Think About This
In our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the things that go wrong and feel like we’re living under our own private rain cloud; at the same time, we tend to adapt to the good things and people in our lives, taking them for granted. As a result, we often overlook everyday beauty and goodness – a kind gesture from a stranger, say, or the warmth of our heater on a chilly morning. In the process, we frequently miss opportunities for happiness and connection.
By giving you the space to focus on the positive, this practice teaches you to notice, remember, and savor the better things in life. It may prompt you to pay closer attention to positive events down the road and engage in them more fully—both in the moment and later on, when you can reminisce and share these experiences with others. Reflecting on the cause of the event may help attune you to the deeper sources of goodness in your life, fostering a mindset of gratitude.
Each day for at least one week, write down three things that went well for you that day, and provide an explanation for why they went well. It is important to create a physical record of your items by writing them down; it is not enough simply to do this exercise in your head. The items can be relatively small in importance or a bigger deal to you. To make this exercise part of your daily routine, some find that writing before bed is helpful. As you write, just follow these simple instructions:
- Give the event a title.
- Write down exactly what happened, in as much detail as possible.
- Include how the event made you feel at the time.
- Explain what you think caused this event – why did it come to pass?
- Use whatever writing style is comfortable for you – no one is going to grade it.
- If you wander into negative stuff, refocus your mind on the good event and the positive feelings that came from it.
By remembering and listing three positive things that have happened in your day- and considering what caused them – you tune into the sources of goodness in your life. It’s a habit that can change the emotional tone of your life, replacing feelings of disappointment or entitlement with those of gratitude – which may be why this practice is associated with significant increases in happiness. Have a great week!