It is common for people to perceive that Psychology is all about mental illness, but this is far from the truth. The field of Clinical Psychology actually started to grow after World war I & II, when many soldiers returned from the war with shell shock ( known at Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD nowadays), but there is also a branch of Psychology which focuses on making us better and happier humans. This branch is termed Positive Psychology, and its goal is to help promote “flourishing”.
Flourishing has 3 core features which include; positive emotions, engagement & interest, meaning & purpose
Other features of flourishing include; self-esteem, optimism, resilience, vitality, self-determination and positive relationships.
I’m sure we’d all like a little more flourishing in our lives, and Positive Psychologists have been busy devising practical ways for us to do just that.
One of my favourite Positive Psychology based practices is called 3 Good Things.
3 Good Things : Instructions
Time required = 5-10 minutes/day for at least one week.
Each day for at least one week, write down three things that went well for you that day, and provide an explanation for why they went well. It is important to create a physical record of your items by writing them down; it is not enough simply to do this exercise in your head. The items can be relatively small in importance (e.g., “weather was warm and sunny ”) or relatively large (e.g., “I got an HD”). To make this exercise part of your daily routine, some find that writing before bed is helpful.
As you write, follow these instructions:
- Give the event a title (e.g., “received compliment on a project”)
- Write down exactly what happened in as much detail as possible, including what you did or said and, if others were involved, what they did or said.
- Include how this event made you feel at the time and how this event made you feel later (including now, as you remember it).
- Explain what you think caused this event—why it came to pass.
- Use whatever writing style you please, and do not worry about perfect grammar and spelling. Use as much detail as you’d like.
- If you find yourself focusing on negative feelings, refocus your mind on the good event and the positive feelings that came with it. This can take effort but gets easier with practice and can make a real difference in how you feel.
Try the 3 Good Things Challenge.
Commit to doing the 3 Good Things exercise for a week and see what difference it makes to your mood and outlook on life.