The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination. - Carl Rogers
Here are a bunch of handouts that I use largely in the territory of wellbeing, mindfulness and relaxation. Some are assessment and monitoring questionnaires. Some provide orientating information. Some describe specific exercises to do.
Bus driver metaphor (available as both Word and PDF handouts) - this is a classic ACT (acceptance & commitment therapy) metaphor. I've posted a blog post on this often helpful way of viewing things. It's sensible though to also understand possible limitations of this metaphor.
Acceptance & action questionnaire - this is a widely used 9-item ACT measure of one's ability to "accept" difficult experiences and still "act" effectively. It is available both as a Word document and as a PDF file.
"Naming emotions is another useful self-regulation & mindfulness strategy" - like mindful 'acceptance' and reappraisal, naming/labeling emotions is another useful strategy. This blog post explains why and links to downloadable Word doc & PDF handouts.
Attention, focus & time - this is a Powerpoint slide that I put together and use as a printed-out handout when discussing what we spend our time paying attention to, and how certain forms of attention focus are likely to be more helpful than others.
Four aspects of inner focus - this is another Powerpoint slide I print out to illustrate some overlapping aspects of mindfulness, meditation, relaxation, self-hypnosis, and other related practices. Here is the same diagram as a Word document, as well as a slightly adapted version and a component version as further Powerpoint slides.
Savouring, mindfulness & flow - a simple slide illustrating overlaps and distinctions between these three forms of attentional focus.
Transdiagnostic wellbeing therapy - I put this Powerpoint picture together in a rather tongue in cheek way in a discussion with Tom Borkovec. Despite its quite light-hearted origin, the diagram makes some useful points.
Ryff definitions and background - Carol Ryff and colleagues have spent many years developing and testing a multi-dimensional model of wellbeing. The Ryff definitions handout is a sheet describing their six important components of wellbeing - self-acceptance, positive relationships with others, autonomy, environmental mastery, purpose of life, and personal growth. The background download is a personal communication from Carol Ryff back in about 2000 giving details of the full 20 item scales and the many associated research papers.
Ryff 3 item screening scale - I use this 3-items-for-each-of-Ryff's-6-wellbeing-components questionnaire as a screen to help clarify what aspects of wellbeing an individual might most usefully focus on. Typically I would suggest working on components with the biggest ideal/actual discrepancies.
Ryff 14 item scales: autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relationships, purpose in life, and self-acceptance - I would usually focus work on the one or two wellbeing components highlighted by general discussion and the initial 3 item screening questionnaire (above). I then move on to using the relevant 14 item Ryff scales to assess and track progress when we work on these selected components.
Satisfaction with life scale and background - this is Ed Diener's famous and very widely used Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). I've also included background details interpreting the scores and providing links. If you'd prefer to download these handouts as PDF's (rather than Word docs), then here's a SWLS PDF and here a background PDF.
Diener & colleagues have also published helpful short scales for assessing "Flourishing" and "Positive & negative experiences". These seem good. For more details and downloads see the post "Two new, easily usable scales for assessing wellbeing".
Positive & negative affect schedule (PANAS) - the PANAS too is widely used in wellbeing research. Many researchers have used an amalgam of the SWLS and the PANAS to get a wellbeing measure - adding the SWLS & positive affect PANAS scores ("proud" is treated as a positive affect in the PANAS) and subtracting the negative PANAS score.
Oxford happiness inventory (adapted) - this is the slightly truncated Oxford Happiness Inventory (OHI) used in Sonja Lyubomirsky fine book "The How of Happiness". It makes good sense to use this truncated form as the full version tends to tap into assessing mania as well as "happiness". The OHI, like the Ryff scales, adapts well to setting specific change targets after assessing the gap between one's actual and ideal scores.
Gratitude & appreciation record, suggestions and miniatures - this is a delightfully simple and potentially very helpful happiness-boosting intervention. The miniatures can be printed out as a six slide to a page Powerpoint handout providing background information. The suggestions sheet explains how to do the exercise, and the record sheet is filled in as one follows these instructions. I believe humans (and many other animals) tend to take fairly static aspects of their environment for granted. I suspect this has adaptive survival advantages in hunter-gatherer environments. Part of the cost is the hedonic treadmill where we rapidly take for granted precious every day facts - our ability to function, our relationships, the beauty of nature, the taste of food, so many things. As has been said "We tend to only notice the really important things in life when they're gone." This gratitude noting exercise readjusts the thermostat of our appreciation. It will probably then slide back and may benefit from being readjusted by doing this exercise for a week every month or some other regular reminder.
Coming to our senses - a nice little awareness exercise. I think I picked this up year's ago when reading some work by Milton Erickson.
Relaxation response - a diagram I use when I'm teaching "calming skills" and starting off with a focus on learning to elicit the "relaxation response".
What progress can you expect? - here's a handout I often use when I start teaching somebody "calming skills". The aim is to encourage them to link to what they already know about the time and effort needed to learn any worthwhile new ability.
Dealing with mental chatter - this is an orientation sheet providing one way of looking at the huge challenge of "paying attention" or "mindfulness".
Attention & mind-wandering - these print out as a 6 slides to a page set of Powerpoint miniatures. They illustrate why I tend now to emphasise a little bit more concentrative "effort" in the initial stages of a mindfulness or relaxation exercise than I used to before coming across this work.
Five facet mindfulness questionnaire - full/long version (FFMQ) is downloadable as a Word doc and in PDF format. Ruth Baer et al's FFMQ is a more multidimensional mindfulness measure. I've also shrunk it down to an abbreviated three facet version (TFMQ) for my work with some people (this was done before the FFMQ-SF became available - see below). The TFMQ download contains a fair amount of background orientating information as well.
For more about both the full FFMQ and the short form FFMQ-SF, see the blog post "A better way to measure mindfulness".
Five facet mindfulness questionnaire - short form (FFMQ-SF) - the short form of the FFMQ has only 24 questions compared to the full form's 39 (an approximately 40% reduction in length). It is well validated (see Bohlmeijor et al, 2011) and is downloadable both as a Word doc and in PDF format.
Practice records: relaxation month, relaxation week and mindfulness week - these scales can be used to track how relaxation (and mindfulness) practices are going. If I'm teaching these skills, it can be very useful to see the trainee's practice records - for trouble-shooting any issues that are emerging. The cd or ncd column simply indicates whether the trainee used a practice CD or not.