CoverIntroductionWellbeing and Its Importance in SchoolsWhat frameworks exist to promote school wellbeing?What is the best approach for my school/district?Valuable Tools and ConsiderationYour Call to ActionStudent Wellbeing InterventionsPositive Emotion Three Good ThingsCounting BlessingsEnvisioning Your Best Possible SelfUnderstanding HumorThree Funny ThingsOutdoor LearningBringing the Outside InBibliotherapyEngagementRecognizing and Utilizing Personal StrengthsARCS Model of CuriosityCarousel BrainstormingGenius HourPerspective Taking and Role-PlayArts IntegrationDrawing and Coloring TherapyCulturally-Enriching and Arts-Based Field TripsCulturally Responsive PracticesSocial Belonging InterventionEmotional Self-Regulation: RULER methodModeling Emotional Self-Regulation SkillsTeacher PraiseRelationshipsModeling Love, Kindness and ForgivenessActive Constructive RespondingDialogue JournalsSecret Strengths SpottingPeer Praise NotesActs of KindnessVolunteeringFast FriendsBuddy BenchMeaningEducating Students about Benefit AppraisalsGratitude LettersSavoring StrategiesTaking in the Good (HEAL)Mental Time TravelBrief Mindfulness ActivitiesMindful BellMindful BreathingBody Scan RelaxationMindful Walking/MovementFive Senses MindfulnessMindful PhotographyMindful Self-CompassionAccomplishmentFuture Thinking & When/Where PlansHope MapG-POWER Goal SettingEmbedded Self-Regulation StrategiesGrowth MindsetGrit and Deliberate PracticeDeveloping Students' Resilience and Coping SkillsHealth and VitalityHealthy Sleep HabitsClassroom Physical ActivityYogaCreative Playground EquipmentHealthy Body Image InterventionStudent-Led Health ProgramSchool-Led Interventions for Teachers and StaffSupporting Teacher AutonomyMindfulness TrainingCompassion TrainingHumor TrainingIncentivizing Physical ExerciseIndividual Interventions for School EmployeesPositive and Reflective JournalingSelf-Regulation and Coping StrategiesSelf-AffirmationSelf Compassion LetterDiscovering and Utilizing Character StrengthsJob CraftingMindfulnessAdditional Interventions to ConsiderDedicated Wellbeing SpacesIndividual Wellbeing Plans for School EmployeesOther ResourcesPROSPER

Taking in the Good (HEAL)

Keywords: Elementary Education, High school, Middle School

Rick Hanson (2013) found that by focusing on and taking in our good experiences, even just for about twelve seconds, rather than ignoring them, we can train our brains to be more positive. In other words, when we use the amplifying strategy of savoring, we can improve our positive emotions and outlook on life. Hanson shares a four step acronym, HEAL, that can help remind us to pause and enjoy good experiences and “heal” from negative ones. The steps are as follows:​​

This image describes the parts of the acronym HEAL. H stands for "Have a positive experience!" E stands for "Enrich it!" A stands for "Absorb it!" and L stands for "Link a positive memory to a negative one and allow the positive to overcome the negative!"

This practice requires consistent, long term practice to be effective (Hanson, 2013). As you teach these steps to your students, consider having a HEAL moment daily or weekly in your classroom as well as encouraging students to continue practicing this savoring strategy outside of class.

Grade Level: All
Materials: None
Duration: 3-5 minutes daily, or as needed.

1. Have students think about a positive experience they have had recently, or reflect on someone who cares about them.

2. Have students focus upon that memory for a few seconds and draw their attention to what it makes them feel.

3. Encourage students to absorb those positive feelings and continue reflecting upon the positive experience.

4. Finally, have students use those positive feelings to reflect upon a negative experience and to let the positive experience soothe some of the remaining hurt or negative feelings they may have.

Does it work?

Jacob and de Guzman (2016) assessed the impact of the “taking in the good,” or “HEAL,” process developed by Rick Hanson on the depression levels of adolescent female students in the Philippines. Over the course of 6 weeks, 30 female students ages 13 to 16 participated in 90-minute lessons discussing principles of the “taking in the good” exercise in conjunction with bibliotherapy. Not only did depression levels fall among students participating in the intervention, but the students also reported improved self-esteem and a better ability to overcome feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness (Jacob & de Guzman, 2016).


Hanson, R. (2013) Hardwiring happiness: The new brain science of contentment, calm and confidence. Harmony Books. 

Jacob, J. & de Guzman, R. G. (2016). Effectiveness of taking in the good based- bibliotherapy intervention program among depressed Filipino female adolescents. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 23, 99-107.


CC BY-NC: This work is released under a CC BY-NC license, which means that you are free to do with it as you please as long as you (1) properly attribute it and (2) do not use it for commercial gain.

End-of-Chapter Survey

: How would you rate the overall quality of this chapter?
  1. Very Low Quality
  2. Low Quality
  3. Moderate Quality
  4. High Quality
  5. Very High Quality
Comments will be automatically submitted when you navigate away from the page.
Like this? Endorse it!