If you could amplify your happiness and well-being with one simple practice, would you do it? Do you ever wish you had a more positive mindset?
When I was growing up I often heard, “life isn’t one big bowl of cherries.” Whenever I was on the happiness train I was reminded that life is tough and I should never forget that.
This belief hijacked my life and kept me on guard for the next big thing that could go wrong. Unfortunately, it’s also a mindset habit that fuels a lot of worry and negativity.
In order to be more positive and feel happier, I started a daily gratitude practice.
I am happy to report that it does work. I am not only more mindful when negativity creeps in but have more positive thoughts.
Having said that, I’m always on the lookout for other quick, easy and proven practices that keep us moving towards healthier and happier lives.
I came across the “What-Went-Well” practice also called “Three Blessings” described in Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being by Dr. Martin Seligman.
Dr. Martin Seligman is the founding father of the positive psychology movement. Positive psychology focuses on how to amplify happiness and well-being as opposed to focusing on the traditional psychology perspective on how to relieve suffering.
The idea is that the absence of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression doesn’t necessarily equate to living a life that feels meaningful and deeply fulfilling. In other words, just because you’re not depressed, doesn’t mean that you’re happy and flourishing.
This is how you do the What-Went-Well practice as described in Dr. Seligman’s book:
“Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well. You may use a journal or your computer to write about the events, but it is important that you have a physical record of what you wrote.
The three things need not be earthshaking in importance (“My husband picked up my favorite ice cream for dessert on the way home from work today”), but they can be important (“My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy”).
Next to each positive event, answer the question “Why did this happen?” For example, if you wrote that your husband picked up ice cream, write “because my husband is really thoughtful sometimes” or “because I remembered to call him from work and remind him to stop by the grocery store.” Or if you wrote, “My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy,” you might pick as the cause “God was looking out for her” or “She did everything right during her pregnancy.”
Writing about why the positive events in your life happened may seem awkward at first, but please stick with it for one week. It will get easier. The odds are that you will be less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now.”
I’ve been doing this practice for a month now and I love it.
Give it a try and then send me a note to let me know what changes you’ve noticed by doing this one simple thing.