Practice the 3-good-things habit. OK, so technically, that’s one easy way with three parts to it, but it will make you happier. The bonus is that it will train your mind to look for positive, not negative, aspects in your life, which will make you happier all the time. Sound good? Read on…
Want to cap off your day delightfully? Practice the “three good things” habit. As you fall asleep, either write in a journal, or just mentally log, three good things that happened to you that day.
Alternatively, you can do this at the beginning of your day – think about three good things that are likely to happen that day. It helps get you into a great mindset, right from the get-go, and allows you to put a positive spin on the day. Or you can use the three-good-things habit in what I believe is the most powerful way – every time something negative crops up in your life, find three good things.
No matter how bad an event is, there are always three good things you can find. For example –
Let’s pretend I was at a dog show, and my dog got loose and was running straight for a busy highway. Now THAT’S a negative event. How can there be three good things in it? Watch…
- She’s loose at a dog show, surrounded by people with good dog sense. They know to coax, not chase, her.
- There’s a fence between her and the highway, which will slow her down and hopefully keep her safe.
- She hasn’t had breakfast yet, so putting her food in a bowl and shaking it will probably get her attention and head her right back to me.
There are truly more than three good things in that bad day, but you get the idea. Why does this three-good-things habit work? First, you need to understand how profound the negativity bias is in the human brain. The primitive part of the brain – the amygdala – reacts to events seven seconds faster than the frontal cortex, the place where thinking, decision-making and planning happen. That means your non-thinking, reflexive thoughts like fight-or-flight take over your body responses, triggering adrenaline and cortisol release, raising the heart rate, slowing digestion, sending most blood flow to the muscles, all designed to provide the boost of energy and strength that might be needed to survive a dangerous situation. Usually when a person is triggered this way, there’s a kind of feedback loop that happens – the stress response causes their thoughts to go in a more negative direction, which causes more of the automatic bodily functions, which could just bring on even more stress and negativity.
This automatic response is what kept Cave Man and Cave Woman alive and reproducing, and in very limited situations here in the early part of the 21st century it can be useful. Most of the time, though, just a conscious tweaking of thoughts can calm the unnecessary reaction down. That’s where the 3-good-things habit shines – over time, and with repeated use, it will train your brain out of negativity and into a happier state of being.
The more you train yourself to look for the good things instead of the bad, the brighter your overall outlook will be.
And the brighter your outlook, the happier you’ll be!
I’d love to hear how you use the 3-good-things habit – please contact me here by leaving a comment, or on my Facebook page and share your wisdom. And if you’d like a happiness quick tip to show up in your “in” box to start each week off right, sign up and it’s yours. Just scroll to the bottom of any page on my website – sandy j weaver dot com – the sign-up form is in the footer. Have a happier day!