Tell Me 20 Things That Are Great About Your Life and / or Yourself.
This approach was developed in the Philadelphia Prison. The need was to be able to help individuals alleviate mild to severe symptoms of depression or suicidal ideation, and when mental health medication was not an immediate possibility.
The following activity, Tell Me 20 Things Great About Your Life, is effective, and works immediately.
Everyone has hundreds if not thousands of things that are going on in their lives, and about them personally, that are exceptionally positive. If one thinks about these positive attributes, symptoms of depression and worthlessness often begin to alleviate immediately.
Through the exercise of considering many of one’s positive attributes, accomplishments, loved ones, kindness, and many other positive life circumstances, feelings of hope and value quickly emerge.
I wonder if you could tell me 20 things, that are good in your life right now…Just 20.
There is always 20 things, at least…
By focusing on positive attributes and accomplishments, one can interrupt the negative spiral of critical thoughts and feelings of worthlessness that are symptomatic of most serious mental illnesses.
Answers can be as simple as, ‘I have all of my limbs’, or ‘my kids love me’, ‘I’m a great dad’ and ‘I make the best baked macaroni.’
If one is struggling with coming up with positive attributes, you can help by pointing out obvious qualities the participant possesses. I, having a significant receding hairline, sometimes may point out to an individuals that they have a strong hair line, for example, and then point to my own, clearly much worse one.
No matter how worthless anyone feels, everyone has someone whom would benefit from their love. And the ability to love is something no one can take away.
By Rocco DiCicco