Happiness, Your Brain, And 3 Good Things
Your brain’s primary functions are to keep you alive and to propagate the species. Obviously, it cannot do the latter if it cannot do the former. As a result, your brain constantly scans the environment for potential danger.
Therefore, your brain will notice a threat before anything else. This Negativity Bias of the brain has both positive and negative consequences.
The Positive Side Of The Negativity Bias
The Negativity Bias developed long ago to protect our ancient ancestors from predators like saber tooth tigers. The process works like this:
When your brain senses danger, it floods your body with stress hormones. These hormones prepare your body to fight or flee from the danger, thereby enhancing your safety and survival chances.
The Downside Of The Negativity Bias
However, few of us today face dangers posed by wild tigers. Instead, we deal with modern-day stressors like traffic jams, job pressures, and the general hurry up and hassle of everyday life. Also, as I write this, we face major stress and disruption due to a global pandemic.
Unfortunately, our brain responds to these stressors as it once did the saber tooth tiger. As a result, we face a constant flood of stress hormones. Our bodies do not get a chance to recover. Over time, we can wear down, physically and emotionally. Happiness can be fleeting.
However, there is good news in that there are many tools and techniques we can use to cultivate happiness in the face of life’s stressors.
One such tool for increasing happiness is called Three Good Things.
The Three Good Things Exercise
- Once a day for one week, write down three good things that happened in the past 24 hours. (The exercise works best when you actually write versus just thinking about the three good things.)
- Write down what happened, how it made you feel, and why it made you feel that way.
- You can write down little things, like sharing a smile with a stranger, the beauty of a sunset, or the gentle purr of a cat on your lap. Or, you can write down big things like finally getting that promotion at work.
- The exercise should take you no more than ten minutes or so a day to complete.
The Positive Benefits Of 3 Good Things
Research suggests that doing the Three Good Things exercise for one week can boost your happiness and sense of well-being. Also, the exercise may decrease feelings of depression and anxiety as well.
This simple exercise helps you focus on the good in your life, versus getting highjacked by the bad. The exercise does not change your external circumstances or the challenges you may face. However, Three Good Things can help you meet those challenges heads on with a greater sense of happiness and well-being.
Dr. Gary Bradt’s unique background and perspective make him a one-of-a-kind speaker on emotional intelligence, change and leadership. As a licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Bradt shares relevant research from neuroscience and positive psychology to help leaders and people at every level approach change with a positive perspective. More than ever before, change and unrelenting disruption are causing employees to feel emotional fatigue, burnout, stress, anxiety and myriad emotions that strip them of creativity, productivity and overall joy. Providing employees with more strategies to adapt to change with a growth mindset and resilient spirit are critical competencies that Dr. Gary Bradt has been teaching C-Suite leaders in Fortune 500s for 25+ years.
Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866-727-7555 or [email protected]