Studies have shown that cultivating a practice of being grateful increased your happiness. Invite your clients to make a gratitude journal.
You can have your client start off the journal with a list of all the people, animals, material objects, experiences, etc. he/she is grateful for.
You can decorate a blank journal
Ideas for page headers:
"5 Things I'm Grateful For Today" or "1 Thing I'm Thankful For"
"My Gratitude List for Today Includes the Following..."
Materials: Blank journal, Markers, Stickers or Scrapbooking materials
In Mayan tradition, if you tell your worries to worry dolls at night before you go to sleep and tuck them under your pillow, they will do all the worrying for you.
Sometimes it's hard to know what negative messages our clients are telling themselves or what positive messages they would like to hear.
1) Have client draw an outline of a head/brain
2) Draw or write all the negative message he/she might be telling himself
3) Have client draw a new picture of a head/brain
4) Fill the new head with positive messages that he/she would like to hear
What would it be like if you didn't have to believe your negative thoughts?
Make your own pack of positive affirmation cards. You can provide a list of suggestions or have client come up with his/her own. Keep affirmation in first person and in the present tense.
1) Paper - cut into card size
2) Write an a positive affirmation
3) Add a positive image/symbol
2) Laminate (or use clear folder and tape/glue)
"Mindfulness Jars" or "Calming Jars" : Teaches kids how to let our minds "settle". I often use this or "glitter wands" to help kids get calm and 'centered' at start of each session
Shake the jar and discuss how glitter represents our busy mind - filled with thoughts and worries
In silence, observe the glitter slowly settle with focus on the breath and thoughts
How can we learn to let our mind "settle" before reacting? What would that look like in class, at home, etc.?
Mason jar (or plastic jar)
Sequins (different shapes)
Dish wash soap
Glycerin or vegetable oil
50 minutes (or more)
This is a nice one for building group rapport.
Optional: glue, frame
30-45 minutes (depending on group size)
"Family Treasures" (McKleroy, 2014)
Wooden box ($2.00 at Michael's Arts & Crafts)
Tempera paint, paint brushes, felt for inside
Strips of paper to write or draw "treasures"
Optional: gems, sequins, feathers + glue gun
Time: 45 minutes (Can also be done in 2 sessions)
An art activity I like to introduce in January of a new year is a variation of a vision board that I call a "Wellness Board". This is great for individual, group or family sessions.
Materials: large black paper, magazines, scissors, glue sticks
Time: 45 - 60 minutes