In her commencement speech at the University of Berkeley, Sheryl Sandberg credited this practice with changing her life, following the untimely death of her husband.
What goes wrong…..
At the heart of it, is the fact that we think too much about what goes wrong, and not enough about what goes right in our lives.
Think about an average day at work. My guess is that you go home most days thinking about the project that’s not on track; the snarky comment made by a colleague; or the fact that you’ve worked back twice this week. The compliment from a peer; acknowledgement of a job well-done from a client; or the fact that you were able to work from home earlier in the week, likely goes unnoticed.
Unfortunately, this constant focus on negative events not only makes day-to-day life harder than it needs to be, it sets us up for anxiety and depression. But the exercise that Sheryl Sandberg employed, can change all of that.
What went well….
The daily practice is called the ‘What-went-well’ exercise; it was researched and scientifically proven by leading Psychologist Martin Seligman. His extensive studies have shown that if done regularly, this practice reduces depression and anxiety, while increasing happiness.
What to do
– Every night for the next two weeks, set aside ten minutes before you go to bed
– Write down three things that went well for you today, and why they went well.
The three things do not need to be earth-shattering. Sheryl Sandberg said that on her darkest days, she struggled to think of things, and often acknowledged ‘made a cup of tea’. So, don’t judge, just write it down.
And it’s important to pay attention to the why. Maybe making a cup of tea is a real positive, because you recognised the need to take care of yourself during a difficult day.
Over the two weeks you will start to find the process easier (I promise!), and I predict that your brain will even start to seek out the positive in your day, without any prompting.
It can be tempting to stop doing this exercise when everything is feeling great, but the brain is just like any other muscle, so even when you’re feeling fighting fit, you need to keep exercising it.
Need some help to build your resilience? Get in touch for a free, no obligation chemistry session, to find out how I can help.