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An Exercise to help you Change the Emotional Tone of Your Life

Before you go to bed tonight and finish the workweek, I dare you to reflect on the following:

  1. Think of “Three Good Things” that happened to you today

  2. WHY did those things happen to you today?

Why you should try it?

Martin Seligman, commonly know as the founder of Positive Psychology, explains why you should try it in this video.

Hmmm, if this habit of writing down “Three Good Things” changes the emotional tone of your life, by decreasing depression and increasing happiness….and it only takes up app. 10 minutes of your day…well, then it’s worth the try, right?

That's what I thought when I first learned about the “Three Good Things” exercise. I tried it, I liked it, I still do it. I also experiment with it sometimes. For example, the other day I was having “one of those days”. You know, when everything seems to go wrong and everybody seems to be out there to get you? When I realized a stream of negative thoughts was infecting my brain and my mood, I decided to try the “Three Good Things” exercise. It changed my focus, my thoughts and my mood; it changed my day for the better :-)

But today I'm inviting you to try it the 'traditional' way, the way the exercise was originally designed.

How to do it?

  • Decide whether you want to write or type.

  • Start tonight by reflecting on your day, identifying and writing down in detail three good things that happened (what happened, where were you, who was there etc.). Anything that you think went well, made you feel happy or grateful, something that made you smile. It can be big (I bought a new car) or small (I made it to the gym today).

  • Write down how it made you feel when it happened and how it makes you feel now, thinking back.

  • Consider why it happened, what caused this event to happen.

  • Repeat tomorrow. Give yourself a week to see if you like it and if it has beneficial effects for you. They say that it takes 21 days to create a new habit, so…

I’m looking forward to hear how you got on!

Original study:

Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410.

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