July 20, 2024

Happiness and Stress Part 2

Three Good Things

The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitudes. Victor Frankl.

Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. Abraham Lincoln

In last week’s blog, you were introduced to Authentic Happiness and its exercise “Gratitude Visit.” How did you do writing your letter? What was your experience? Have you considered reading it, in person, to that person?

This week you will be introduced to exercise two: Three Good Things, which will demonstrate your ongoing improvement in happiness.

You might wonder “why bother” beyond the fact that being happy sounds more pleasing. Seligman reviews in Authentic Happiness that happier people are physically healthier (including lower blood pressure and healthier immune system), live longer, get over distress more rapidly, have a richer social life, more close friends. are more altruistic, and more productive.

Following are the steps for Three Good Things:
The first night you will take two scales (about 10 minutes total): Satisfaction with Life Scale and General Happiness Scale. Complete and score them. These provide a baseline rating of your happiness. You can compare your score with others and later retake the test to see the how much your happiness increased.

Access: http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx

  1. Set aside five minutes each night for the next two weeks, preferably just before brushing your teeth.
  2. Prepare a pad of paper with one page for each of the next 14 days.
  3. Then think back over the previous 24 hours and write down, on separate lines, at least three things in your life that happened that day that represent something for which you are grateful.
  4. Answer in writing, the question “Why did this good thing happen for me?” or “Why did I deserve this?”
  5. Repeat the Life Satisfaction and General Happiness Scales on the final night, two weeks after you start, and compare these scores to the scores of the first night.
  6. If this works for you, keep incorporating it into your nightly routine. You have begun to successfully influence, in a positive way, how you think.

Give one or both of these a try. Please share your results on this blog.



  1. Thanks for your focus on this information. In my experience, this is both an exceedingly simple and powerful way to increase one’s general level of contentment. Most of the good stuff in our lives goes unnoticed by us–this exercise brings it into focus and places the less-than-desirable stuff in perspective.