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Silver Linings: Positive Psychology Exercise

In difficult situations, you can dwell on the negative or look for the positive. Research shows that finding the silver linings of challenging situations can help you become happier and more optimistic. The more you practice finding silver linings, the better you get.

The Silver Linings: Positive Psychology Exercise is designed to help clients look on the bright side of tough situations. This exercise is based on a study by Susan Sergeant and Myriam Mongrain.

To begin, clients list five things that make life enjoyable or worthwhile. Next, they describe their most recent difficult situation, or a recent time something did not go their way. Finally, they reflect on and describe silver linings of the difficult situation.

Practicing this exercise regularly will help clients get in the habit of finding silver linings. This is associated with decreased depression, improved ability to cope with stress, and increased relationship satisfaction.

Note that this exercise may not be appropriate for all situations, such as trauma and grief.

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1. Finding silver linings (Greater Good in Action). Greater Good In Action. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2022, from

2. Sergeant, S., & Mongrain, M. (2014). An online optimism intervention reduces depression in pessimistic individuals. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 82(2), 263.

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