Do you spend too much time thinking about what goes wrong in your life and not enough about what goes right? Granted, there are times when it makes sense to analyse bad events so that we can learn from them. However, we can slip into the bad habit of spending more time thinking about the rubbish stuff and not enough time savouring the good.
We have discovered a great technique that can help address this imbalance and it’s called, ‘What went well?‘. It was developed by the Positive Psychologist, Dr Martin Seligman.
What you do is set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep and write down three things that went well that day and why they went well. Writing in a journal is a good way of doing this as it’s important to have a physical record. The three things need not be major events, (‘My son did his homework tonight without me nagging.’), but they can be highly significant, (‘My brother and his girlfriend announced they are getting married today.’)
You are not finished yet though.
Next to each positive event you answer the question, ‘Why did this happen?’
For example, if you wrote about your son doing his homework well, write, ‘my son is really self-motivated sometimes’. Or if you wrote about your brother announcing he’s getting married, write, ‘my brother is loved and has found his soulmate.’
Try to repeat this every night for a week. It might feel awkward initially but it will get easier. The odds are you’ll feel happier and hooked on this exercise in three months from now.
We have been asking our beneficiaires ‘What Went Well?’ at Kingham Cottage when they visit us. This is what they are saying:
‘We’ve had a wonderful few days in this beautiful cottage. Thank you Tara & After Umbrage for providing a magical retreat to restore the spirit. Thank you, thank you for caring for carers.’ Francesca from Devon.
‘I agree with Francesca, this sanctuary wrapped its arms around me and saved my sanity.’ Margaret from Wiltshire.
‘Thank you After Umbrage. It means a lot that others care.’ Steve & Ashley from Worcestershire.
Francesca, Margaret, Steve and Ashley are finding this exercise works well for them. Let us know if this technique works for you. We hope it brings you happiness and a greater sense of balance in your life.