Recommended age: 10 and older
How was your day today? Was it a good day? A bad day? What about yesterday, what kind of day was that? A happy day? A sad day?
Humans love categorizing things – it’s what our brains are built to do! – but what we focus on with our expat kid clients is to recognize that we can’t put experiences into boxes. There is ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ ‘pleasant’ and ‘unpleasant,’ ‘comfortable’ and ‘uncomfortable’ in every day – we just tend to overly focus on the negatives.
One way to shift your focus is by using the ‘Three Good Things’ exercise. The aim of this exercise is to try and recognize and reflect on the positives that occur in our lives. Just like how our days are a balance of many different things, we can work on balancing our mind by noticing that those positives are there!
Think of it like you are in a dark theater and you turn on a spotlight. What do you notice? Well, whatever is in the spotlight! This is how we usually reflect on our days: we are noticing just a few things that are in our spotlight. Now imagine you switch on a floodlight instead. What can you see now? A whole lot more! With our attention broadened, we now have a better overview of our lives – the positives, the negatives, and the in-betweens. And when we have a better overview of reality, we are also better at coping with those less comfortable moments and emotions.
The ‘Three Good Things’ exercise can be completed alone, or with others – but research tells us that when we share positive experiences with others, we get an even bigger boost on happy emotions! Therefore, this might be a fun activity to do as a family or with friends.