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 and what led to them brings awareness to the positive heartfelt moments of the day and reminds us of our positive role.
Studies have shown that individuals are better able to recognize more good/positive things and feel increased happiness after only one week of 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 a 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 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.
WISER to the Rescue! Reduction in Healthcare Worker Burnout and Improvement in Well-being.
Our programs and workshops help you develop skills that maximize your mind, body, and spiritual health. They’re open to adults of all ages, ranging 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 Duke Health & Well-Being Team In mind-body techniques, visualization is a powerful tool for achieving personal growth, wellness, and self-transformation. Visualization empowers individuals to tap into their imagination and manifest their desires by harnessing the innate connection between the mind and body. This blog post explores the ...READ MORE
As the world continues to evolve and health becomes are an increasingly important aspect of our lives, there has never been a better time to become a health coach. With the rise of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, people are seeking guidance on how to lead ...READ MORE
Eating seasonally grown foods offers many benefits that promote our health, support local economies, and contribute to environmental sustainability. In addition, when eating with the seasons, we can enjoy various advantages by aligning our diets with natural production cycles. According to Kenlyn Young, LDN, MS, RD at ...READ MORE