3 Good Things: A Healthier Perspective in 2023

Do you ever find yourself thinking or saying something like, “Today’s going to be a bear”? Do you anticipate a rough day? Feel stressed and irritable? Research shows a negative perspective impacts our health, contributing to poor sleep, unmanaged stress, depression, isolation and more. I can work with you on that. You can work with yourself on that.

On a personal level, when you wake up late, stub your toe getting out of bed or arrive late for a meeting, it’s easy to slip into a negative perspective on how the rest of the day will go. “It’s going to be a bad day.” You feel irritated, judgmental, seeing everything that’s wrong with the day. We tend to get what we expect. Life continues to fulfill your expectations. How’s that working for you?!

Instead, practice 3 Good Things. A simple 2-min practice just before bed. Write down 3 good things that happened during the day and the accompanying emotion(s). Maybe a conversation with a friend or co-worker (heart-warming), a tasty lunch (satisfying); your pet happy to see you (love). Get it?

The 3 Good Things practice began as a 2-week pilot study at Duke Medical Center with doctors and nurses who were burned out. Two weeks into the study, they fell asleep faster and slept better. By day 4-5 they were consciously looking for good things about which to write. By the end of the first week, their moods had improved considerably.

Later, a 1-year research study was conducted for doctors, 65% of whom were clinically depressed. All they did in the study was practice writing down 3 good things and connected emotions every night before bed. Just 2 weeks into the study, depression dropped by 15%. At 1-year, post-study, 48% remained resilient. The emotions that people in the study experienced the most were joy, happiness, gratitude, serenity, hope, amusement, inspiration, awe and love.

Could your perspective use some tweaking? Get yourself a little spiral notebook and pen and have it at your bedside. Before bed, write down 3 good things from your day and how you felt. There’s something powerful about writing these down. If you have a particularly difficult day, look over the past week or two of your good things. We have so much more good happening than we realize. We woke up today, have clean running water, food in the refrigerator, clothes to wear, and so much we often take for granted. So many blessings!

Why not incorporate this practice as part of your family dinner conversation? Help each other acknowledge the goodness in your day and lives. Welcome to 2023, a year to have a healthier perspective. By the end of the year, you will have written 1,095 good things that have buoyed your perspective.

PS: One of the good things for me today was sharing this information with you and making a positive difference in our community. I feel satisfied and hopeful.

Jane Ehrman, MEd, ACHT