"Three Good Things" - A Simple Strategy with Big Health Payoffs

Taking a bit of time during our day to reflect on things that have gone well can have powerful health benefits. It is a practice that only takes a few minutes but has been scientifically proven to improve quality of life. It can:

  • Help us think more positively about our life
  • Benefit both our physical and mental health
  • Promote feelings of happiness and a sense of well-being
  • Enhance our empathy and improve our self-esteem
  • Increase our mental strength and foster our resilience

When we share what we are grateful for with those around us such as children, family and friends, we support them to feel more positive, as well.

Try doing the following gratitude strategy every day for a week and notice the difference it makes on your wellbeing:

  1. Take a break and think about some positive things that you have experienced in your day.  It can be very simple things like: “shared a smile with my child”, “chatted with a friend”, “felt the warm sun on my face”, or “enjoyed a relaxing bath”.
  2. Write down or draw three of these positive things. Consider what you enjoyed about each.
  3. Take note of the joy you feel as you focus on these simple pleasures.
  4. If you miss a day, no worries… just continue the next day.
  5. If you want to spread the joy, discuss your “Three Good Things” with those around you and encourage them to think of theirs as well.

This simple but very effective strategy has been shown to have cumulative benefits on our health.  The more we do it, the greater the benefit!

- Seligman, et al. “Empirical Validation of Interventions”, 2005
- Sansone RA, et al. “Gratitude and Well Being: The Benefits of Appreciation,” 2010
- “In Praise of Gratitude”, Harvard Health, 2011.