. Share this exercise with family and friends.
  • Last updated or reviewed 02-12-2016
  • Acknowledgements This article was developed in collaboration with the Youth Health and Wellbeing Team, NSW Kids and Families (formerly Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health).