“I want to get rid of my stress right away!”
Many people feel that way, but don’t know how to handle their struggles of daily stress. When negative emotions such as irritation and anxiety are left untreated, they can eventually lead to serious stress reactions in our bodies and minds. In some cases, it can lead to mental illnesses such as depression. As a preventative measure, it’s important to eliminate stress as soon as you feel it.
Let us introduce you to a stress care technique that’s scientifically proven to have positive effects on our mental health. It’s easy to implement. It’s called the “three good things” method.
The Widely-Used Method of Keeping a Diary
The “three good things” utilizes the popular self-care technique of writing in a diary. It’s very simple in practice. All you have to do is write down 3 positive things that happened that day, every day before bed. That’s all there is to it. What you choose to write down can be anything if it makes you feel positive. It could be little things that happened in your day, such as that your family was in a good mood, or you woke up in the morning feeling rested.
According to a study conducted by the University of California, subjects who practiced this habit for 10 weeks increased their resistance to stress by 25%. The three good things method has many positive benefits, including but not limited to:
・Increased feelings of happiness from reminiscing the positive
・Increased proactivity in finding the good in life, resulting in optimism
・Induces natural sleep when made into a regular bedtime habit
The one controversy experts have about this method is the frequency it’s practiced. Some say its best to practice it every day, while others say it’s more effective if done once a week. Moreover, because it’s a well-known technique, there are so many studies about its various perspectives, some of which claim that its effects on happiness are minimal. Just because it’s a commonly recommended method in self-help books, doesn’t mean that it works like magic for everybody.
Having said that, the three good things is definitely a very quick and easy stress care method that has potential for many good outcomes. The investment required in time and money are very low, so why not give it a consistent try!
Refine Your Ability to Find the Positive
In this world, there are people racked with stress, spending their days feeling gloomy – while there are others who have positive outlooks on everything, seemingly always happy even from afar. What is the difference between these two types of people? Of course, there may be inherent differences in personality, living environment, or social standing. But maybe, people with a higher sense of happiness are just “better at finding the positive in life”.
Many of us focus on negative experiences where we repeatedly remind ourselves of the bad. This leads our thinking to be more negative in general. In order to suppress these negative thoughts and practice positivity, we need to intentionally focus our consciousness on positive events.
The three good things method serves as a practice for turning your awareness to positive events. Once you make a habit out of it, you’ll acquire a strong mentality that’s resilient to stress.
Throw Away the Negative; Turn to the Positive
Practicing the ‘three good things’ method creates the potential to improve our sense of happiness and resilience towards stress. It’s perfect for people who want to build strong mentalities against stress.
Having coping mechanisms on hand, such as the ‘three good things’ method, keeps our mental health in check. This is just one of the many easy stress-care techniques you can try. Figure out what works for you and get into the habit of practicing. One of the keys to living a healthy and happy life is to properly cope with stress.
Jeffrey J. Froh , William J. Sefick , Robert A. Emmons
（Nat Hum Behav. 2017 May; 1(5): 0093）