INCREASE HAPPINESS WITH THE 3 GOOD THINGS ACTIVITY
Robert Burns, the famous Scottish poet, gets a mention here because of the sentiment in his poem 'A Bottle and Friend' fits in with the idea I want to propose about the old age concept of gratitude and appreciating the small things in life, which has become a dominant area of research in psychology today.
Three Good Things
Before going to bed, either write down in a notebook, or share with a loved one, three good things from that day.
Pick one thing for each of the following:
Then expand on your answers to explain why you picked each one.
Making it a bedtime habit
I do this every night with my husband and I have clients who have chosen to do it with their kids as part of a bedtime routine. The research originally asked people to write it down in a journal, but making it work for you is more important than following the rules. Its power is in its simplicity. It is so easy to do, takes so little time and yet it leaves you at the end of the day pulling out and re-experiencing the good parts of your day. So valuable. Too many people spend the moments before sleep, dwelling on all the bad parts!
The only suggestion I can make, is to avoid quantifying or qualifying your reasons for enjoying something based on a negative from the day. E.g. I enjoyed sitting by the fire today, but only because the weather was awful and there was nothing else to do! - Instead let the enjoyment be. If you enjoyed sitting by the fire today, there will probably have been a positive reason for that enjoyment.
The three things can be really small and seemingly insignificant, like ‘I enjoyed my cup of coffee today because it smelled so good and was warming’. Your grateful might be small too. ‘I am grateful that my husband made me that coffee this morning’. Even in the most difficult times there are three good things that happened in your day. Honestly, I’ve been doing this for nearly two years and I’ve had bad days - but there are always three good things that you can find. The funny thing I tend to notice on those days, is my reluctance to think about the good things, because it almost feels as though I’m proving myself wrong - after all ‘I am having a bad day!’ - what we say, we believe and what we believe, we act on. On these days it’s even more important to do the Three Good Things activity. Change what you’re saying and you will start to change what you are feeling. It works - but don’t take my word for it - give it a go for a few nights. Then drop me a comment on the blog or post something on my Facebook page. I’d love to hear your responses and who you choose to share this with.
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Clare Martin is a the founder of the Positive Teacher Network who specialises in helping teachers to find the ultimate Work Life Balance and supports them with many of the difficulties teachers face today.
The Positive Teacher Network provides practical tips and strategies to busy, tired teachers to help them improve their lives allowing them to focus on being great teachers.