Evidence That It Works
In a study of around 600 students ages 8 to 11, the group who completed Three Good Things for a week reported being happier afterward and three months later, compared to the group who just journaled about their daily experiences. There was also some evidence that the exercise could help with symptoms of depression, particularly for students who were less happy to begin with.
Why Does It Matter?
Just like adults, children can get caught up in the things that go wrong in their lives—like getting bad grades, feeling left out, or experiencing conflict with parents—and forget to appreciate all the positive things. Three Good Things is designed to highlight the positive moments, experiences, and people that children may sometimes take for granted.
After 30 minutes of practice for a week, this exercise has been shown to boost students’ happy feelings, a benefit that might spill over into other aspects of their lives. Students who experience greater positive emotions may put in more effort to overcome obstacles, engage in classroom activities more, and be less stressed at school. In addition, positive mental health in childhood is linked to educational achievement and professional success later in life.