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  • Writer's pictureDr. Patty Russo

Start to Change Your Mood with Gratitude

Martin Seligman, one of the founding fathers of modern Positive Psychology, has dedicated much of his career to studying and understanding the pursuit of happiness. He suggests that simply writing down “Three Good Things” per day can help increase your happiness.

Happiness has been linked to many benefits (e.g. greater creativity, better health, more social support, higher quality of work, increased income, etc.). Three primary factors that influence a person’s level of happiness are: genetics (50%), life circumstances (10%), and intentional activities (40%)**.

Intentional activities require some degree of effort and a person chooses to participate, such as exercising or journaling. The focus of the “Three Good Things Exercise” is to incorporate intentional activities to your daily routine to help increase your happiness… since controlling genetics and managing life circumstances are nearly impossible.


  1. THINK about your day before bed

  2. WRITE three good things that happened

  3. REFLECT on one of the following questions and write down your thoughts: Why did this good thing happen? What does this mean to you? How can you have more of this good thing in the future?

  4. REPEAT this exercise daily for one week (or more)

It’s that simple. Seligman suggests that the three things do not need to be groundbreaking events. In fact, they can be small moments (“I got a hard math question right” or “My favorite song played on the radio on my way to work”). The aim is to change your focus from negative events – or what went wrong – to what went well.

It’s a good idea to keep a small notebook in your nightstand so that you can easily complete the exercise while in bed. Of course, since it is 2019 there is also an app for that! Three Good Things – A Happiness Journal is a free app that lets you journal what went well, keeps track of your entries and streaks, and can even alert you when it’s time to log your daily dose of positivity!

Initially, positive thinking may be difficult mind shift. However, as you continue to practice daily, you will find that you start to see the brighter side to your day and notice things that are easily taken for granted. All it takes is 5 minutes a day to start to make changes in your happiness, appreciation, and optimism.

If you have noticed that your child has become increasingly irritable or sad, feel free to schedule a free consultation to talk about how we can help increase their mood and well-being.


Dr. Seligman explains the Three Good Things Exercise and how it promotes happiness.




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