How You Can Feel Greater Happiness in Just One Week
The Three Good Things method is a journaling tool to bring more joy into life.
What if you could feel happier in a week? How might that change your life?
Research on the Three Good Things method, also known as Three Blessings, suggests you can positively impact your happiness in just one week.
Three Good Things Was Developed By Martin Seligman, Father Of Positive Psychology
The Three Good Things
method was developed by one of the most renowned psychologists of the late 20th and early 21st century, Martin Seligman. As former president of the APA and founder of the positive psychology movement, his work since the late nineteen nineties has focused on the psychology of flourishing instead of the psychology of pathology. Seligman is the director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and author of many scientific journal articles and books.
As an interesting side note, if you’ve ever taken a psychology course, you may recognize Dr. Seligman’s name from the learned helplessness experiments they did with dogs in the 1960s at University of Pennsylvania. In these experiments, dogs received light shocks under conditions where some could escape the discomfort and others could not. Of those conditioned that they could not escape, they remained helpless when given the opportunity to escape in later trials, thus they learned to be helpless despite opportunities to change their circumstances.
Three Good Things Journaling Improves Feelings Of Positive Emotion`
The Three Good Things Exercise has been empirically validated to be effective at reducing feelings of depression and improving a sense of happiness and well-being for 6 months after just 7 days of intentional practice. The method utilizes the psychological principle of “savoring”, which is the positive counterpart to ruminating. Savoring is defined as attending, appreciating, and enhancing positive experiences that occur in one’s life.
The Method To The Goodness
It goes something like this:
Throughout the day:
- Take notice of each moment as you enjoy it. Every so often take a few seconds to reflect on what you are doing and how it brings goodness to your day.
Tonight before bed:
- Reflect on your day and write down in your journal three positive things that happened to you today, whether big or small, from the fantastic sandwich you ate for lunch to the promotion you were awarded at work. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to seem important. It only has to be something that is a source of enjoyment or fulfillment.
- For each of the three items, write about one or more of the following:
- Why did this good thing happen?
- What does it mean to me?
- How can I have more of this in the future?
Journal With Integrity And Intention For One Week
When I share this positive emotion intervention with my clients, I suggest committing to doing this for one week. That is just seven days. We can do almost anything that only takes 10 minutes for 7 days. The research suggests that just 7 days of doing this practice with integrity and intention will promote reduced depressive symptoms and higher reported positive emotions for up to six months.
Perhaps you will continue to do it as a daily practice or perhaps as a weekly reflection, choosing three good things from the week to write about. There is no added benefit to doing it daily, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t if you enjoy the process and wish to add it to your journaling routine. Doing this a few times a week or weekly is enough to maintain this shift in well-being beyond the 6 months. Keep in mind, this is not a fix all and you may still feel down at times. The difference should be noticeable in terms of a reduced duration and depth of negative emotions. Negative emotions are part of a rich emotional spectrum, so the goal is not to avoid and eliminate them, it is to honor and act upon the actionable insights they provide.
If you find yourself ruminating try savoring your best moments and experiences instead and journaling about them using the Three Good Things method.
If you would like to read more about the Three Good Things intervention and other tools for flourishing, you can purchase Martin Seligman’s book, Flourish here*:
*This link is an affiliate link. I may receive a small commission from purchases made through this link.