Looking for ways to boost your wellbeing? The What Went Well exercise is an empirically tested and very simple, yet practical, activity that can help you to increase your wellbeing levels.
Positive psychology has a lot of say about what contributes to wellbeing. In a recent post we explored how you could begin to match your family activities to the five core elements of wellbeing: positive emotion, engagement, good relationships, a sense of meaning and purpose and a sense of achievement.
Here we take a look at a very practical and easy daily exercise that can help you to focus on the positive in each day and move you towards greater wellbeing.
The What Went Well Exercise
This exercise (also known as the three blessings exercise) is designed to move your focus away from what might have gone wrong and over to what has gone right during your day. Negative emotions do have their place but most of us tend to overly focus on the negative to the detriment of our own wellbeing. Even when you have had the day from hell you should be able to salvage a few blessings from what has happened during the course of the day- no matter how small.
To engage in this suggested exercise you should:
- Set aside around 10 minutes each night before bed where you grab a notepad, chalkboard or even a scrap of paper and reflect on what has gone well during the course of the day.
- Write down three things that have gone well during that day (think of them as three big or little blessings from that day).
- Next to each of these positive events write down why you think those things went well/happened.
This exercise is taken from Professor Martin Seligman’s book Flourish. He suggests engaging in this exercise every night for a week. After this it should feel less awkward. And if you stick with it and it becomes a regular practice for you… then you have a good chance of being happier and less depressed six months from now.
This is one of a range of ideas for improving wellbeing from the area of positive psychology.