The Daily Practice That Can Change Your Life

In her commencement speech at the University of Berkeley, Sheryl Sandberg credited the following practice with changing her life, following the sudden and challenging death of her husband.

As you might know, the brain is wired to have a negativity bias. Basically what that means, is as human beings we have a tendency to focus on what goes wrong in our lives, rather than what goes right. Subsequently – we need training to rewire and focus on what goes right.

Don’t believe me? Think about an average day at work. When you go home, what do you think of most? Is it the challenging comment that was made by a colleague or the project that is behind schedule? The compliment from your boss for a job well done or the acknowledgement from a client?

In Flourish, Martin Seligman writes –

“For sound evolutionary reasons, most of us are not nearly as good at dwelling on good events as we are at analyzing bad events. Those of our ancestors who spent a lot of time basking in the sunshine of good events, when they should have been preparing for disaster, did not survive the Ice Age. So to overcome our brains’ catastrophic bent, we need to work on and practice this skill of thinking about what went well.”

Unfortunately, the constant focus on negative events and situations makes life challenging and can make life harder than it needs to be. However, the exercise that Sheryl Sandberg did, can help change all of that.


The What-Went-Well Exercise

The daily practice is called the ‘what-went-well’ or the “three blessings” exercise. It was first researched and scientifically proven by leading Positive Psychologist Martin Seligman. His research has shown that if the exercise is done regularly, it can reduce stress and increase happiness and life satisfaction.


How to Do the ‘What-Went-Well” Exercise

Before bed for the next two weeks, set aside 10 minutes every night. Then in your journal, on your computer or diary, record three things that went well today and why they went well.

The three things do not need to be earth-shattering in importance, however they need to be important to you. Once you have recorded each of the three positive events, write down your response to “why did this happen?”

At the start, writing about the positive events may seem awkward, however stick with it as it does get easier!


Over to You…

What are you going to do with this information? Are you going to start the what-went-well exercise?

Feel free to share your insights or questions below in the comments or on our Facebook page here. If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?

You can also watch the Sheryl Sandberg Commencement Speech below.



Reference –

Seligman, M. (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. New Your, U.S.A: Free Press.

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