A while back I wrote a post called 3 Good Things. It was my first step to trying to help spread the message about positive psychology. Since then, I’ve wrote numerous blog posts about the field, and a range of techniques and considerations related to the topic. It’s something I’m actively interested in, and even lead to me delivering a workshop on how it can be applied to daily life.
Give the hashtag #3GoodThings a scan on Twitter and you’ll see just how people interact with the action, and what they write. It’s inspiring stuff and gives you a real sense of what is important to people. As you start to notice it happen on a day to day basis, you start to get a more complete picture of what is it that motivates that person, what is important to them, what they’ve reflected on, and the such like.
A good many more people use it now than I saw in the early days. I’d like to take some credit for that, so I will. But in the main, when I see how others have picked it up and use the action, it’s just bloody excellent to know people are finding ways to make it work for them. I’m not looking for anyone to pat me on the back here, it’s just very encouraging to see.
So where did it come from?
Martin Seligman is the founder of this particular path of psychology. As a psychotherapist, he found that people would often come to him wanting to relieve themselves from depression or feeling down. Therapy for them was useful, but he became frustrated at the limitation of just getting to feeling normal. He wanted people to come to him to feel genuinely positive about their lives. In psychology this is known as instead of moving from -5 to 0, from 0 to +5. He argued getting to this vibrancy state was achievable by everyone.
He set about researching ways to do this, and came up with a list of carefully crafted techniques which when done genuinely help raise the persons mood and feelings to a more positive state. One of these was to document at the end of the day 3 good things which helped them to feel good. He measured the state of a person before asking them, got them to do it over a period of time, and measured them at the end. He noticed significant changes in the persons stated feelings of happiness.
The important thing about this task is that it forces you to consider and reflect on what was important from the day for you. By articulating it, it becomes even more profound for you personally. This is because you have to be able to describe what it is about those things which make you feel positive. This reflection and action can help a person naturally improve their sense of positivity.
There are cynics who will look at this kind of action and say it’s just happy clappy nonsense. There are those who say you could write anything and no-one will know the difference. For those who share it in the social media space, there will be those who say it’s only being done for ‘brand management’. There are cynics in all walks of life who will always have something to say about such activities. I’m not concerned about them.
This type of activity is for those who genuinely want to feel more positive. It’s not restricted to those suffering mental illness, it’s for most normal folk who could do with doing meaningful activities that generate positivity.
I enjoy reading other people’s 3 good things, and am joyed to know in some way I helped to create something that others are engaging in and using purposefully. You may notice I do it few and far between. This is more because I tend to note them privately, and when I feel the need, I share it in the social media space.