Posted in lifestyle, mental health, reflective journalling

Monday Matters: Positive daily reflection using the Three Good Things (3GT) exercise

Over the last week, I’ve been doing some decluttering in my craft room. The place is overflowing with stuff and I feel like quite a few of the bits and pieces will never get used and would be better off going to a new home. Whilst sorting out some trays, I found an old magazine that I purchased last year. Flicking through it, I found a box of information about a reflective exercise that can help inject some positivity into your day. I already feel grateful for a lot of things in my life and have previously carried out a daily gratitude practice in my bullet journal each evening. This particular exercise though, takes things a little further and asks you to consider three positives and why they happened. I haven’t yet tried this out (as I was so excited to share the ideas behind it in this blog post) but I have a feeling that it will be really useful in helping me (and you if you try it out) to realise how many of the positives in my life are directly linked to my own actions and thoughts.

The Three Good Things exercise

The 3GT exercise was co-created by Martin Seligman, one of the leading experts in positive psychology. He designed the activity as a tool to really highlight the good in your life in a simple, easy and scientifically backed way that helps to boost your happiness.

How it works

  1. Every evening, at least an hour before bed, think of three good things that happened that day. These could be big or small things – anything positive counts. Maybe you particularly enjoyed a meal you cooked or you found the perfect neutral t-shirt you’ve been looking for whilst out shopping. Perhaps you managed to carve out some time to work on a creative project or a task that you’ve been putting off was easier and quicker than you thought.
  2. Write these things down on paper. Don’t just think about them. Journalling about them is a very important step in the process.
  3. Reflect on what brought about these events i.e. why they happened. For example, you might have spent a chunk of time last week searching online resources for recipes to try, picked one which sounded nice and chose good quality ingredients for the dish to make it extra special.
  4. Do the above each night for six weeks and then think about the effect it has had on your happiness levels.

An example

My 3GTs for today:

  1. Finding an interesting idea in an old magazine. I found the information as I flicked through the pages during a mini declutter of my craft room.
  2. Two lovely comments on my blog post which made me feel so happy. I took the time to photograph and share my bullet journal spreads for February and provided a short explanation for each page. I try really hard to be consistent with my posting and share content which my readers will enjoy. I also spend time making sure my posts read well and are informative as the quality of my articles is really important to me.
  3. My Amazon order just popped through the letterbox a day earlier than expected. I now have two more books of gorgeous stickers and a new good quality washi tape to add to collection for use in my bullet journal and traveler’s notebook. The work I do at the uni plus other sources of funds enable me to treat myself to journalling supplies which are a joy to use. I’m so pleased that Nichola suggested getting in touch with Lesley as I really love doing PCPI sessions and I know the students appreciate what we do too.
Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative

Why it works

By carrying out the exercise on a regular basis, you’re training your brain to find a number of positives in each day and begin to recognise what went before to cause these things to happen. This helps to change the focus from stressful or negative aspects of our lives, encouraging us to be more thankful for what we currently have (even those things which we tend to take for granted) and more optimistic and hopeful about our future.

Final thoughts

The Three Good Things exercise sounds to me like a wonderful way of digging deeper into gratitude so that you look at what came before positive events and thoughts in your day. I’m definitely going to give it a go and I’m pretty sure the thirty minutes or less that I dedicate to the practice each evening will have a huge impact on my life. Let me know in the comments if it sounds appealing to you and if it’s something you would like to try.



A creative planning and journalling addict who lives in the North East of England, My current passions are my bullet journal, my Traveler's Notebook for memory keeping, my DSLR for taking nature photos, my new watercolour paints and my papercrafting supplies. I also own and run LJDesignsNE on Etsy where I sell pretty and functional goodies to fellow planner and journaling addicts.

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