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About Three Things Daily

The motivation behind Three Things Daily is to help people develop and maintain a habit of gratitude and by doing so improve their mental health.

It is based on the Three Good Things exercise, co-created by Dr. Martin Seligman (founding father of Positive Psychology):

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 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 … “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.

Dr. Martin Seligman

And here’s Dr. Seligman again, describing the Three Good Things exercise in a short video:

Dr. Seligman promises us that if we do this exercise, we’ll be “less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now.” Numerous research studies back this up. Two particular ones of note are:
  1. Becoming Happier Takes Both a Will and a Proper Way: An Experimental Longitudinal Intervention To Boost Well-Being by Sonja Lyubomirsky, et. al; and
  2. Positive Psychology Progress: Empirical Validation of Interventions by Martin E P Seligman, et. al.

The findings indicate that after just one week, the participants were 2% happier. At the end of one month, they were 5% happier. And by the end of 6 months, they were 9% happier.

It is clear that the Three Good Things exercise, and gratitude in general, is beneficial to our lives. Three Things Daily exists because of this truth.

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