Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Count your blessings

You come home from work. What a horrible day. In the morning, you arrived at work late because of a traffic jam. Then you did not get half as much done as you had planned, just because you could not concentrate. And your new colleague kept you from work because you had to explain so much to him. Really, what a horrible day. You are dissatisfied and unhappy. Does this situation sound familiar to you?

According to one of the “fathers” of the Positive Psychology movement, Professor Martin Seligman, people spend more time analysing what has gone wrong than thinking about what has gone right. However, being aware of the good events instead of the bad ones increases happiness and decreases depression and therefore leads to more life satisfaction. In a video, Professor Seligman introduces a method that helps people be aware of the good events: the three blessings.

How does the three blessings exercise work? It is simple. In the end of the day, remember three things that went well, and reflect why they went well. You can write your ideas down, but you can also discuss them with someone, for example, your partner. Remembering the positive things may also be used when dealing with people one has problems with. Probably there are also some good facets of the boss one does not really get along with. Or the employee that is always causing trouble sometimes does something right or is really good at a specific domain. This does not mean that we should whitewash things. It just means that a slight change in perspective can enhance one’s happiness.

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