Group Activities on Positive Thinking
Sometimes, one person who feels negatively can bring down an entire group’s mood. Science has proven that humans are hardwired to attach themselves to negative emotions. This is especially when prompted by another person’s negative emotion. That’s why it’s good to have a few group activities on positive thinking in your back pocket so you can turn around an entire office, family, or classroom’s outlook in just a few minutes.
Since everyone responds differently to positive psychology techniques, you’ll find a varied list below of proven strategies. Read through each to find group activities that meet your needs.
5 Group Activities on Positive Thinking
Whether at a retreat, at home, at school, or at the office, you’re sure to discover some easy tools to help lift the mood of a group with these tried-and-true exercises.
Passengers on a Bus
The “Passengers on a Bus” group activity on positive thinking takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and relies only on one person explaining a metaphor.
To begin, start explaining to the group how it can sometimes feel as though negative thinking drives our lives. But what if positive thinking drove it, instead?
The metaphor goes like this: If you’re driving the bus, you get to decide how you react to passenger interactions, comments, and behavior. These passengers are a metaphorical stand-in for the emotions we feel each day.
Remember, these emotions, just like bus passengers, are fleeting. These passengers don’t stay on the bus forever.
As the driver, are you going to listen to negative chatter from your passengers, and maybe even stop the bus to deal with them? Or are you going to keep driving forward toward your destination?
This metaphor helps illuminate how not reacting to negative emotions allows your bus – or your life – to continue progressing. This is ultimately letting those negative passengers off the bus to make way for positive passengers who won’t distract you.
Expressing gratitude is one of the more engaging group activities on positive thinking that’s available.
While expressing gratitude can work wonders on an individual to promote positive thinking, it can be even more powerful in a group setting. Moreover, it works where others are there to hear everything that the group is grateful for.
To conduct this exercise, allow everyone in the group to create a short list of the things that they are thankful for. Then share that list aloud with the group.
The beauty of this exercise is that group members may find more things to add to their gratitude shortlist as others share their experiences.
The exercise of gratitude elimination works well in tandem with the “Expressing Gratitude” exercise above. It further homes in on just how fortunate the group really is and further elevates positive emotions associated with thankfulness.
To conduct this exercise, first ask the group to list three things that they’re most grateful for. This is if they haven’t already done so in the previous exercise.
Next, one list item at a time, ask the group to mentally imagine what their lives would be like without that one thing.
Group members should then write down how their lives would be different. Next, share those imagined experiences with the rest of the group.
Find the Benefits
Sometimes, it’s extraordinarily difficult to think positively as a group when that group – such as a family – is suffering loss or a great challenge.
This exercise is especially relevant for groups suffering from trauma or other difficult life events.
Start by asking individual group members to recall a time in their lives that was particularly challenging. Of course, this is if the life event is not evident and shared by the group. Be prepared, as this could be an emotional time for your group members.
Next, ask each group member what they learned from the negative event. Then, ask them how the negative event equipped them to handle tough challenges in the future.
While subtle, this exercise evokes positive feelings on the heels of an otherwise very negative experience.
Vision boarding can be an individual exercise. However, it is also an enjoyable group exercise to encourage positive, forward-thinking.
Vision boarding is also a physical and creative activity, which further enhances a positive mindset.
To create a vision board, have plenty of paper, magazines, books, and other written material available for your group to pull from. You’ll also need scissors and tape or glue.
Ask group members to find words, quotes, and photographs that inspire them. These things should provide positive feelings about what their future could look like. Cut these items out and paste them to a single sheet of paper or posterboard.
Group members can their share their artistic pieces with the rest of the group. Ideally this will evoke positive, hopeful emotions in themselves and others.
It may seem more difficult to turn negative emotions into positive thinking in a group setting. But sometimes the more people participate in these activities, the stronger the associated positive emotions.
Group activities on positive thinking can be a powerful, fun, and easy way to turn negative emotions into something constructive and hopeful.