You can find descriptions of “the 3 good things exercise” in several internet sites. This exercise comes from Positive Psychology – a recent branch of science that studies the why people thrive. Martin Seligman, the father of modern positive psychology, explains this exercise in several You Tube videos:
He says that the exercise works because it changes the person’s focus from the things that go wrong in our lives to things that go well. Since we all have the tendency to forget the things that go well and remember the things that don’t go so well, we need an exercise that counteracts this natural tendency. And the more we attend to the positive things in our lives, the more positive our lives become.
To do “the three good things exercise,” you have to write down, just before you go to sleep, three things that went well during the day, reflecting on why these things went well. So, imagine yourself in bed tonight thinking about one good thing that happened today. Write some words down that describe or remind you of that positive experience, then follow up with some words of reflection on why that particular experience went well. Then think about a second thing that happened today that went well, write it down and reflect why. Then think about a third good thing, write it down and reflect why. It is very important for you to write down at least a couple of words on why things went well since it helps you to again experience the good things that happened during your day. Even if these things are small and trivial, such as a smile or enjoying a moment of relaxation, they are good things and that is what is important to focus on.
Do this for at least a week and afterward reflect on the overall experience. Maybe you will be positively surprised by some of the results of this practice.
Written by Ana Melikian