There are a lot of things in life that bring us down on a daily or even hourly basis. Positive psychology mechanisms help people look at the good and positive things in life to increase their life satisfaction and fulfillment. In the previous post, I explained the first of 3 exercises that Seligman, Steen, Parkman, and Peterson (2005) found in an experimental study that are proven to increase long-term happiness. In this post, I will discuss the remaining 2 specific exercises that were included in Seligman and colleagues’ (2005) study.
Three Good Things In Life
This exercise is a simple but powerful one. Participants were asked to simply write down at least three things they felt went well each day for seven days and what they felt caused them to go well. The participants who completed this exercise, especially those who continued the exercise on their own beyond the initial week required for the study, were found to be significantly more happier six months after the study.
In this exercise, participants were asked to within one week hand-write a letter of gratitude to someone who they felt had been especially kind to them but had not been properly thanked and hand-deliver the letter to them. The research found that people who did this exercise were significantly more happy and showed a decrease in depressive symptoms one month after the study. While this exercise did not show the same results after six-month, the good news is there are probably many people you could hand-write a gratitude letter to hand-deliver to!
The bottom line for these exercises is to train yourself to focus on the positive aspects of life, not to hone in on a negative mental filter. What strengths do you have to make it through a tough situation? What do you contribute to make your life engaged and meaningful? Even if these particular exercises are not for you, what is an exercise you can do? What are ways that you can pinpoint your strengths and use them more to your advantage and the advantage of others?
Set Your Goals
If you would like help creating your own exercises to improve your long-term happiness, contact me today for a FREE Consultation to see how I can help you start setting goals and taking action to begin living a more successful, fulfilling, and happier life.
Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation and interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410-421.