If you could boost your mood with just one exercise, would you try it? Let me introduce you to the Best Possible Self Exercise. In this exercise, you set a time to visualize and write about your best possible self. You write about your ideal life in the future. Think about things as having a great job, a nice family, enough money, and so on. Be specific! You might think it’s weird to think about yourself this way and you might have not done it before, but research suggests it can have a positive effect on your mood and life satisfaction. There is a study that examined the effects of this exercise, in which students wrote about their “best possible selves” once a week. 131 psychology students got in-person or online instructions for this exercise. They had to imagine that everything had gone as well as it possibly could and were then asked to write continuously for 10 minutes. After these 10 minutes, they were then asked to write more specific goals to help them achieve this best possible self. After 4 weeks of doing this exercise, only once a week (!), participants showed significant increase in positive affect, compared to a control group, in which participants only had to think and write about what they did during their day. So, I think you should try it! It’s free, it does not take long, and you will feel better after doing the exercise. You can easily start today.
Layous, K., Nelson, S. K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2013). What is the optimal way to deliver a positive activity intervention? The case of writing about one’s best possible selves. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(2), 635-654.