Building Positive Experiences

Are you looking to add more positivity to your life? Or have you been trying to feel more balanced? If so, the DBT skill of “Build Positive Experiences” can be just what you need. By building positive experiences, you can better balance difficult emotions and feel more fulfilled. It’s also a great way to enjoy more events and experiences in life. You can work on this skill in the moment, in the short-term, and in the long-term. Here are some ways that you can use this skill on a daily basis:


In the Present Moment

Sometimes, we too easily rush through our day and miss out on many enjoyable experiences. Instead, take a moment to focus on the present. Try to tune into positive events that are already currently happening, such as:

  • How you feel in the shower and what the water feels like on your skin

  • How you feel when enjoying a favorite beverage or food

  • How you feel when you take a walk or do something outdoors

  • How you feel when someone smiles at you or says “Hello”


In the Short-term

These are experiences that you can engage in right now to lighten your mood. These are great because you don’t need to do much planning in order to build positive experiences:

  • Listen to music you love

  • Take 5 minutes of “me-time”

  • Play a game or practice a sport on your own or with friends

  • Watch your favorite TV show

  • Draw or paint

  • Look a inspirational quotes

  • Read a few pages of a new book


In the Long-term  

These are experiences that require more planning. They can be long-term goals or significant changes that will greatly improve your life, such as:

  • Learning a new sport

  • Starting a business

  • Learning a new language

  • Moving to a different city, state, or country

  • Changing your career

  • Going on a vacation for a few weeks or going to a far away destination


Building positive experiences helps you balance difficult emotions by being aware of positive events that are happening. You can build short-term experiences or long-term goals. If this is a new skill for you, start small by being mindful of the positivity around you. Over time, you can work your way towards more involved long-term positive experiences.

Kendra Anderson, LCSW