Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Can the ‘three good things’ rule make you happier?

happy woman.jpg

We all enjoy a moan at the end of the working day, whether it’s a Whatsapp rant on the train or a long-winded account of your terrible day over dinner.

But are our ‘therapeutic’ rants actually making us more stressed?

One research group certainly thinks so, and they’ve formulated a new intervention technique to combat it.

The ‘three good things’ rule is simple; at the end of each day take time to think about three positive things that happened.

Dwelling on the positives rather than solely focusing on the negatives, say the researchers, can reduce all kinds of stress and even tackle physical symptoms.

“For most people, this doesn’t come naturally,” explain Joyce E. Bono and Theresa M. Glomb in the Harvard Business Review.

Woman happy at work in office

“Evolution and the survival imperative have attuned human beings to pay careful attention to all things negative; in addition, people quickly become so accustomed to positives in their environments that they hardly notice them.”

“But a simple intervention can help overcome both tendencies.”

Focusing on the day’s positive notes, say the researchers, provides us with resources that can be used to boost out wellbeing, fight stress levels and even relieve headaches and muscle tension.

In an experiment to test the effectiveness of the ‘three good things’ intervention, the team also noted that after three weeks of making their daily lists, people felt more creative at work, and were able to switch off from work more easily once at home.

“This simple practice — writing about three good things that happened — creates a real shift in what people think about, and can change how they perceive their work lives,” write Bono and Glomb.

“It can also create a feedback loop that enhances its impact: we believe that people who reflect on good things that happened during the day are more likely to share those things with family and friends. Sharing positive events with others creates connections between people and bonds them with one another, further reducing evening stress.

“Ultimately, this also improves sleep, which our ongoing research suggests leads to greater alertness and better mood — which in turn leads to more positive things happening the next day.”

 

Related

hero.jpg

The 10 routine changes that are proven to make you happier

woman sleeping at office work desk.jpg

Science agrees that 9am starts are torture

serena williams press conference.jpg

“Why aren't you smiling?” watch Serena Williams' brilliant response

couple texting love social media.jpg

Is Facebook killing your relationship?

rexfeatures_4308077a.jpg

Caitlin Moran & Benedict Cumberbatch release refugee charity single

12_ama-portrait-photo-by-daan.jpg

Real life mermaid: inside the world of a female freediver

rexfeatures_4900187bx.jpg

Jennifer Lawrence on coping with anxiety and self-doubt

5988-062080-rt.jpg

This new classical album could cure your insomnia

rexfeatures_3505137a.jpg

The one surprising factor that could cause you stress at work

Comments

More

Serena Williams had the best response for reporter who criticised her

"Are you serious?"

by Sarah Biddlecombe
20 Jan 2017

Married at First Sight’s Caroline reveals truth about marriage to Adam

Steel yourselves, romantics

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jan 2017

Listen to A-listers narrate the history of Planned Parenthood

“No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
19 Jan 2017

Wife Swap set to return with one-off Brexit special

What happens when a Remain voter finds herself living in a family of Brexit fans?

by Kayleigh Dray
19 Jan 2017

The 2017 Feminist Calendar: celebrate the sisterhood all year round

The future is female

by The Stylist web team
19 Jan 2017

Unicorn lattes are the new brunch trend taking over your Instagram

These healing concoctions are almost too pretty to drink

by Kayleigh Dray
19 Jan 2017

Will & Grace is officially coming back to TV and we can’t wait

NBC has ordered 10 new episodes of the iconic show to air later this year.

by Moya Crockett
19 Jan 2017

Men refuse to apply for jobs that use “feminine” words

They don't want to be "sympathetic" or "caring"

by Sarah Biddlecombe
19 Jan 2017

This new DIY divorce app vows to help you to ‘consciously uncouple’

Because there really is an app for everything nowadays

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Jan 2017

Rachel Court wants employers to watch for these abuse warning signs

A woman who survived being shot by her husband has shared a letter from her old boss, revealing the extent to which her partner controlled her life for years

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Jan 2017