When there isn’t a global health crisis baring down on us, life is hard. Over the past five months and counting the challenges and stress of life, this has been compounded for everyone. No exceptions. The most basic daily tasks can become hard to handle. Our emotions fluctuate from minute to minute and often we may just not know why. Just handling the ‘have tos’ of our day may be all we can muster. We’re all in the same boat.
Bryan Sexton, Ph.D out of Duke University has done an enormous of research on burnout. Physiologically, he notes, that as humans we’re hard wired to remember the negative (ever forgot a great joke? But rarely do we forget an insult inflicted on us). In addition, we have enhanced recall of input that occurs within the last two wakeful hours of our day. If, during those last two hours before bed, we take two minutes to focus on the positive elements of our day, to notice the good that
, in a very short period of time, our outlook on life including our emotional well-being will actually improve, to a similar level equivalent to having taken an antidepressant…really!
As I prepare to take an extended break of sabbatical time beginning on Monday, Aug. 3
, I invite you to join me in a fifteen-day practice called ‘3 Good Things’ that comes to us from Duke University and Bryan Sexton, PhD. It emerges from extensive clinical and non-clinical studies that show conclusive evidence for huge emotional health benefits that come from this simple daily practice. You can actually register with Duke at bit.ly/start3gt. They will provide you with the journal format for the fifteen days. Or, you are welcome to do it in a journal of your own.
It goes like this - each day about two hours before you go to bed, do the following:
Write down 3 good things (three things that went well) that happened in your life that day (i.e. saw a stunning sunrise/sunset; enjoyed the beauty of nature/deer passing through/ received a surprise blessing/ phone call/ studied a bug/ a big or small blessing, it doesn’t matter)
For each ‘good thing’ comment on where you found yourself in that good thing (I was aware; I was out walking in the yard; I called_____on the phone etc.)
Then, write down what positive emotion best fit how that good thing made you feel.
Here is the list of ten emotions this study mentions:
After fifteen days, touch base with each other. Perhaps at a Wednesday afternoon social hour later in August, share where you are.
Take care of yourself. Breathe. Notice the good that is!