By Duke Integrative Medicine Programs Team
The “Three Good Things” exercise is a powerful positive psychology technique. From a biological perspective, our brains are hardwired to reflect, notice and remember the negative as a survival mechanism and a way to avoid that which causes physical and emotional discomfort. This tendency to focus on the negative can feed depression and burnout. Taking time to reflect upon three good things that happened in the day, along with what led to them, brings awareness to the positive heartfelt moments of the day and reminds us of the positive role we have played.
Studies have shown that individuals are better able to recognize more good/positive things and feel increased happiness after only one week of doing the exercise.1–4 It is not that more good/positive things are happening, just that they could be recognized more often. Research has also demonstrated that participants who regularly used this technique for four weeks and longer have increased levels of happiness and decreased symptoms of depression when compared to a control group.1,2,4 Additional studies using this technique with Duke Neonatal ICU Staff showed an increase in happiness and decrease in burnout. Results with Duke Internal Medicine Residents showed lower burnout, fewer depressive symptoms, greater happiness, improved work-life balance, fewer conflicts with colleagues, and improved sleep quality.
Before you begin, you will need to have paper and something to write with such as a pen or pencil.
Copyright © 2017 Duke Integrative Medicine
1. Gander F, Proyer RT, Ruch W, Wyss T. Strength-Based Positive Interventions: Further Evidence for Their Potential in Enhancing Well-Being and Alleviating Depression. Journal of Happiness Studies. 2013;14(4):1241-1259.
2. Mongrain M, Anselmo-Matthews T. Do positive psychology exercises work? A replication of Seligman et al. (2005). Journal of clinical psychology. 2012;68(4):382-389.
3. Proyer RT, Gander F, Wellenzohn S, Ruch W. Positive psychology interventions in people aged 50–79 years: long-term effects of placebo-controlled online interventions on well-being and depression. Aging & Mental Health. 2014;18(8):997-1005.
4. Seligman ME, Steen TA, Park N, Peterson C. Positive psychology progress: empirical validation of interventions. Am Psychol. 2005;60(5):410-421.
Our programs and workshops help you develop skills that maximize your mind, body, and spiritual health. They’re open to adults of all ages and range from a one-time seminar to weekly classes and multi-day workshops. As a participant, you’ll have access to our online learning system, which houses your learning and course materials, receipts, and certificates of completion.
By: Vasundhara Dambal, Nutrition Intern from North Carolina Central University and the Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center Nutrition Team What is Menopause? Menopause is a normal process of aging that happens 12 months after monthly menstruation ceases altogether. Ovaries produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which regulate the menstrual cycle. ...READ MORE
Maintaining healthy eating habits can be challenging while at home, but embarking on a trip can be potentially fraught with temptation. Whether you’re trying to avoid fast food, eat a nutritious breakfast, or stick to a diet, healthy eating on the go is entirely possible. Here are six ways to ...READ MORE
By Kenlyn Young, LDN, MS, RD, Duke Integrative Medicine. Our immune system is complex and influenced by diet, sleep, movement, stress reduction, and other lifestyle elements. Currently, 1 in 15 people (1 in 6 for women) is diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. This situation, plus the potentially devastating effects that ...READ MORE