In the book Positive Psychology in a Nutshell I have just read the chapter titled “Psychology Interventions”.
This is where the rubber hits the road, where research meets practice. This is the chapter that says, ‘but what does this mean for me?’ This is the part that says ‘try this…’
There is a list of interventions – some have been researched with empirical evidence and some are pretty dependable but are waiting for the chance to be researched! However, I thought I would spend the next few blog entries going through some of them.
1. Three good things
Every night for a week, look back on your day just before you go to bed and think of 3 things that went well for you during the day. Write them down and reflect on your role in them.
There are three things that need to be observed when you do this:
*Writing down is important as it helps you to focus on the events.
*Reflecting on your own role is no less essential, as it contributes to your sense of perceived control which in turn has an impact on your well-being.
*Timing of this exercise is significant – either stick to it for one week, or try it once a week for six weeks. Studies have shown that the well-being of those who carried it out three times a week for six weeks actually decreased slightly which suggest that there is such a thing as too much (Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2004)! This finding co-exists with the fact that people who who continue ‘counting their blessings’ occasionally after the intervention week demonstrated the best outcomes (page 132).
It seems incredibly simple to do these activities but it has been found to make a massive difference. In fact
“probably the most powerful of all positive psychology techniques….it has been found to increase happiness and decrease depressive symptoms for up to 6 months (Seligman et al., 2005). However this does not mean that after the 6 months the effects had worn off, but simply that the participants were not followed beyond this point.” (ibid)
There’s a challenge! Find a journal and leave it next to your bed. Get your son or daughter to give it a go.
In the classroom, try ending the day by asking the kids to write things things that went well and their role in it.