2-minute exercise to boost your mood
I have a very quick exercise to boost your mood and improve your general outlook on life, which I thought I’d share with you. Unsurprisingly, it’s not a magic cure for low mood or depression, but it’s very easy and straightforward and many of my clients tell me that they find it helpful.
The ‘5 Good Things’ exercise
I’m sure it has a snappier and more clinical sounding name, but I know it as ‘The 5 Good Things’ exercise. All it involves is taking a couple of minutes at the end of each day to recall 5 positive things that happened during that day. They don’t have to be big things – examples might include that the sun was shining and how that felt and looked, or a particular exchange you had with someone, or the taste of some delicious food, or something that you accomplished (however small). Simply think of 5 of these positive moments, savoring the memory of each for a few seconds. And that’s it. Exercise completed.
You may well feel your mood lift slightly after doing the exercise just once and, if you do it every day or most days, you may notice yourself feeling brighter and having a slightly more positive outlook in general. I use it myself, and it’s popular with many of my clients, who tell me that they find it quick, easy and even pleasant to do at the end of each day.
Why it helps
Positive thinking exercises such as this one are thought to be effective because they help to counter our inbuilt ‘negative attention bias’. Our brains are much more sensitized to negative inputs than to positive, meaning that we are far more likely to notice and remember what went wrong, as opposed to what went right. Once upon a time, this bias served an important survival function, in that it kept us alert to imminent danger. However, in the 21st century, it can result in us missing a lot of the good in our lives and dwelling too much on the negative.
A handy tool – not ‘A Cure’
When I work with clients suffering from depression or low mood, I will often recommend exercises like this one to try at home. This is because people tend to do better in therapy when they are actively engaging in the process and trying things out in between sessions. Obviously, a 2-minute positive thinking exercise isn’t going to ‘cure’ someone from depression, but it can be helpful when underpinned by in-depth counselling or psychotherapy.
If you give the exercise a go, then I hope it helps you and gives you a boost. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts or comments!
About the author
Hi, I’m Andrea Sevenoaks and I’m a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor specializing in helping people with anxiety and / or depression. I am based in Tenterden in Kent and I work with individuals aged 16 and over. For a confidential chat or to arrange a free phone consultation, please feel free to contact me on 07871 314030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.