Thursday, May 29, 2008

Want to be happy? Research says, do these three things

I'm in a class on psychological research methods right now and I found one study particularly interesting. It's titled "Positive Psychology Progress, Empirical Validation of Interventions". Doesn't that make you want to read it? :) Basically it has hundreds of people do five different "exercises" like those below and then they tested those people to see how it effected their happiness. Out of the five, "two of the exercises—using signature strengths in a new way and three good things—increased happiness and decreased depressive symptoms for six months. Another exercise, the gratitude visit, caused large positive changes for one month." Learn more here at the positive psychology website.

It's totally crazy to me that writing down three good things that went well each day could impact happiness that much! But whatever, I'm game. Although I must say I'm already relatively happy which I guess would be my "baseline" of happiness.

So what are you doing! Go do it.
Three good things in life. Participants were asked to write down three things that went well each day and their causes every night for one week. In addition, they were asked to provide a causal explanation for each good thing.

Using signature strengths in a new way. Participants were asked to take our inventory of character strengths online at and to receive individualized feedback about their top five (“signature”) strengths (Peterson et al., 2005a). They were then asked to use one of these top strengths in a new and different way every day for one week.

Gratitude visit. Participants were given one week to write and then deliver a letter of gratitude in person to someone who had been especially kind to them but had never been properly thanked.

1 comment:

Random Reflections said...

How interesting. I will look at this in more detail over the weekend. I'd like to see if it works!