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Positive Psychology Exercises for Couples

The following couples exercises are based on Martin Seligman's Positive Psychology approach. Choose one exercise at a time and do it for two weeks before moving onto another exercise. Keep a record of your completed exercises and what happened in your lives and with your moods. Notice what good things took place during and after the exercises' completion. Record this information in a journal or log.



Positive Psychology Couples Exercise I: Doing Pleasurable, Important, and Meaningful Activities together.

For two weeks choose one or two activities from this list and do them with your partner:

(1) Choose a pleasurable activity to do together and do it to completion. Example: Playing games together, exercising together, dancing, attending movies, going out to dinner, doing something creative as a team, gardening together--whatever you both enjoy.

(2) Choose an activity you both deem important or meaningful and do it to completion. Example: Balancing joint accounts, doing household chores, facing tough issues and working them through to mutual satisfaction, solving a problem together, or contributing to the betterment of the world around you.

(3) Later record what occurred in your life during and at the conclusion of the activities. What were the activities effects on your mood? Notice what good things took place during and after the activities completion. Record what happened in a journal or log.

(4) Notice how your choices and actions made these good, important, meaningful and pleasurable activities happen.

(5) Do 2 new pleasurable, meaningful, or important activities each day for two weeks before switching to another Emoclear Positive Psychology Couples Exercise.



Positive Psychology Couples Exercise II: Building Character. Based on Character Strengths (Peterson & Seligman, 2004).

For two weeks pick two activities per day from the list below. Choose two new activities every day. Make sure the activities you both choose are mutually agreed upon.
At the conclusion of the activities record what occurred in both your lives during and at the conclusion of the activities. What were the 2 activities effects on both of your moods? Notice what good things took place during and after the activities. Record what happened in a journal or log.

The Activity List:

1. Do a joint creative activity like writing, art, craft making, inventing, or solving problems together.

2. Learn something entirely new for both of you that you both find either pleasurable or meaningful.

3. Explore something new. Maybe visiting a new place or examining new ideas and philosophies together.

4. Master a new skill or area of knowledge together.

5. Examine an issue or viewpoint from several different perspectives. Discuss it with your partner and try on different and expanded viewpoints.

6. Give a point of view to your partner. Have them give a point of view to you. Discuss it, find some truth in it, and discover its positive aspects.

7. Act with honesty. Each tell your partner the truth about a part of yourself you previously didn't accept.

8. Carry out an important goal together in the face of emotional blocks or opposition from others.

9. Act with courage in the face of fear or pain. You both may face different areas of fear or pain.

10. Both of you take up separate courses of action and take them to completion. Or take up an activity together until completion.

11. Experience energy and passion in going after a joint goal or vision you both agree upon.

12. Both of you do a good deed for someone else or a group.

13. Demonstrate your love and acceptance for each other in a new way.

14. Become aware of your partner's emotions, intentions, and motives. Ask them if this is what they feel, intend, or are motivated by.

15. Both perform an important act for your community.

16. Treat each other as you would care to be treated. Inquire first about how your partner would prefer to be treated under certain conditions.

17. Jointly organize and lead an important group activity.

18. Act with Self-control. Both of you choose to do something other than to behave in an impulsive manner.

19. Jointly or separately forgive another for some wrong they did. Or forgive each other.

20. You and your partner act in a modest way. Let what both did speak for itself.

21. Both of you carefully arrive at a joint decision and hold off saying something you might later regret.

22. Both of you regulate your emotional responses and what you do.

23. Together take note of something beautiful or outstanding.

24. Both of you actively demonstrate appreciation and gratitude to each other and others for good things that happen.

25. Jointly take up a spiritual discipline and practice it together. (Inner exploration, meditating, etc.)

26. Together find something humorous and enjoy a good laugh. Tell stories and jokes that amuse each other or others.

27. Expect good things to happen and together go about doing things that will get those good things to happen.

28. Both of you tune into your intuition and do what it prompts both of you to do.

Positive Psychology Couples Exercise III: Admiration, Fondness, Accepting Influence, Cooperation, & Calming

For two weeks pick two activities per day from the list below. Choose two new activities every day. Make sure the activities you both choose are mutually agreed upon.
At the conclusion of the activities record what occurred in both your lives during and at the conclusion of the activities. What were the 2 activities effects on both of your moods? Notice what good things took place during and after the activities. Record what happened in a journal or log.

1. Together take 20 minutes to tell each other about those things you most admire about each other. Write each quality down.

2. Together take 20 minutes to recall fond memories of shared times together or picture a future together of shared times together. Write each memory or picture of the future down.

3. Take 20 minutes together to recall times you accepted influence from each other and noticed a positive outcome from this influence. Write each recollection down, and its positive outcome.

4. Take 20 minutes together to recall times you cooperated together and noticed a positive outcome from this cooperation. Write each recollection of cooperation down and its positive outcome.

5. Together take 20 minutes and recall times you soothed each other or helped calm each other down. What was that like in the end? Write each memory down and its positive outcome.

6. Together take 20 minutes and recall times you practiced emotional restraint with each other and didn't fly off the handle.

7. Together take 20 minutes to accept something about your partner you previously judged in a negative way.

8. Together take 20 minutes to consider what you wanted to change in your partner, and then do some self-work instead on your behavior, thoughts, or feelings.

9. Together take 20 minutes to think about creating a pleasant atmosphere for both of you and then do what you need to do to create that pleasant atmosphere.

Positive Psychology Couples Exercise IV: Appreciation & Gratitude Exercise

Here's a reflection exercise for accessing appreciation and gratitude:

This exercise is to be done together daily for two weeks.
Both of you share your appreciation and gratitude to each other first and then to others and "things".

(1) Gently pinch your right nostril shut and breathe for 12 inhalations and exhalations through your left nostril only: Gently pinch your right nostril shut and breathe for 12 inhalations and exhalations through your left nostril only. When this is complete go to step (2).

(2) Place your right palm on your heartbeat region and access the following memories: Place your right palm on your heartbeat region and access at least two of the 4 styles of memories daily. Record how you felt during and after the memories. Record your moods. Do these appreciation and gratitude exercises every day for two weeks. Choose two of the following memories to work with daily:

(A) Recall any acts of love or kindness directed toward you in the last 72 hours. These acts of love or kindness may have been done by friends, pets, family, coworkers, or strangers. Recall and feel how you felt at the time. Perhaps it was someone offering you a seat on public transportation, someone allowing you into the flow of traffic, a well prepared meal, or errands someone did. Recall them and allow your feelings of appreciation and gratitude to form. At the end of this exercise write a brief "thank you" letter or email to the family, friends, pets, coworkers or strangers. You need not send or deliver this letter or email. Express your appreciation and gratitude. (Share this with your partner.)

(B) Recall emotional issues that appeared within the last 72 hours. What valuable messages did they supply? What good things might they have done for you on some level? Notice them and allow your feelings of appreciation and gratitude to form. At the end of this exercise write a brief "thank you" letter or email to your emotional issues. You need not send this letter or email. Express your appreciation and gratitude. (Share this with your partner)

(C) Recall any of the acts of love and kindness that served you within the last few weeks, months, or years. Notice them and allow your feelings of appreciation and gratitude to form. At the end of this exercise write a brief "thank you" letter or email to those who provided acts of love or kindness. You need not send this letter or email. Express your appreciation and gratitude. (Share this with your partner)

(D) Recall the wonderful gadgets and tools in your home. Some you may find invaluable to your day to day living. These might be faxes, computers, TV’s, food processors, juicers, refrigerators, cars, and other such items. Notice how these things add to the quality of your life and to your enjoyment. Review all of the great chain of people who produced and distributed these gadgets and tools. Then allow yourself to appreciate and feel gratitude toward all those persons who brought these gadgets and tools into your home and made life more convenient and enjoyable. At the end of this exercise write a brief "thank you" letter or email to makers and creators of these wonderful gadgets. You need not send this letter or email. Express your appreciation and gratitude.
(Share this with your partner)

Emoclear Positive Psychology Couples Exercise V: Affection, Appreciation, Humor & Respect.

For two weeks pick two activities per day from the list below. Choose two new activities every day. Make sure the activities you both choose are mutually agreed upon.
At the conclusion of the activities record what occurred in both your lives during and at the conclusion of the activities. What were the 2 activities effects on both of your moods? Notice what good things took place during and after the activities. Record what happened in a journal or log.

1. Together take 20 minutes to express affection in new and creative ways with each other. Write each new expression of affection down after it's done.

2. Together take 20 minutes to recall humorous recollections about your life together or what was funny before you met each other. Briefly jot down a brief outline of your humorous recollections.

3. Together take 20 minutes to express appreciation for things you've done for each other. Write down what was appreciated.

4. Together take 20 minutes to express respect or to recall moments of respect for each other. Write down what you respected.


Have fun, Steve.

 

 

 

 

 

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