Three Blessings Exercise
It is a recommendation of mine that we do an After-Action Review of the day’s activities each night so that we can learn from our experiences and determine how to do better the next day.
You are either driven in life by your past or pulled forward by a compelling future.
This tells us we don’t want to get stuck punishing ourselves when things don’t go as planned in an never-ending game of retrospective second-guessing.
If only I did this, what if I did that, I should have done this and how could I have missed that? This is not very useful, especially just before bed.
What I like to do is focus squarely on what went right instead of what went wrong. This is in none of our temperaments for most of us are biased towards negativity, some more than others.
The good news is the nervous system (including your brain) is trained by experience.
You might arrive with an inborn temperament which leans towards doom and gloom but with practice, you can retrain your brain to focus on more positive things and therefore, relieve suffering.
The exercise the positive psychologists recommend is this:
Tonight, and every night for the next week just before you go to sleep, think of three things that went well that day and WHY they went well.
Doesn’t have to be big things.
Could be that you were glad there was Greek yoghurt left in the fridge to which you could add a teaspoon of organic granola and enjoy an evening snack under 125 calories.
It might be that you took a short cut home and saw a beautiful tree or shaved 15 minutes off your commute.
It could even be something like larger like you stood up to someone or handled a personal interaction that had the potential to go off the rails with finesse instead.
Answer at least one of these questions.
– Why did this good thing happen?
– What does it mean to me?
– How can I have more of this in my life?
Try that for seven days and let us know how it goes. If it works out well for you, why not adopt it as an end of day ritual on a permanent basis.
I’ve been doing it more or less for a few years. I also find it helps me focus on what is important the next day.
(Greek yoghurt is an occasional treat and not a mainstay of my diet, for example)
This exercise is what lifted my depression a few years ago when I was stuck in a job and desperate to get out, while my obligations to family had me feeling trapped.
A simple daily nudge in the right direction made all the difference and soon my whole model of the world shifted from gloom to BOOM!
I had developed critical optimism.
I began to follow what made me happy rather than tolerate what made me sad.
And here we are.
Invictus! true and free…
Christopher K Wallace