During the recent uncertain days when Improvised Life was under siege, I started playing with a powerful app created by digital product designer Bryan Landers. 3 Good Things is like an ultra-minimal diary: You just add three good things that happened (each day or whenever you like) for a simple way to remember the good in your life. It is based on a positive psychology exercise proven to decrease anxiety, stress and depression. And it does.
In its current form, 3 Good Things is a simple, visually-charming web app that you access by signing in with Facebook and use via your web browser. But it is NOT ON Facebook; the login is just a means of giving you access. You can share your good things with your Facebook friends, with everyone, or just keep them for yourself as a positive thinking journal. You can set it to send you an email compilation or reminder.
The original practice was developed by Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology (there’s a good overview with video here); he found that writing down the causes for each good thing equally important; they help you to reflect on and immerse yourself in the event. Why did this happen? Or why is this a good thing? Being aware of the causes is something I’m going to build into my practice (even if I don’t actually write them down).
Landers wrote that when he was exploring Seligman’s work:
“the ‘3 blessings’ exercise jumped out at me as a perfect case where technology might add some value for some people.
I wanted to test if adding a social layer on top (sharing good things) increased motivation and got more people doing the positive work.
Some parts of the tech did help. The emails are important to some people as a reminder and because it’s an app, I was able to easily add selecting previous good things at random to show in the emails, which has a game-like memory effect where you think back to something positive.”
I’m thrilled that Landers plans to make 3 Good Things available as an iPhone app. It would be the perfect thing to do while riding the subway or sitting in the park. Somehow, having it on my phone and not online makes it more personal. I love it as a private journal that is so undemanding and rewarding, I use it daily. (Though I do like occasionally scrolling through the Public page to read other people’s entries)
IF I decide I want my friends to join, there’s a page where I can invite them OR send Bryan feedback (I’ve already sent him several ideas). He let me sample a simple list-view of my good things. It’s pretty impressive, and uplifting, when you start to amass a lot of entries. You get to see the good your life is made of.
OR just go here and enter your email for a notification when the app is ready.