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
- Aknin, L. B., Norton, M. I., & Dunn, E. W. (2009) From wealth to well-being? Money matters, but less than people think, The Journal of Positive Psychology,4, 523-527. doi:10.1080/17439760903271421
- 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
- Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., Aaker, J., & Garbinsky, E. N. (2012). Some key differences between a happy life and a meaningful life. Journal of Positive Psychology, 8, 505-516. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2168436
- Del Valle, C. H. C., & Mateos, P. M. (2008). Dispositional pessimism, defensive pessimism and optimism: The effect of induced mood on prefactual and counterfactual thinking and performance. Cognition & Emotion, 22, 1600-1612. doi:10.1080/02699930801940289
- Dillard, A. J., Midboe, A. M., & Klein, W. M. P. (2009). The dark side of optimism: Unrealistic optimism about problems with alcohol predicts subsequent negative event experiences. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 1540-1550. doi:10.1177/0146167209343124
- Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2008). Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science, 319, 1687-1688. doi:10.1126/science.1150952
- Fowler, J. H., & Christakis, N. A. (2008). Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: Longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study. The BMJ, 337. doi:10.1136/bmj.a2338
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2008). Positive psychology in practice. Harvard Mental Health Letter. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/positive_psychology_in_practice
- Howell, R. T., & Hill, G. (2009). The mediators of experiential purchases: Determining the impact of psychological needs satisfaction and social comparison. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 511–522. doi:10.1080/17439760903270993
- Jenkinson, C. E., Dickens, A. P., Jones, K., Thompson-Coon, J., Taylor, R. S., Rogers, M., Bambra, C. L.,…, & Richards, S. H. (2013). Is volunteering a public health intervention? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the health and survival of volunteers. BMC Public Health, 13, 773-782. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-773
- Kjerulf, A. (2016, January 18). The 5 most important findings from the science of happiness that apply at work. The Chief Happiness Officer Blog. Retrieved from https://positivesharing.com/2016/01/positive-psychology-at-work/
- Layous, K., Nelson, S. K., Oberle, E., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2012). Kindness counts: Prompting prosocial behavior in preadolescents boosts peer acceptance and well-being. PLoS ONE, 7. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051380
- Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803-855. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.131.6.803
- Mentor Coach LLC. (n.d.). What IS positive psychology? MentorCoach – Positive Psychology & Coaching. Retrieved from http://www.mentorcoach.com/positive-psychology-coaching/
- Peppercorn, S. (2014). The benefits of positive psychology coaching. Positive Workplace Partners. Retrieved from http://positiveworkplacepartners.com/the-benefits-of-positive-psychology-coaching/
- Peterson, C. (2008). What is positive psychology, and what is it not? Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-good-life/200805/what-is-positive-psychology-and-what-is-it-not
- Scott, B. A., & Barnes, C. M. (2011). A multilevel field investigation of emotional labor, affect, work withdrawal, and gender. Academy of Management Journal, 54, 116-136. doi:10.5465/AMJ.2011.59215086
- Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York City, NY, US: Atria Books.
- Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, S. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60, 410-421. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.60.5.410
- Soots, L. (n.d.). Flourishing. Positive Psychology People. Retrieved from http://www.thepositivepsychologypeople.com/flourishing/