Three Good Things is a positive psychology exercise that may seem overly simple yet can yield excellent results. Committing to a daily of practice of this happiness-boosting exercise is a powerful way to raise daily happiness levels. Though from the outset, doing this exercise may seem simple, but committing to Three Good Things and doing it diligently day after day is certainly not easy.
What exactly is the Three Good Things exercise? It is an exercise in gratitude. With consistent practice, a habitual state of gratitude is developed. The Three Good Things method is as follows:
1. Sit down before bedtime and reflect upon the day.
2. Think of three things that went well throughout the day.
3. Write the three good things down in a journal and reflect upon each good thing.
The best part about this exercise is that we can reflect upon our blessings, both large and small. We need not move mountains or make grand achievements. Rather, we simply need to reflect on three things that went well throughout our day. Initially, we may have trouble thinking of three good things. But with practice, we will eventually come up with more than just three good things. The goal of this exercise is to help us practice our gratitude and become happier individuals.
The practice of gratitude has long been known to have its roots in Judaism. In a class of 800 which Tal-Ben Shahar taught at Harvard, he assigned his students a gratitude journal. Of this, Associate Professor of History at Arizona State University Hava Tirosh-Samuelson said, “These exercises are in complete accord with the Jewish outlook. Jewish prayer and the Jewish system of blessing is about expressing gratitude to G-d.”
Expressing gratitude is not a foreign concept in Judaism. In fact, we express our gratitude daily through our daily prayers and blessings over food prior to eating. We are acknowledging the kindness and blessings which G-d bestows upon us, thereby deepening our love for Him and our commitment to His commandments. A Jew is called Yehudi in the Hebrew language, which comes from the root word hoda’ah, meaning gratitude. Essentially, this means our very purpose as the Jewish people is to express our gratitude towards G-d for all the good He bestows upon us and the world.
The simple practice of expressing daily gratitude creates a shift in our thoughts and in how we perceive our experiences. As an added benefit, when we share our positive events with others, it can strengthen our social and friendship bonds. With increased happiness, we will also find ourselves more productive and able to reach the goals which we have set for ourselves.