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Charge towards the positive

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Need a little inspiration on how to tap into those positive emotions? Penny Barker offers five quick exercises which can help push you towards the positive.


Try smiling for at least a minute and you should feel your emotions change. If you can, smile at someone else for no reason (though perhaps not for a whole minute!). We are a social species and both smiling ourselves and seeing someone else smile has a positive impact on our physiology and emotional state, as well as that of others.

Focus on the positives of the day

Name five things that were good about today. This is particularly useful in helping you reframe a bad day and is a good exercise to do with your team. We are far more likely to focus on the negatives as often those emotions are more powerful, but drawing our mind to even the simplest of good things can help redress that balance and leave us feeling better.

Practise gratitude

Name five things or people that you are grateful for, however big or small. Connect with that feeling of thankfulness and bring your mind to whatever sights, sounds, smells and sensations the thoughts conjure up. This works both in the moment and as a journaling exercise. Stretch yourself to think of five different things each day.

Remember your strengths

Complete these sentences:

  • My friends would tell you that I am great at …

  • I consider myself good at … and this helps me …

  • I feel good when I …

  • I’ve been successful at … and this taught me …

  • I know I will reach my goals because I am … and …

Write down your responses and put them somewhere where you can see them regularly. They will serve as a helpful reminder of your strengths at times when you may be finding things difficult.


Just purse your lips and whistle … It’s notoriously hard to whistle while you’re cross – try it.

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