Pathways to Wellness

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3 Good Things

We are wired to ignore or forget about the things that go well in our lives but pay attention and focus on the things that go badly. This might be useful when the things that go wrong threaten our very survival – getting between a mother bear and her cubs or confusing the poisonous death camus with a safe wild onion. But most of what goes badly in our lives today is not a life-or-death matters, and we’d do better with a more balanced assessment of our days. That’s where the 3 good things exercise comes in.

This is an exercise which works best when you do it right before you go to bed.

  • Write down 3 things that went right for you that day.  They can be relatively small (“My 3-year-old told me a funny story.”) or big (“I passed my final exam to get my GED.”)
  • Next to each positive event, write about one of the following:  “Why did this good thing happen?” or “What does it mean to me?” or “How can I get more of this good thing in the future?”

You may be wondering why it’s best to do this before you go to bed. Research shows that most people who do this exercise before bedtime sleep better. This exercise also primes you to pay more attention to the good things that happen the next day. Start your day on the right track by doing the 3 good things exercise the night before!

Feel free to use our 3 good things log to get you started.

Variations: If writing down 3 good things won't work for you or your family, try each taking turns over dinner saying 3 good things that happened during your day, or get your children to tell you 3 good things that happened in their day right before you tuck them into bed. 

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