Students will visualize what their lives would be like without one positive event. By considering the absence of this event, they will be able to appreciate its presence in their lives more deeply—without actually having to lose it.


  1. Cognitive: Students will visualize what their lives would be like without one positive event.
  2. Affective: Students will experience a sense of happiness and appreciation for what they have.


Optional: Journal, Pens/Pencils

Teacher Prep

Optional: Consider providing an example from your own life either at the beginning or the close of the activity.


Time Activity Notes
2 min Ask students to reflect on one positive event that has happened in their lives.

For example, it might be an educational or personal achievement, the birth of a sibling, or a special trip they took.

3 min Ask them to write down a brief description of the positive event including:

  • the time of the event
  • what circumstances made it possible
  • all the possible events and decisions that could have gone differently and prevented this event from occurring (for instance, if they had not met the right people or been in the right place for the event to occur)
  • what life would be like now if they had not had this event and/or anything that came from it

Optional: Have students create a journal where they do this activity once a week for a series of weeks.

Encourage students to close their eyes to reflect on the event.
5 min Shift the students’ focus.

Remind students that the event actually did happen.

Have them reflect on what benefits it has brought to their lives.

Go around the room and ask students to share how the activity went for them and how it made them feel.

Optional: Allow for five minutes of journaling.

Offer time for students to gather thoughts then ask students to share observations (in pairs, small group, whole group).

Ask: What did you notice about how you felt before and after the activity? When might it be helpful to do this or a similar activity?

Teacher Reflection

How did you feel after the activity? Did students participate and seem engaged? Remember to ask the students to share their feedback on the activity: What went well? What suggestions do they have for making the activity better? Think about what you might do differently next time.

Emotional Intelligence Tips

  • Encourage students to be patient, respectful, and open, and to reserve judgment.
This activity was adapted from Greater Good in Action, a resource produced by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.