3 Good Things

What is 3 Good Things?

3 Good Things is positive psychology intervention proven very effective at improving happiness amongst those participating in several studies!

Let’s Talk… 3 Good Things Workbook

If you would prefer to complete this exercise with pen and paper, print out the journal below! Simply fold the paper in half after printing the PDF 2-Sided in book format! It includes space for 14 days of journaling 3 Good Things that happened in your day, the role you played in making those good things happen, and how it made you feel!

3 Good Things Explained

J. Bryan Sexton, PhD, psychologist, Duke University, Department of Psychiatry.

The Field of Positive Psychology

This concept is one of many interventions born in the field of Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology was first described by Martin Seligman, a researcher with a broad range of experience in psychology. He partnered with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi for a paper in AMerican Psychologist in 2000. The article titled, Positive Psychology: An Introduction, has informed decades of reasearch into the topic, and helped many people through an array of interventions.

Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55(1), 5–14.

Studies and Research

Positive psychology teaches how to harness the power of shifting one’s perspective to maximize the potential for happiness in many of our everyday behaviors. For example, each of these findings gives us a concrete idea for improving our own quality of life:

People overestimate the impact of money on their happiness by quite a lot. It does have some influence, but not nearly as much as we might think, so focusing less on attaining wealth will likely make you happier (Aknin, Norton, & Dunn, 2009);

Spending money on experiences provides a bigger boost to happiness than spending money on material possessions (Howell & Hill, 2009);

Gratitude is a big contributor to happiness in life, suggesting that the more we cultivate gratitude, the happier we will be (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005);

Oxytocin may provoke greater trust, empathy, and morality in humans, meaning that giving hugs or other shows of physical affection may give you a big boost to your overall well-being (and the well-being of others; Barraza & Zak, 2009);

Those who intentionally cultivate a positive mood to match the outward emotion they need to display (i.e., in emotional labor) benefit by more genuinely experiencing the positive mood. In other words, “putting on a happy face” won’t necessarily make you feel happier, but putting in a little bit of effort likely will (Scott & Barnes, 2011);

Happiness is contagious; those with happy friends and significant others are more likely to be happy in the future (Fowler & Christakis, 2008);

People who perform acts of kindness towards others not only get a boost in well-being, they are also more accepted by their peers (Layous, Nelson, Oberle, Schonert-Reichl, & Lyubomirsky, 2012);

Volunteering time to a cause you believe in improves your well-being and life satisfaction and may even reduce symptoms of depression (Jenkinson et al., 2013);

Spending money on other people results in greater happiness for the giver (Dunn, Aknin, & Norton, 2008).

What is Positive Psychology, Ackerman, Courtney, retrieved from positivepsychology.com


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  • Barraza, J. A., & Zak, P. J. (2009). Empathy towards strangers triggers oxytocin release and subsequent generosity. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1167, 182-189. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04504.x
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