Book of Happiness

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A fellow member of HBL recently posted on his very positive experience with maintaining a "book of gratitude", a technique I have heard of before. Jean Moroney of Thinking Directions describes the technique in a past issue of her newsletter.

Here's a daily practice I learned from Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness.

Once each day, write down three good things that happened in the last 24 hours. You can write them before going to bed or first thing in the morning. You can write them in a journal or in a calendar or on a Post-it. You can include important achievements such as winning a contract or simple pleasures such as eating a good meal. All that matters is that you write down three such items, every day.

As you can guess, the purpose of this practice is to reinforce a positive outlook and avoid feeling overwhelmed by negativity. Even on the worst of days there are a few bright spots, and bringing them to mind helps you maintain perspective.
Keeping such a journal, which I agree with Jean Moroney should be called something like a "book of happiness", intrigues me enough that I am thinking about doing it myself. Has anyone here tried it? I am interested in hearing about any practical suggestions or experiences with this technique.

-- CAV


Kelly said...

I haven't done that on a regular basis (I think I will now!), but when I'm feeling down, I often write my "three good things list" in my journal. It really helps to refocus me and remind me of what really matters.

Joseph Kellard said...


I took up this practice of writing down three positive experiences each day after I read about it in Jean’s newsletter late in 2007. There are a few benefits I can relate. The greatest benefit so far came when I read through the whole year’s list, in order to evaluate how well I did on achieve the goals I set for 2008, and to set my goals for 2009. I found I was reminded of many good experiences that I might otherwise have forgotten and that were a delight to re-contemplate.

~ Joseph Kellard

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

I don't write them down, and I do it when I awake in the morning, but every day when I wake up, I consciously list the good things that happened the day before and the really cool things I get to do when I get out of bed.

I have been doing this for seven years now, and I do think I am more aware of my happiness.

Good luck!

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for your comments.

Joseph's point about being reminded of good occurrences that would otherwise be forgotten sounds relly worthwhile to me.

Martin Lindeskog said...

Thanks Gus for bringing this up.

I think I will dedicate one of my Field Notes notebook for this purpose. "Book of Happiness 2009."

Gus Van Horn said...

You're quite welcome, Martin!