Coping, Mental Health

Three Good Things Each Day

Listing three good things that happen in your life each day can boost your mood and increase your happiness in just a few weeks, according to research. They don’t have to be grand accomplishments; small things that make you smile are just as powerful.

When my migraines were at their absolute worst, life felt bleak. Despite my normal ability to see the good in even the smallest things, I couldn’t see anything good in my life. Experience had taught me that if I was going to succeed in finding relief, I’d need a better attitude. I was so sick, though, that it needed to be an easy, low-effort attitude adjustment. So I challenged myself to think of three good things that happened each day.

I can still picture myself in bed in the bedroom of our Boston apartment — a spot I could stay for days at a time, save for when I got up to go to the bathroom (I spent a lot of time daydreaming about how great a catheter would be) — mentally listing my three good things before I went to sleep each night. At first, they were miniscule: I enjoyed a podcast, my meds and water were in easy reach when I needed them, I survived another day. Then they got a little bigger: Hart and I laughed together, my new headache specialist was kind, I identified a trigger. In time, I no longer had to force myself to see the good, I was noticing it frequently.

Still, I continued with the practice. It had become a sort of meditation or, if I were into that sort of thing, a prayer. Consciously attending to the positive in life reinforced my ability to find good things no matter what was happening. Despite this, I eventually fell out of the habit. To get back into it, I issued a sort of challenge to readers to list their three good things on a forum thread each day of November.

Will you join us? Not necessarily on, but in listing your three good things each day, privately or publicly, written or mentally. It’s a simple technique that’s surprisingly powerful.

My three good things for today: 1. I wrote this blog post, 2. I ate pasta made from semolina flour without it triggering a migraine, 3. I appear to have gotten the smoke smell out of the microwave, so I may not have to replace it. What are your three good things today?

My article, “What are your three good things?,” explains some of the research and you can post your three things on the Three Good Things forum thread. A good, more general, summary of the practice and research is at Find Three Good Things Each Day.


4 thoughts on “Three Good Things Each Day”

  1. I’m echoing the first two comments – thanks for the challenge and I am going to ask my teen to give this a try. Thanks very much for your continued writing about headaches.

  2. Hey, Kerrie! Just wanted to say thank you for starting this 3 good things challenge. My head hurts so much all the time that it really adds to my depression. Trying to think of 3 good things has helped direct my attention to ANYTHING that is good. Thanks.

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