Developing a positive attitude is a skill that can be learned. Games that help an individual learn to recognize negativity and retrain themselves to think positive thoughts are one way to begin developing a positive attitude. Other ways include affirmations, personal coaching and reading self-help books like those from author Louise Hay.
Pollyanna's Glad Game
In the classic children's book Pollyanna, the main character is a young girl who makes a game of positivity, by finding the good in absolutely everything. The game was inspired by her father, who helped her deal with a disappointing Christmas gift by finding a reason to be glad. Instead of a doll, she was given crutches. Her father directed her to be glad because she didn't need them.
This game isn't a competitive game, the challenge lies in retraining yourself to manifest a positive attitude under any circumstance. If you're working with children, you can practice by finding reasons to be glad in regard to a list of positively dreadful situations. If the house burns down, be glad you weren't in it. If your puppy dies, be glad you knew him. Practicing with made-up situations can make it easier to "play the game" when a real situation comes along.
This game works well with older teens and adults. Two players are in a debate. Both players represent the same person, only one is in the midst of hard times and the other is debating from the future. When the first player says "I lost my job, I'm never going to find another one that pays me what I'm worth, this is terrible." The character from the future can say "You found a better job and got paid more."
The purpose of the game is to find positive outcomes for situations that may seem negative. Like the saying goes; as one door closes, another one opens.
Another example would be "I always attract the wrong kind of guy, why can I never find a decent man? They must all be married." Or, "I never have enough money left at the end of the month, I'm so bad with money, I'll never be able to save anything." The character from the future can say "This month you have extra money available that you saved for a new TV set."
In every situation, we have a decision to make. How will we react? In this game, four players split into groups of two. One player from each team is given the same script, and must say to the other player something like "I don't think we should be dating anymore" or "Your power bill is 60 days late, I have to shut it off right now" or "Your car is totaled and you don't have enough insurance to replace it."
Players have 60 seconds to think of a response. One team is directed to respond in a negative way, while the other team is instructed to respond in a positive way.
Afterward, the entire group can discuss their responses together. Have each player think of a time when responding positively has been easier or difficult, or a time when a positive reaction would have changed the outcome for them. When will a negative response help you get your way? Does a negative response ever lead to positive results? How can a positive response lead to positive results? Are others more likely to help you get what you want when you're positive?
Lisa Russell has been a writer since 1998. She's been published in Rethinking Everything Magazine, Playdate, AERO and Home Educator's Family Times. She has a Bachelor of Science in business marketing management and a professional background in marketing, education, cosmetology and hospitality.