Three Good Things

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: 1x/day | Duration: 10 mins
(20 member ratings)

Time Required

10 minutes/day for at least one week.

How to Do It

Each day for at least one week, write down three things that went well for you that day, and provide an explanation for why they went well. It is important to create a physical record of your items by writing them down; it is not enough simply to do this exercise in your head. The items can be relatively small in importance (e.g., “my co-worker made the coffee today”) or relatively large (e.g., “I earned a big promotion”). To make this exercise part of your daily routine, some find that writing before bed is helpful.

As you write, follow these instructions:

  1. Give the event a title (e.g., “co-worker complimented my work on a project”)
  2. Write down exactly what happened in as much detail as possible, including what you did or said and, if others were involved, what they did or said.
  3. Include how this event made you feel at the time and how this event made you feel later (including now, as you remember it).
  4. Explain what you think caused this event—why it came to pass.
  5. Use whatever writing style you please, and do not worry about perfect grammar and spelling. Use as much detail as you'd like.
  6. If you find yourself focusing on negative feelings, refocus your mind on the good event and the positive feelings that came with it. This can take effort but gets easier with practice and can make a real difference in how you feel.
Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: 1x/day | Duration: 10 mins
(20 member ratings)

Why You Should Try It

In our day-to-day lives, it's easy to get caught up in the things that go wrong and feel like we're living under our own private rain cloud; at the same time, we tend to adapt to the good things and people in our lives, taking them for granted. As a result, we often overlook everyday beauty and goodness--a kind gesture from a stranger, say, or the warmth of our heater on a chilly morning. In the process, we frequently miss opportunities for happiness and connection.

This practice guards against those tendencies. By remembering and listing three positive things that have happened in your day--and considering what caused them--you tune into the sources of goodness in your life. It's a habit that can change the emotional tone of your life, replacing feelings of disappointment or entitlement with those of gratitude--which may be why this practice is associated with significant increases in happiness.

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: 1x/day | Duration: 10 mins
(20 member ratings)

Evidence That It Works

Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: empirical validation of interventionsAmerican Psychologist, 60(5), 410.

Visitors to a website received instructions for performing this exercise. Writing about three good things was associated with increased happiness immediately afterward, as well as one week, one month, three months, and six months later.

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: 1x/day | Duration: 10 mins
(20 member ratings)

Why It Works

By giving you the space to focus on the positive, this practice teaches you to notice, remember, and savor the better things in life. It may prompt you to pay closer attention to positive events down the road and engage in them more fully—both in the moment and later on, when you can reminisce and share these experiences with others. Reflecting on the cause of the event may help attune you to the deeper sources of goodness in your life, fostering a mindset of gratitude.

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: 1x/day | Duration: 10 mins
(20 member ratings)

Sources

Jeffrey Huffman, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital
Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: 1x/day | Duration: 10 mins
(20 member ratings)

For More

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: 1x/day | Duration: 10 mins
(20 member ratings)

Reflecting on Three Good Things can spotlight the good in your life and boost your feelings of thankfulness. Do you have an attitude of gratitude? Take our Gratitude quiz to find out:

Completion Status

Comments & Reviews

  1. Luke Miles
    Luke Miles
    October 4, 2016

    I love this practice. One modification I recommend: Don't allow yourself to make up false details to make the story seem happier. If you can't make anything up, you have to dig deeper to remember what was great about it. This will make you better at noticing those positive details when they happen next time.

  2. Luke Miles
    Luke Miles
    October 4, 2016

    I love this practice. One modification I recommend: Don't allow yourself to make up false details to make the story seem happier. If you can't make anything up, you have to dig deeper to remember what was great about it. This will make you better at noticing those positive details when they happen next time.

  3. Maria Francisca Vick
    Maria Francisca Vick
    July 27, 2016

  4. HughK
    HughK
    July 20, 2016

  5. Magdalena Laib
    Magdalena Laib
    April 21, 2016

    Thoughtful

  6. Bala
    Bala
    March 4, 2016

  7. Mary Ann Austin Lowrance
    Mary Ann Austin Lowrance
    February 28, 2016

  8. Jonas Hjalmar Blom
    Jonas Hjalmar Blom
    February 28, 2016

    Good one. I did it daily for two weeks. In the end, I felt that some things repeated themselves (like "It's good that I did a workout today"). But, nevertheless, it's important to practice your attention!

  9. Truly
    Truly
    February 2, 2016

  10. Peggy L. Van Sickle
    Peggy L. Van Sickle
    January 13, 2016

    I had a near death illness in 2004 and have had two strokes that left me with some difficulties, but I am doing so much better some 11 yrs later. This year I implemented a gratitude journal in addition to my journaling practice. It helps me to remember where I was and where I am now. And it helps me to recognize and honor those who have been with me on this whole path to healing. I am so grateful for every day. Even those that are bad days.

  11. Hariett Madigan
    Hariett Madigan
    January 3, 2016

  12. Hariett Madigan
    Hariett Madigan
    January 3, 2016

  13. Hariett Madigan
    Hariett Madigan
    January 3, 2016

  14. Hariett Madigan
    Hariett Madigan
    January 3, 2016

  15. Hariett Madigan
    Hariett Madigan
    January 3, 2016

  16. Heidi Martinez
    Heidi Martinez
    October 20, 2015

  17. Priscilla
    Priscilla
    October 5, 2015

  18. ceciclara
    ceciclara
    August 22, 2015

  19. JenniferLynn
    JenniferLynn
    August 11, 2015

  20. onHerShoulders.com
    onHerShoulders.com
    August 3, 2015

    Love this and believe it can be truly helpful and beneficial. Gives perspective!

  21. Ana McDonald
    Ana McDonald
    July 18, 2015

    I have this rare condition that causes "thunderclap headaches," and I'm one of the rare group's minority who have strokes. So I really need this right now. My strokes are relatively minor. I got to a neurological center that was able (by consulting with medical schools) to diagnose this condition and treat it. I have a good therapist and will start occupational therapy in a few days so I can drive again. I've been forced to slow down, focus on myself. And as a result of all these things, I have a high gratitude score. Before the stroke, I didn't focus on the good, I was too busy getting things done. (I think what I just wrote is probably another practice....)

  22. TeeJay Garcia (Hop Studios)
    TeeJay Garcia (Hop Studios)
    July 14, 2015

  23. Felipe Rios
    Felipe Rios
    June 17, 2015

    Gorgeous advices, every breath in our daily life is accompanied by an infinitive opportunity of appreciate the life, while reaching our happiness in others.

  24. Felipe Rios
    Felipe Rios
    June 17, 2015

  25. Mel Bea
    Mel Bea
    June 13, 2015

    Outstanding site!

  26. Bozena Kloda-Urbanski
    Bozena Kloda-Urbanski
    June 5, 2015

    Good practice not to overlook goodness, beauty and wonders in our daily life. Thank you for making it available here. I am grateful for taking Science of Happiness class. This site is an excellent recap of all techniques taught there grin

  27. Jason Smith
    Jason Smith
    June 3, 2015

    I enjoy taking the time to be present and be grateful for what I have and what went well each day. I think it helps us from taking for granted where we are in this world.

  28. Pierre Isabelle
    Pierre Isabelle
    June 2, 2015

    Ten minutes for this practice seems way underestimated. It took me 5 minutes to go through the first three instructions on the first good thing. You can't write "in as much detail as possible".

  29. Jason Potvin
    Jason Potvin
    May 28, 2015

    Way to go GGSC. Nice initiative!

  30. Mauro Diaferia
    Mauro Diaferia
    May 27, 2015

    Hi there. I just wanted to say how surprised and excited I am to see your new website... What a differrence. What an improvement. The old version was so hard to follow --- so distracting and packed with too much information and text. This new one is just the opposite. Light, clean, as positive as what you have to tell us. Thanks a lot for the new changes. Yes, now I will be here very often. Happy and willing to read everything you have to tell us.

  31. BeeJay
    BeeJay
    May 27, 2015

    Jason, I agree that once or twice a week is more effective. Doing this every day, for me, was so repetitive (went for a walk--every day!) that it actually made me feel worse. I think it might be good to do it more often at first to make it part of your routine, then cut back.

  32. Jason
    Jason
    May 27, 2015

    I'm confused. It says above to do this daily, but http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/tips_for_keeping_a_gratitude_journal/ suggests: "Don’t overdo it. Writing occasionally (once or twice per week) is more beneficial than daily journaling."

  33. ♡ A/A ♡
    ♡ A/A ♡
    May 27, 2015

    Nice! I feel really happy an appreciative.

  34. {name}
    May 7, 2015

    Simple and effective!

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