Here on my blog, my mission has always been to share practical solutions to the everyday challenges of running a household. But based on my own experiences as a homemaker, I realize that those everyday challenges come in many shapes and sizes.
Sometimes the act of making it through the day is all the challenge we can handle, and I think a lot of us have been feeling that way lately. That’s why in today’s blog post, I want to tell you all about a simple, once-a-day writing exercise that anyone can do to help increase their happiness and think more positively.
It’s called the “three good things” exercise, and yes, it was the name that caught my attention initially! :-) Let’s get started by exploring what the exercise is, how to do it, and how it can help you to become a happier and more resilient person.
What Is The “Three Good Things” Exercise?
The “three good things” exercise is a simple tool you can use to practice gratitude and positivity. While the idea of “practicing” gratitude and positivity can seem a bit strange at first, an exercise like this can actually rewire your brain to seek out and amplify positive feelings and experiences.
The exercise was developed by Martin Seligman, a prominent psychologist who many consider to be “the father of Positive Psychology.” The field of Positive Psychology studies the characteristics and behaviors that allow people to flourish and live a meaningful life, and develops practices to help improve life satisfaction.
The “three good things” exercise is one such practice. In a 2005 study, Seligman and his colleagues found that participants who performed this exercise experienced lasting increased happiness. And since it’s such a simple exercise, what other motivation could you need to give it a try for yourself? :-)
How To Do The “Three Good Things” Exercise
Step 1 – Reflect
Once a day (preferably in the evening sometime before bed), take a moment to reflect on the good things that you experienced. It could be anything, from the most trivial (“I ate my favorite sandwich for lunch,”) to the most meaningful and significant (“My baby took her first steps!”).
Step 2 – Write
Choose three good things you experienced that day and write them down, either using my free printable “three good things” tracker (download it below!), or in your favorite notebook or journal.
“Three Good Things” Printable Tracker
Download this free printable tracker and use it to write down your “three good things” every day for a whole week!
If you’re not much of a pen-and-paper writer, you can always write your “three good things” down on your phone in your Notes app, or using one of these gratitude journaling apps:
- Grateful: A Gratitude Journal (Available in the Apple App Store)
- Presently: A Gratitude Journal (Available in the Google Play Store)
Step 3 – Explain
Finally, next to each good thing you wrote down, provide a brief explanation of why that thing happened. (This step may feel a little strange at first, but it’s the most crucial part of the exercise, so stick with it!)
Next to the sandwich example, you might write “I made a special effort to get that sandwich because I knew it would make me happy.” And next to the example of your baby’s first steps, you could say, “She took her first steps because her confidence and strength are growing.”
How It Works To Increase Happiness
While noticing and recognizing when good things happen is important, it’s the last step in this exercise that is actually the most important. When you attempt to explain why something good happened, you give yourself the opportunity to learn something new about yourself and the world around you.
Over time, the “three good things” exercise can help you to have gratitude for the good things that happened in the past, to enjoy the good things that are happening in the present, and to truly believe that good things will continue happening in the future. Gratitude, mindfulness, and hope—these are just a few characteristics of happy and satisfied people, and thanks to this simple exercise, anyone can develop and master them! :-)
What’s one thing you would include in your list of “three good things” today?