What is it?
The Positivity List is an index card on which you write down 8 topics you enjoy thinking about. The index card can be made of paper that you can keep near you or virtual notes stored on your phone or computer.
Why use it?
Research on positive thinking demonstrated that thinking of pleasurable events requires effort, and that with a simple aid, you are able to do the task more easily. When you are under pressure, you tend to focus on the worst case scenario and consume all your energy in an infinite loop of negative thoughts. By using the positivity list for 6 minutes, you up-lift your mind, making it easier to deal with the challenge in front of you.
Select your index card. Make it convenient and easy to access for when you need it.
Write down 8 topics you enjoy thinking about. Those topics could be:
- Past events like a birthday party, a wedding,
- People like a family member, a friend,
- Upcoming events like the upcoming summer, your next vacation,
- Even more detailed scenarios that could be totally made up.
Set a reminder on your calendar for each of the next 5 days at a different time for each day.
- Setting at different time for each day will give you different data points on how the positivity list affects your mindset.
Each time the reminder pops-up, pull out your positivity list, and think about the topics for 6 minutes.
- You can choose to focus on only one of the topics, or review several of them,
- Sometimes it is easy to bring back one topic from memory and relive the joy of the moment, sometimes it is a bit harder, and zapping to the next topic gives another chance of bringing memories to the present.
At the end of the 5 days, reflect on what effect the practice had on you and your behavior.
- How did you feel during the experiment?
- What challenges did you face?
- What did you have to do or believe to be successful?
- What positives can you take away from the experiment?
- How can you apply what you learned from this experiment in your life or the workplace?
Some people find that it’s helpful to pull out their Positivity List in times of troubles, others use theirs as a way to relax at least once a day. How will you use yours?
- With a little help for our thoughts: Making it easier to think for pleasure, Westgate, Wilson, Gilbert.
- Difficulty Staying Optimistic Before a Big Audition? Try Using a “Positivity Cheat Sheet”, Noa Kageyama.