Want to cultivate a happier mindset? Turns out you have to practice. Dr. Martin Seligman studies happiness & how to get happier. Seligman is the Director of Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. His “Three Blessings” exercise is wonderfully simple & can be a life changer.
As humans we are predisposed to notice what doesn’t work & how to improve things. This has led to all sorts of wonderful creations & inventions as well as keeping folks alive in a sometimes hostile world. However this scrutiny of what’s wrong doesn’t do much for creating or maintaining happiness. In fact it can lead to increased anxiety & depression.
The Three Blessings exercise is simple: At the end of your day think about 3 positive things that happened and why. The positive things can be thoughts, actions, experiences or observations. You decide what is positive. It might be a great meal, getting recognized for your hard work, talking with a friend, running a marathon, finishing a project or watching a sunset. Some days you might have a hard time deciding which 3 to pick. Other days it may be a struggle to come up with even one. The positives can be big or small it doesn’t matter. The key to using this exercise to cultivate happiness is to ponder the whys. The reason for each positive is going to be personal. It can range from slowing down and noticing to being courageous and taking action. By practicing the 3 blessings daily you retrain your brain to notice the positives instead of being stuck in negativity. Here is Dr. Seligman talking about Three Blessings.