It’s Thanksgiving week here in the U.S. and as is our tradition, thoughts turn to all that we have to be thankful for in our lives. Gratitude and thanks have been frequent topics here and regular readers know how strongly exercising gratitude contributes to our overall well-being.
Before I sign off for the week to enjoy time with my family, I want to leave you with another reminder of the power of gratitude. I’m reading Martin Seligman’s most recent book Flourish, and in it he builds on the Positive Psychology movement with concrete, research-based activities each of us can do to not simply be happy, but to flourish.
Because we spend so much time focusing on the negative (we do, you aren’t alone on this one), taking time to focus on positive events in our lives helps to add balance. Ready to improve your well-being? Here’s what Seligman suggests:
Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well. You may use a journal or your computer to write about the events, but it is important that you have a physical record of what you wrote. The three things need not be earthshaking in importance (“My husband picked up my favorite ice cream for dessert on the way home from work today”), but they can be important (“My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy”).
Next to each positive event, answer the question “Why did this happen?” For example, if you wrote that your husband picked up some ice cream, write “because my husband is really thoughtful sometimes” or “because I remembered to call him from work and remind him to stop by the grocery store.” Or if you wrote, “My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy,” you might pick as the cause “God was looking out for her” or “She did everything right during her pregnancy.”
Writing about why the positive events in your life happened may seem awkward at first, but please stick with it for one week. It will get easier. The odds are that you will be less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now.
This activity is appropriately called the “Three Blessings” exercise. How wonderful to have time set aside each year and, if we commit, each day to count our blessings! We have so many…
Happy Thanksgiving to you! I’ll see you back here next week.
You can find all books mentioned in this blog online at the Coach Carolyn Store.